I wrote a nasty piece about Genpo Roshi’s Big Mind™ — a new process for Zen practice Genpo claims will give you Enlightenment in just an hour — for this week’s Suicide Girls article. It’s going to “go live” — as they say — at Noon Pacific Time on Saturday (March 3, just 2 days before my birthday). Ever since I wrote a couple scathing paragraphs about Big Mind™ in a review of the movie “What The Bleep” about two years ago (click on the title of this article if you want to read it) I’ve been hearing from lots of people who’ve been involved in Big Mind™, or BM as I like to abbreviate it. And, man-o-man it sounds like it’s even worse than I imagined! I’ve also heard from Zen teachers nearly everywhere I’ve gone to speak how appalled they are at this new development in the world of Zen. I’m starting to think that, maybe more than being just an obvious bit of low-rent sideshow hokum, this could possibly end up being the stuff of scandal sheets and Movies of the Week before too long. Of course, I’m sure Genpo and his butt-buddy Ken Wilber will end up on Oprah before then. Oh how the wheels of commerce do turn.

Anyway, I’ll leave it till Saturday before the serious Big Mind™ bashing begins. But while I was writing, I was fishing around on-line for a quote I recall seeing in which John Daido Loori praised Big Mind™ as an excellent skillful means or some such thing. The quote came from a printed hand-out someone got at a Big Mind™ seminar and kindly sent me, which I then kindly lost track of. I was hoping the same stuff ended up on the Internets somewhere, but I couldn’t find it. So I guess Daido gets a reprieve this time. Maybe he wisely told them to take his name off the list of supporters. Although I wouldn’t give too much credit to the guy who wrote the very worst book ever written in the history of books about Dogen (the reprehensible “True Dharma Eye,” may every copy burn in Hell).

Anyway (again) I didn’t find the quote, but I did find a thing someone wrote way back in the golden year of twenty-ought-five about li’l old me. It’s always funny to see this kind of thing. I thought I’d share it with you. Here’s what they said:

“Notice that Brad Warner hasn’t actually claimed to have tried the Big Mind™ process, or holosync for that matter. His ideas on what meditation/Buddhism must be are frustratingly stubborn. ‘That’s not Zen! THIS is Zen! And I’m the rootin’ tootin’ toughest Zen cowboy in town!’”

Haw! Is that what I sound like? I am definitely not the rootin’ tootin’ toughest Zen cowboy in town. What I am, though, is honest. Real Buddhist practice is hard work. Guys like Genpo Roshi and the makers of the holosync try and con you into thinking there are easy peasy ways to get to the same place. There are not. This isn’t just my personal opinion. It’s a fact.

The dude goes on to say, “If Big Mind™ works, if it really can give you a little satori within hours (I’m also doubtful, but I have no right to claim anything until I’ve tried it) then it doesn’t matter if Genpo Roshi is a 30ft drug taking meerkat.”

I’ve heard this argument a lot, that I shouldn’t knock it till I’ve tried it cuz, who knows, maybe it really does work. But it isn’t a valid argument. Let me give you a metaphor. Let’s say a Martian came to Earth and an unscrupulous Earthling handed him a gram of coke and a straw. He tells the Martian that the coke is what we on Earth call a “piano.” He tells the Martian to suck it up thru the straw into his proboscis. The Martian does so and he goes back to Mars and tells his friends, “When I was on Earth I sucked a piano into my nose through a straw and it felt GREAT!” Now the Martians may believe him. But will anyone on Earth?

The only reason anyone falls for this kind of malarchy is that they don’t have any understanding what words like satori, kensho or enlightenment mean, just like our Martian friend has no idea what we on Planet Earth call a “piano.”

This doesn’t mean I’m calling all y’all dummies. I’m the biggest Neanderthal in town. But does it make sense to you that some new fangled technique is gonna get you 15 years of Zazen experience in just an hour? And if you don’t know the answer to that one, how about this? Do you think a new fangled miracle diet pill is going to help you lose the fat it took 15 years to put on in a single week? I thought not. Then why would you imagine a lifetime of misuse of your brain and body can be undone in an afternoon? (actually Genpo claims BM can give you Enlightenment “before lunchtime.”)

