Sexism and Religion

Sexism is stupid. But sexism bolstered by religion is double stupid. Which is why it’s hilarious that people who bolster their sexism with religious dogma seem to feel that this makes them intelligent and their sexism justified. I know you believe God wrote that book you’re quoting. But he didn’t. End of argument.

Two things happened in my life over the past 24 hours to inspire this particular rant. The first was another visit to the Hare Krishnas of Los Angeles. Yesterday was Krishna’s birthday. So they closed off the street around the temple and had a big celebration with, of course, delicious Hare Krishna cuisine. Although I’m starting to catch on that their stuff is really high carb, which could account for the sort of high it gives you, a little sugar rush a few minutes after you finish.

My friend Darrah, who you’ll recall went with me to the big Krishna thing on the beach, went with me. Or perhaps, I should say I went with her. See, she had arranged to interview a young member of the organization who seemed like he was up for being interviewed on Suicide Girls.

So Darrah went and did the interview while I ate high carb food and looked at the displays. Did you know Popeye is (was?) a vegetarian? According to their list of famous vegetarians he is. I guess you never see him eating anything but spinach. Hey and maybe Wimpy is eating veggie burgers. It’s hard to tell.

Anyway, after an hour or so Darrah called to say the interview was over. She seemed a little out of sorts about it. Turns out her Hare Krishna friend told her that women are naturally submissive and their position on earth is to serve men. When Darrah tried to counter this assertion by citing her own real-life experience, her buddy literally went “Blah-blah-blah” and proceeded to talk over her. When Darrah finally managed to ask how he knew all this, the Hare Krishna pointed to a bookshelf and said, “I have five thousand years of yogic literature that proves it’s true.”

As I said, I understand that you believe those books were written by God. But they weren’t. That is a stupid thing to believe.

The second thing that happened is that I went to see a doctor to try and get something for the terrible headaches I’ve been having lately. I thought I had them beat but they came back in a big way this week and I’m leaving for Tassajara tomorrow. I just arrived in town so I was kind of stuck with whoever I could get to see me on short notice.

My doctor turned out to be a woman. Not only that, but she was significantly younger than me. And just to add to the mix, she was also quite stunningly attractive. This kind of thing is often a trigger for males to distrust a doctor. She can’t be any good, she’s a girl! I’ve never thought like that. It’s just not part of my way of perceiving the world and it never has been.

It turns out my doctor was very good. Unlike most male doctors I’ve seen for these headaches, she actually listened to what I told her about them and thought about what I said. Male doctors tend to be very cocky (pun intended) and just throw some pills at you after a five minute chat and a few things stuck up your nose and in your ear holes. This doctor paid careful attention and actually discussed her impressions with me. I was extremely pleased with the visit. Who knows if the stuff she prescribed for me will actually work. But at least she didn’t just whip it on me like some doctors do with their stuff.

I wonder what Darrah’s Hare Krishna friend would have thought.

I’m proud that my own spiritual tradition is resolutely anti-sexist. In his essay “Prostrating to That Which Has Attained the Truth” Dogen quotes Shakyamuni Buddha as saying, “When you meet teachers who expound the supreme state of bodhi, have no regard for their race or caste, do not notice their looks, do not dislike their faults, and do not examine their deeds. Only because you revere their wisdom, let them eat hundreds and thousands of pounds of gold every day, serve them by presenting heavenly food, serve them by scattering heavenly flowers, do prostrations and venerate them three times every day, and never let anxiety or annoyance arise in your mind. When we behave like this, there is always a way to the state of bodhi. Since I established the mind, I have been practicing like this, and so today I have been able to attain anuttara samyaksambodhi.

Dogen further says, “When arhats, pratyekabuddhas, and [bodhisattvas at] the three clever and ten sacred stages come to a bhikshuni (female Buddhist monk) who is retaining the transmission of the right Dharma-eye treasury, to prostrate themselves and to ask her about Dharma, she must receive these prostrations. Why should men be higher? Space is space, the four elements are the four elements, the five aggregates are the five aggregates, and women are also like this. As regards attainment of the truth, both [men and women] attain the truth, and we should just profoundly revere every single person who has attained the Dharma. Do not discuss man and woman. This is one of Buddhism’s finest Dharma standards.”

Later in the essay he says, “Nowadays extremely stupid people look at women without having corrected the prejudice that women are objects of sexual greed. Disciples of the Buddha must not be like this. If whatever may become the object of sexual greed is to be hated, do not all men deserve to be hated too?”