So there’s your sneak preview. Enjoy the Suicide Girls piece this weekend. Remember it’s free to look at my stuff up there. No need to join or risk accidentally seeing any tattooed nudie cuties.

*****POST SCRIPT March 8, 2007*****

I dug up the quote by John Daido Loori about Big Mind. It’s from an article called “Genpo Roshi’s Big Mind.” The author is John Kain but the original source is not noted on the copy I have. I believe it was a hand-out given at a Big Mind™ seminar. Here’s what it says:

“Zen teaching is like fishing,” says John Daido Loori, the abbot of Zen Mountain Monastery, dharma brother to Genpo Roshi and author of numerous books including, Making Love with Light (Daido Roshi is my teacher and has a much more traditional approach to practice than does Genpo Roshi. I’d asked him what he thought of Genpo Roshi’s less traditional method). “Every fisherman has a technique. Some use flies, some lures, some bait. The key is to get the student hooked. Genpo Roshi uses the Big Mind process. I use the Arts, and Tetsugen (Bernie Glassman) uses social action. What counts is what happens when the student gets hooked. Genpo Roshi has shown, through the strength of his successors, that he is good at the essential part of Zen training. His successors are excellent.”

There you have it. Although I’m not really sure just what Daido is saying here. It’s not quite as supportive as I’d recalled. In fact, it may be an obtuse way of saying he doesn’t support BM. It’s impossible to know. Which may be the problem (see my March 7 article). I do have a problem, as well, with the idea that it’s OK to hook a student with something deceptive. Or to hook students at all. This may be a matter for another article.

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169 Responses

  1. Administrator
    Administrator March 3, 2007 at 10:46 am |

    it is an interesting idea – that enlightenment is something that looks a particular way and can be only be achieved by doing one particular practice for a particular number of years with particular teachers.

    One might get an impression that enlightenment is a very limited experience.

  2. Anonymous
    Anonymous March 3, 2007 at 10:55 am |

    Hey butt-buddies,

    Have you ever noticed that the most
    homophobic are indeed the gayest of
    the gay? It seems the more vicious
    their hate, the more deeply closeted
    is their ferocious lust for some
    monster man-meat.

    You know, like that Evangelical
    Christian pastor Ted Haggard, who
    preached hatred of gay druggies by
    day and snorted meth before engaging
    in hot, sweaty man-on-man action
    with male prostitutes by night.

    What’s really funny too, is that he
    also appeared in Richard Dawkin’s
    documentary The Root of All Evil.

    BTW, I’m gay (except when I’m not)
    and some of my best friends are gay.

    Anyhow, time for me to go to the
    gay bar!

  3. j
    j March 3, 2007 at 11:04 am |

    I, too, would be curious to know what you disliked about Loori’s book.

  4. Anonymous
    Anonymous March 3, 2007 at 11:05 am |

    Personally, I prefer
    dancing at the lesbian bar.

  5. Anonymous
    Anonymous March 3, 2007 at 11:14 am |

    Hmm, apparently Haggard is

    a “firm” supporter of President Bush.

  6. Administrator
    Administrator March 3, 2007 at 12:08 pm |

    I just read the SG blog-slander on Genpo.
    It made me feel just like reading this email that I got from a woman who had some tender feelings towards my husband and saw it as her obligation to enlighten me to all my husbands terrible faults and vices. I felt sick, disgusted, I could barley finish reading it – the energy emanating from it was just so…well…sick and nasty.
    Reading your post Brad made me feel just like that.
    You have a problem dude, if I may say so.

  7. Anonymous
    Anonymous March 3, 2007 at 1:12 pm |

    from Stuart Lach:

    “at the Kanzeon Zendo in Bar Harbor
    Maine, a student complained to her
    roshi, Dennis Merzel, that people
    were upset, there was an uneasiness,
    something seemed to be wrong with
    the group. Merzel replied that
    students were upset because he was
    being more difficult in passing
    them with their koans. The student
    accepted this as the answer. The
    point was understood by both
    Merzel and the student, that this
    was Merzel’s prerogative as roshi.
    It had nothing to do with direct
    insight or any other kind of
    insight. Just as an aside, it
    turned out the source of the
    “uneasiness” with the group had
    nothing at all to do with the speed
    or slowness of “passing” koans.
    Rather, it was Merzel’s having a
    “secret” affair with a student or
    two. Interestingly, one of the
    women went on to become a dharma
    heir of his.

    Very niiice!

  8. nobody
    nobody March 3, 2007 at 2:46 pm |

    gniz – Thank you. Anything can turn into insanity if one latches onto it as constant, solid, or having some inherent essence. I’m a bit wary of talking about the “different voices” thing because people think it sounds crazy and shut down in response. But I think it’s just basic observation on the nature of the mind and of subjective experience.

    It does feel crazy to become aware of it, because it runs counter to our cultural conditioning. But I just don’t see how anyone who pays any attention to their mind at all can attribute all the various thoughts in various different tones that occupy it to the same voice.

    At the end of the day, there really are no “voices” at all, but I find it more skillful to look at one’s experience as that of a multiplicity than as that of a singularity. And I find that I am much less confused by others with this perspective as well, because I realize that we can give rise to contradictory voices or identities, and this is just part of what defines us as human beings.

    I think this all is in keeping with what the Buddha originally taught, that all things lack a singular essence.

    administrator – I didn’t see that at all. I found Brad to be a lot more clean and clear about his points in the SG article than in this post.

  9. cromanyak
    cromanyak March 3, 2007 at 4:44 pm |

    It’s weird how two people can read the same thing and have a totally different experience of it. Administrator said it made her sick to read Brad’s article. I was expecting it to be really nasty too, but in fact it was actually very sane. Brad stuck to criticising the the technique of Genpo Roshi instead of his character and made his point very clear. If I would have read this a few years ago I probably would have felt sick too because it would have made me face the fact that there is no instant solution. Back then that was something that I truly believed in, and still wish for to some extent.

  10. Administrator
    Administrator March 3, 2007 at 6:59 pm |

    To be more specific – this is what felt so nasty about what Bard wrote:

    “Dennis Merzel, who calls himself Genpo Roshi,”


    “This is, of course, pure horseshit. Clowns like these can con folks into parting with large sums of money — there’s a $150 “suggested donation” to attend a Big Mind™ seminar — to hear them spout drivel like this because there is so little understanding of what kensho or satori — Enlightenment, in other words — actually is.”

    He is being a bit insulting there, I think. Without actually knowing Genpo, I believe, he feels at libery to accuse him of some really nasty stuff.
    Genpo happens to be an abbot of an international “White Plum Sangha”, not just some upstart-guy who pretends to be zen teacher, but that aside – this is what really got me:

    “you cannot suck a piano into your nose through a straw and you cannot get Enlightened in an hour. Never. No way. No how. Fergeddaboudit! “

    How does Brad know that? How can he be so sure? I would say – so rigtously sure? Just because his teacher said so? Because he’s teacher’s teacher said so? Just because he thinks so?

    I don’t think I would like to work with any teacher that puts such clearly defined limits on reality and says – this is how it is. Period. It will never be diferent! Ever!

    What a terrible jail that you can never, ever get out off!

  11. gniz
    gniz March 3, 2007 at 7:49 pm |


    I agree with you on the “voices” and on the SG article. It was a solid article and I found little to disagree with about it.

    Also, I read your blog and linked to it on mine. I think your approach is something I heartily identify with.


  12. Anonymous
    Anonymous March 3, 2007 at 7:57 pm |

    I like a lot of what you say Brad, and I often feel myself getting as fired up about other folks mistaken notions of ‘buddhism’ too, but you kinda sound like a dick.

    Not in an “well he’s just tellin it like it is” kinda way, but in that “its my blog and I can be a dick if I want to” way.

    C’mon Brad, I love the honesty but leave the angry sectarainaism at the door please.