So there.

The entire essay can be found in Volume 1 of the Nishijima/Cross translation of Shobogenzo.


I’ll be away from tomorrow until September 11th. Here’s some of what I’m doing when I get back:

Oct. 26-28 Weekend Sesshin Kajo Zendo in Finland
Oct. 30 – Nov. 4 International Lay Buddhists Forum in Malaga, Spain
Nov. 9 Dogen Zendo Frankfurt , Germany
Nov. 10 Balance Yoga Frankfurt, Germany
Nov. 11 – 21 Possible dates in Germany
Nov. 23-25 Weekend Sesshin at Fawcett Mill Fields, Penrith, Lake District  UK Sponsored by Yoga Manchester
Nov. 25 Manchester, UK Sponsored by Yoga Manchester


Some of your donations to this site will be given to that female doctor I saw today. Maybe a lot of them…

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315 Responses

  1. CosmicBrainz
    CosmicBrainz August 15, 2012 at 9:00 pm |

    You are not Moondog, stop. Moondog understood Zen without understanding it. You don’t. You wish you were Moondog.

    You’re just an autistic loser that needs mental help, Andrew. You are probably lonely because you push everyone away. As I said, you are not Moondog, and at this point you are making a fool of yourself. I bet everyone, including me, is laughing now. I have stopped listening and now make fun of you.

  2. Andrew
    Andrew August 15, 2012 at 9:01 pm |

    zen 101, reality is upside down, since we are reality we are mostly upside down, there’s real practical work on being more “rightside up”

    being rightside up is not rigidly excluding but being open and moving with the flow, very tai chi moving hands in fact ; o )

    we are all offended, but can we move beyond that ?




  3. CosmicBrainz
    CosmicBrainz August 15, 2012 at 9:01 pm |

    Dance around with your cat while listening to this, aspie, and then shoot yourself. You’re not Moondog. You’re not Zen. You’re just a piece of shit!

  4. Andrew
    Andrew August 15, 2012 at 9:14 pm |

    comic, moon dog had a real non trivial life, who are you fooling by claiming some sort of identity with , you fake bunch of plastic?

    i quite like his music, he was a real composer producing something, you can’t even front up who you are?

    yeah i am an autistic loser but buddha helps me when i don’t turn away, happened so many times, my turning it makes me cry : o (

    no i don’t get lonely cause i am the moon : o)

  5. Andrew
    Andrew August 15, 2012 at 9:23 pm |

    ok, lets take that quote from moondog (that autistic loser!)

    “The only one who knows this ounce of words is just a token,
    is he who has a tongue to tell that must remain unspoken.”

    i would say that’s actually voynich, musicians are not that great upstairs

    my reply

    the one who knows this ounce of words

    is more than a token

  6. Andrew
    Andrew August 15, 2012 at 9:29 pm |

    it’s like the living dead, you flatten them down and they get up again, it’s the hitting of them that gives them the only energy they know




  7. Khru
    Khru August 15, 2012 at 9:51 pm |

    Why so angry, Cosmic?

  8. Andrew
    Andrew August 16, 2012 at 1:09 am |

    zen, first refuge of the talentless : o (

  9. Andy
    Andy August 16, 2012 at 1:51 am |


    “If he sees someone as a fake and wants to demonstrate that they are a fake, then he is taking the position of a teacher, because he is claiming to know something they don’t know, or we don’t know. If he doesn’t claim to know that the person he is lampooning is a fake, then what does it mean for him to lampoon that person?”

    I agree with you on this. In the case of when someone is attempting in some way to demonstrate such to another, then of course. But what if someone is taking on the form of that position to learn from the reactions? Treating us like lab-rats for his own amusement and/or edification? What if such a person is slipping from one to the other; from at some level intentionally engaging in some form of teaching interaction, to one of learning from the reactions produced?

    Like I said I think it’s all in the mix, and so rather than fix on one mode of identification and response, I’d rather engage with some instance(s) of expression and the role seemingly defined by that. There is something inside-out about the situation, something fixedly protean, for example in this 7th Patriarch!

  10. Andy
    Andy August 16, 2012 at 2:36 am |


    “you disbelieve there is any resolution or zen is in fact about something totally unexpected : o )”

    To be honest, Andrew, I really don’t know. To disbelieve, I’d have to have something I believe in in the first place. Quite often, after I have written something down with conviction it blows a quiet raspberry at me.