  13. David
    David March 3, 2007 at 11:23 pm |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. David
    David March 3, 2007 at 11:32 pm |

    ps: Brad makes no pretensions of being perfect.

  15. David
    David March 4, 2007 at 12:14 am |

    pps: I’ve been a long-time reader of Brad’s, from his old articles to his blog (a few years now it’s been), and one thing that impressed me from the beginning and stuck with me most strongly with Brad is:
    what you see is what you get…

    his writing has definitely gotten saucier over the years, but ya know, it seems to me that the sauciness was there all along, and Brad is evolving into himself–really starting to come into himself as a writer, not holding back (go Brad go! don’t censor yourself for lil’ old me–I want the whole kit and caboodle)

    Isn’t that what life is about? Touching who we are?

  16. Francisca
    Francisca March 4, 2007 at 2:09 am |

    What a load of fuzz about enlightment..isn’t sitting just sitting and shouldn’t that be enough?
    I never started zazen with the hope that one day I would be enlightened..just wanted some silence a couple of minutes a day…

    I mean even the word enlightenement makes me feel “not so well in the stomach”.

    Dont worry be happy 🙂

  17. cromanyak
    cromanyak March 4, 2007 at 4:08 am |

    this is what really got me:

    “you cannot suck a piano into your nose through a straw and you cannot get Enlightened in an hour. Never. No way. No how. Fergeddaboudit! “

    At some point I had to admit to myself that this enlightenment stuff was just as subject to the laws of nature as anything else.

  18. Mockney Rebel
    Mockney Rebel March 4, 2007 at 7:31 am |

    Opinions are like arseholes…everyone has one 🙂

    Brad’s post about BM is just his opinion. Has Brad actually attended a BM session?

    Can we expect more homphobic remarks from Brad on this blog? (“butt-buddy”)

    Does Brad have some kind of Zen bi-polar disorder? He seems to alternate between enlightened insight and name calling schmuckery.

    Brad trying to impose his version of “Real Buddhist practice” is laughable. If he wants to say X or Y works in his experience then fine, but anything more than that is just opinion (and opinions are…oh you get the idea).

    If anyone would like me to write a review of Brad’s new book just send me an email and $100. I haven’t actually read his new book but i’m happy to write a review if you pay me 🙂

  19. Zac in Virginia
    Zac in Virginia March 4, 2007 at 8:18 am |

    This just in…
    Saying that you’re friends with gay people does not mean that you have dealt with your homophobia to the fullest extent possible.
    On some level, it’s as if this fairly fifth-grade comment has managed to bring out an issue that we probably wouldn’t have touched on at all.
    Oh, and in response to Francisca…
    Sometimes I wonder if zazen really is just another way to have some quiet time each day. I wonder if I’m instilling authority in the notion that there’s really an absoultely “correct” way to meditate.

  20. Daniel
    Daniel March 4, 2007 at 10:07 am |

    David, I guess it’s ok to call you and your girlfriend “pussy-buddies” and “cock-buddies” then.

    Have fun with your closeted homophobia. Don’t worry though, Ann Coulter approves.

  21. muddy elephant
    muddy elephant March 4, 2007 at 10:25 am |

    Sometimes we feel like we need an answer right now to clear our doubts about our spiritual practice. The quickness of deep realization that Big Mind purports to offer seems might be one way to do this. Another way to get beyond our natural doubt would be exploring the “instant access” attributed to psychedelic experience. There is also the healing ceremonies of shamanic rituals, not to mention a host of other practices and hierarchies of beliefs…

    In contrast to these types of activities zazen seems extremely rigid and boring. And in America rigid and boring just doesn’t sell.

    It seems Brad is just trying to do everyone a favor by trying to stop people from becoming a sucker and becoming even more deluded and possibly even psychologically damaged by believing that truth is something that can be easily obtained.

    He just happens to seem abrasive and careless about it. Which by the way has the good side effect of setting off our own personal bullshit detectors.

  22. nobody
    nobody March 4, 2007 at 10:49 am |

    Aaron – Thank you for the wonderful compliment. I’ve added your blog to my “Favorites,” and look forward to reading more of your writing.

    And this is a more general comment in response to some of what has been said here: I think the “crack” analogy is erroneous. The point of the “crack” analogy is that it’s silly to say “we shouldn’t criticize crack until we’ve tried it,” because we know for a fact that doing crack has measurably negative and dangerous results.

    It is Brad’s assertion that participating in something like Big Mind is potentially very dangerous, but this is not based on the kind of concrete, extensive evidence that the assertion that doing crack is dangerous is based on. I haven’t seen or heard of any evidence that BM is dangerous or harmful, or even that it’s a “scam.”

    Brad made his point more clearly in the SG article–that based on his experience, any claim that one can get enlightened in that kind of rapid fashion is false–and I am sympathetic to this view myself. But as skeptical as I am of BM, I find Brad’s tone about it to be almost hysterical.

    For the sake of argument, let’s say that there’s nothing to BM at all, and therefore what Genpo is doing is no more than providing some mental entertainment, which possibly also has the capacity to be healing on some level (as it is based on a therapy technique), to spiritually disenfranchised yuppies for a weekend… So what?

    I wonder if Brad’s hysterical tone has to do with the traumatic experience he had of having been taken in by someone who did indeed turn out to be a dangerous scam artist, something he’s referred to somewhat cryptically in his blog.

  23. A Strange Day
    A Strange Day March 4, 2007 at 11:22 am |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  24. A Strange Day
    A Strange Day March 4, 2007 at 11:25 am |

    “I don’t think I would like to work with any teacher that puts such clearly defined limits on reality and says – this is how it is. Period. It will never be diferent! Ever!”

    Reality has limits. That’s all there is to it. You can’t live forever. You can’t shoot laser beams from your eyes. You can’t live without air, food and water, and you can’t come the realization Gautama Buddha came to 2500 years ago “before lunchtime”. This isn’t speculation or being pessimistic. That’s just how things are. You’re fooling yourself to think any differently.

  25. Anonymous
    Anonymous March 4, 2007 at 11:53 am |

    Just wanted to point out the root cause
    of homophobia:

    it’s all about anal sex.

    Getting poo-poo on the pee-pee is just


  26. Administrator
    Administrator March 4, 2007 at 12:54 pm |

    “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy”


    Even in Zen philosophy, maybe?

  27. Jinzang
    Jinzang March 4, 2007 at 1:45 pm |

    Enlightenment is seeing things as they are. The first step is seeing your mind as it is. To do that, you have to look at it. No one can tell you, any more than they can tell you what spinach tastes like. No seminar is going to convey this.

    The reason why you can’t see your mind as it is in a single day is that when you sit down and look at it, it jumps around too much. It takes time and practice to calm down your mind so that you can work with it.

    And anyone who tells you different is either ignorant or out to cheat you.

  28. Administrator
    Administrator March 4, 2007 at 1:49 pm |

    are you your mind?

  29. Administrator
    Administrator March 4, 2007 at 2:14 pm |

    from a friend:

    So a zen student does Big Mind, finds it of value , continues to be a zen student .
    A zen student does Big Mind, does not find any value continues, to do zazen.
    A zen student does Big Mind find it valuable, and never does zazen again.
    It is all personal responcibilty

  30. MikeDoe
    MikeDoe March 4, 2007 at 2:25 pm |


    “The first step is seeing your mind as it is. “

    Are you sure about this? Is it something you believe? Is it some absolute truth that you have discovered? How can the mind see itself?

    Is BM offering this? Is it offering something else?

    It may be utter bullshit. I am reluctant to condemn it out of hand just because Brad or anyone else says that it is a bad thing.

    That does not mean that it is something I would do or encourage. But I will not choose to dismiss someone as a crank, a madman or a shyster without very good reason.

  31. Lone Wolf
    Lone Wolf March 4, 2007 at 2:38 pm |

    Wow! 77 comments, this one might turn out to be a record breaker.

    People sure do love controversy. It’s interesting. When Brad occasionally writes one of these “controversial” posts, the comments and popularity of the blog goes through the roof.

    Thank god Brad is not charging a $150 to show how people can experience enlightenment in one day. Because Dogen said, “Zazen is enlightenment its self.”

    Show a person how to sit in the correct posture and bam! Enlightenment.

    But if Brad did decide to do taht. Then when people would experice the enlighenment their legs hurting and the bordem from facing the wall for a day without having some profound trippy experience, I could see them getting all pissed off and threating to sue.

    Remember what Dogen said “Zazen is enlightenment itself,” but don’t be suprised if you don’t start blissing out and have visions of suger plums and Lepreachans doing the riverdance while sprinkling gold fairy dust under the rainbow.

    Now the second enlightment that happens after sitting for a long time, well, I don’t know nothing about that, I guess you will have to sit everyday for a long period of time and experience that yourself.

    But from what I here, it has nothing to do with trippy experiences or talking back to your thoughts (voices) in your head. I really don’t see the benefit of talking back to your thoughts, the point of Zazen is to experience that thoughts are not reality, and that the experience of reality ,when one’s automic nervous system becomes balanced, has nothing to do with intellectual consideration of thoughts or sense perception, but of acting at the present moment in the real world.

    I think it maybe somewhat helpful when Brad writes one of these “controversial” posts and pisses everyone off. Because this way, they don’t start putting him up on a pedastal and thinking he is some special Zen Master who can give them enlightment before lunchtime.

    Just my thoughts!

  32. Jared
    Jared March 4, 2007 at 2:38 pm |


    I completely agree with you – and with what lala said. The butt-buddy thing was homophobic and doesn’t have a place in the post. Again, like lala said, I really don’t think you meant it that way, but that’s what it means.

    P.S. You should totally make a banner for your blog with your face superimposed over Charleton Heston as the “Zen Cowboy”. AND YOU SHOULD START A PODCAST!

  33. nobody
    nobody March 4, 2007 at 3:31 pm |

    To clarify, I’m not advocating “talking back to the voices”; if I’m advocating anything, it’s the value of simply listening to and noticing what is already there, and using it as a skillful means for loosening the grip of self. We usually don’t recognize the presence of enlightened awareness that already exists within us, and to recognize that it does, and that it speaks to and through us, is something that has been helpful in my own experience.

  34. Hamza
    Hamza March 4, 2007 at 4:05 pm |

    Buttbuddy homophobic? Come off it.

  35. Jinzang
    Jinzang March 4, 2007 at 4:49 pm |

    Oh, people are asking me questions. I feel so important.

    are you your mind?

    No, I am not.

    I said, “The first step is seeing your mind as it is.” and was asked.

    Are you sure about this?

    Reasonably sure.

    Is it something you believe? Is it some absolute truth that you have discovered?

    You see your mind first because it’s what’s closest to you. Understanding mind comes first, then thoughts and emotions, and then phenomena. I didn’t discover this, this is how mahamudra, the style of meditation I practice, is presented. I’ve done enough of the practice to be reasonably certain that what the texts say is correct. And I trust my teacher.

    How can the mind see itself?

    I could give a cute answer, but the truth is that seeing the mind is a little difficult to explain because its different than seeing thoughts or outer phenomena. It can’t be expressed in words, which is why you can’t learn it at a seminar. It’s called seeing because, like seeing, it’s not conceptual. It’s just mind resting in itself.

    I’m not condemning Big Mind. I’m just saying that the only way to see the mind is to look at the mind. And that takes time because our attention slips off very easily.

  36. Jinzang
    Jinzang March 4, 2007 at 4:55 pm |

    How can the mind see itself?

    I should add that my teacher uses the analogy of a finger touching itself or like the tongue tasting itself. Or, I suppose you add, like the sound of one hand clapping.

  37. Waylon
    Waylon March 4, 2007 at 6:24 pm |

    I didn’t know that butt-buddy was so offensive…..does this mean that I have to quit using the term “butt rock” as well. I mean spandex and makeup might have been a little gay but that’s not what I mean when I say it.

  38. Administrator
    Administrator March 4, 2007 at 6:33 pm |

    why would you want to see your mind? What’s so interesting about it?
    Wouldn’t it be better to see beyond mind? Isn’t that where the Budha Nature/God/Whatever is to be found?
    And if so, and I am resonably sure that I am not my mind either, what’s there to stop me from simply puting my mind aside for a moment, or again simply choosing to see beyond it? And why does it absolutely, definitely, with no doubts, no discussion have to take 20 years of practice?

  39. Anonymous
    Anonymous March 4, 2007 at 7:27 pm |

    There’s little discussion about the precept that calls on us to safeguard the three treasures of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha

    It seems very much a matter of protecting the three treasures to speak out when someone in a position of teaching authority is presenting something that looks like Zen but actually deviates from it and misrepresents the tradition.

    Its also a matter of safeguarding the sangha to get the word out if someone has a documented track record of behaving in ways that are harmful.

    No one accuses the state road management of perpetrating wrong speech when they put up signs and plastic cones warning of pot holes and road hazards.

    You’re free to keep on driving your car and ignore those signs, but there are plenty of us out there who want to get somewhere and not land in a pothole–and do appreciate signs being posted.

  40. Anonymous
    Anonymous March 4, 2007 at 7:45 pm |

    I think what is going on here, Brad sees awakening through his own experience.
    The body mind connection, is very real, to sit facing a wall for years with eyes open and no sleepiness, is like being a Navy Seal, you have overcome incredible resistance to achieve this state of mind, no day dreams, no wandering around thoughts ,,just being present looking at a wall, going against everything that describes self preservation.
    The result is a commando type of awareness, that transcends self as we think of it.
    A amazing state of mind, but is it enlightenment or self being transcended.
    To know the self is to go past and forget the self , there is a school of thought Advaita
    that through reasoning a person can become awakened.
    Big Mind might be a true school that already existed, in some other form, when one answers a koan, they transcend the mind, in Big Mind, one is led to see through aspects of the mind. Is it enlightenment, maybe with a small e. There is a process in Zen schools where koans are studied together, not just a lone exercise.
    But it isn’t the commando type of mind of some Zen schools.
    The result is gentle awareness and clarity, a sense of inner peace, from not struggling with reality any more.

  41. Flynbuddha
    Flynbuddha March 4, 2007 at 7:45 pm |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  42. David
    David March 4, 2007 at 9:42 pm |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  43. David
    David March 4, 2007 at 10:19 pm |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  44. David
    David March 4, 2007 at 10:47 pm |

    Homophobia means you are afraid of homosexuality.

    What is there to be afraid of?

    Human beings? Yikes!

  45. MikeDoe
    MikeDoe March 5, 2007 at 12:35 am |

    That is a good answer. ISTR that you were from NKT and have given an answer from that viewpoint. It is now clear that your statement is a belief with a reasonable basis.

    I also happen to disagree with it somewhat but that is incidental.

    To go with your analogy I cannot actually make a finger touch itself physically, I can instead have one finger touch another. I can have the simulteanous sensation of a finger being touched and a finger touching.

    When you try and look at the mind I think there is a problem. The perception of mind is itself a construct – it has no reality. I can dissect my brain and wherever I look I cannot find mind.

    When I perceive mind there is something that is perceived and something that is the perceiver. If perceived and the perceiver are the same then surely the mind must have constructed both – it has imagined something to perceive and some way to perceive it but it is another mirage.

    Now in the context of Big Mind (of which I repeat I not necessarily an advocte).

    The style of meditation that I have done most is called Vipassana. It is attempting to pay attention without the mind/Ego being in the loop. It is attempting to perceive without the inner commentary. It is a long-term practice to get anywhere with it.

    However, there are plenty of everyday situations where it is possible for the Ego to step aside and for things to be perceived and interacted with as one. It is not that unusual. We call it “Flow” or “Being in the Zone”. Times of intense stress can also cause the Ego to take a back seat.

    Trauma can also fragment the ego into several different personalities not all of which are accessible.

    In everyday life people can effectively have several different personalities – Boss, father, lover which are all aspects of the true self.

    So, it is easy enough to argue that what we perceive as the Ego is a lot more flexible and a lot less stable than we would like to imagine.

    Since Vipassana works and since the Ego is a flexible thing the claim that BM is a technique that allows you TEMPORARILY to put the ego to one side does in fact seem reasonable.

    I AM NOT SAYING that BM can in fact do this. I just want to make the point that the claim seems reasonable.

    Psychology as a science is less than a few hundred years old and is largely useless. There is however a huge body of knowledge being built up that is converging scientifically with Buddhism.

    Given that Buddhism is old and Psychology is new it would not be unreasonable if someone had managed to create some technique drawing on aspects of both.

    Remember, all BM is offering is a fleeting glimpse. There is a good chance however that IF the technique is real and IF it is psychologically stable then the technique could offer a cognition based approach which is different from the intuition based approach that pervades Buddhism.

    There are a lot of Ifs….

  46. Jinzang
    Jinzang March 5, 2007 at 5:29 am |

    why would you want to see your mind? What’s so interesting about it? Wouldn’t it be better to see beyond mind? Isn’t that where the Budha Nature/God/Whatever is to be found?

    There are two kinds of truths. The first kind is facts and figures. This kind if truth can be about anything: exalted stuff like God or mundane stuff like what you had for lunch. The second kind is experiential truth. Odd as it may seem, we are strangers to our own mind. The purpose of meditation is to give us an experiential understanding of it.

    And if so, and I am reasonably sure that I am not my mind either, what’s there to stop me from simply puting my mind aside for a moment, or again simply choosing to see beyond it?

    How are you going to put aside your mind without using your mind?

    And why does it absolutely, definitely, with no doubts, no discussion have to take 20 years of practice?

    Meditation is learning something new and that takes some time to accomplish. How much time depends on various factors, but definitely more than a weekend.

  47. Jinzang
    Jinzang March 5, 2007 at 5:41 am |

    That is a good answer. ISTR that you were from NKT and have given an answer from that viewpoint.

    Actually I practice in the Kagyu tradition, not NKT. My main teacher is Khenpo Karthar.

    When you try and look at the mind I think there is a problem. The perception of mind is itself a construct – it has no reality. I can dissect my brain and wherever I look I cannot find mind.

    Even if you understand this intellectually, on a gut level we act as if we have a self. It’s like having a phobia. The intellectual understanding that there’s nothing to fear will not resolve the problem.

    Since Vipassana works and since the Ego is a flexible thing the claim that BM is a technique that allows you TEMPORARILY to put the ego to one side does in fact seem reasonable.

    Is ego going to put ego aside? The language of putting is as suspect as the language of seeing is. If you had a phobia, could you temporarily put it aside? It might not manifest at a particular time, but it’s still there. The phobia is an integral part of how you see the world. Same with ego.

    Anyway, looking for temporary fixes is part of the problem. It’s not our thoughts that need to be fixed, it’s the fixer that needs to be seen.

  48. Web Zen!
    Web Zen! March 5, 2007 at 6:02 am |

    Number 6 of the Ten Prohibitive Precepts – Do not speak ill of others.

    Number 7 of the Ten Prohibitive Precepts – Do not praise yourself above others (or blame others).

    Reading through the various blogs here by Mr. Warner – the Zen Master, I’m somewhat dismayed at his attitude, use of colourful language, a flippant disregard for the beliefs and opinions of others. I thought Buddhists were peaceful and pacifist?

    This site was pointed out to me by a student of mine in grade 10, who had quoted some of the strangely un-Buddhist remarks made here.

    Perhaps you sir, should put an age restriction on your site or a strong language warning.

    And please, lift yourself above street talk if you really wish to be taken seriously.

  49. Prof Wes
    Prof Wes March 5, 2007 at 7:10 am |

    Well… happy birthday!!!

  50. Prof Wes
    Prof Wes March 5, 2007 at 7:11 am |

    I thought Buddhists were peaceful and pacifist?

    Peaceful and pacifist… but not stupid.

    Eastern Zen might let BS roll over it with nary a comment, but Western Zen obviously does not.

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