    “i notice you are taking my being the 7th patrairch as some sort of “put on” by me, in fact it’s not and really happened, until you can accept that then ………………

    it’s just not in your world view that such a thing can happen……………….”

    Certainly I can’t know from this shallow valley from which peak the 7th Patriach manifested as Andrew, and from which Andrew manifested as the 7th Patriarch.

    My world-view allows leg room for a kind of quantum uncertaintly on the matter. The 7th Patrirach could be both ‘put on’ and ‘really happened’. For all I know transmission might have been the inaguration for a process of discovery as the very nature of who the 7th is and what is to be done.

    “that world view is your being locked-up……………”

    I might lock up my view for a while – one needs to be sure footed when engaging and exploring particular avenues of thought and dialogue. Testing the limits of confinement, perhaps. But I like to think I keep the key at hand, the lock well oiled and am not scared to step through. So try to not take one instance of what I write or one line of argument I pursue as the only one available to me.

    I wouldn’t want you to get locked in to any past example of my locked-upness.

  11. King Kong
    King Kong August 16, 2012 at 3:11 am |

    Bring on the dancing logicians!

  12. Andrew
    Andrew August 16, 2012 at 5:08 am |


    there are other time and spaces beside this everyday world, magical, polished spaces and in those spaces shine the sixth and seventh patriarchs, alice in wonderland, the infinite moon, the trees at tassajara and the hohonu range near lake brunner, the sea off ulverstone………….. cape leveque, kalumburu, the new zealand south island…………just north of tullah in tasmania, the king river, the west coast ranges…………………………

    in these spaces you enter the timeless………………….























  13. Andy
    Andy August 16, 2012 at 5:21 am |

    Then why are you babbling back?

  14. Andrew
    Andrew August 16, 2012 at 5:45 am |

    well you think it babble

    an every day worlder i guess, the majesty and beauty and awe of it all escapes you

    its’ not that it’s babble back but what i write is that magical polished space and surface

    so it speaks to all except the estranged




    zen is not different from poetry, the claim of the everyday worlders is the same as moondogs quote, the infinite is inexpressible, the mystics however hold that some expressions are in identity with infinity itself and this identity and alignment is what it is all about

    the scoffers of the everyday sit on the sideline, yelling abuse and disbelief

    so my babble/writing is rooted in that identity and that’s why it appears

  15. Andy
    Andy August 16, 2012 at 6:05 am |

    So you write for those who can understand your writing as expressions of identity with infinity, and those who cannot are estranged (from identity with infinity)?

    Why then do you pursue dialogue with those who are clearly estranged? Are you not risking estranging them all the more? After all, there are many people who have been offended, annoyed, upset or simply ‘tuned-out’. Aren’t these people being encouraged by you to turn away even further from expressions of identity with infinity, from perhaps the possibility of it?

    I’ve probably barked up the wrong lamp post to get here, but even if you are merely exploring your own ideas, isn’t the by-product one where most people are being excluded from your vision. Can we only talk to those who understand us, while the rest get exluded.

    And can’t one get lost in Wonderland, seeing hell in the everyday?

  16. Andrew
    Andrew August 16, 2012 at 6:52 am |

    i can see it’s worrying you : o)

    it’s the expression itself that’s interesting to me

    i don’t write for anybody, i am just happy if it has the weight of the infinite in it

    i also publish it, like i use this blog material i write for my homilies and poems pages, but in a way it’s not necessary others read it

    the point of this blog and the people on it, their extreme make believe and estrangement from what it’s about is it’s an extreme that generates a very functional dissonance

    it’s not a dialogue, it’s a storyboard, but the story is true…………

    wether people pick up on it or not i have no expectations and actually that would work not that well for me if people became less estranged, you in fact are about as close as it can get to be effective, you are actually at an optimal distance for effectiveness so i hope that doesn’t change and i don’t think it will

    it’s really fundamental to this “alignment” that being “offended, annoyed, upset and tuned out” be used in productive ways, like recognising in this case that valid criticisms are being made and needing to step down from a senseless and pointless self esteem bound up is the supposed mastery of some rediculous zen or advaita type vocabulary

    but as i say these people are not capable of it and it’s better that way : o )

    they are totally opaque and it’s like talking to walruses : o )

    nothing would shock me more than comic brains saying, “i can see what you are on about”, fortunately it can’t happen : o )

    as to where wonderland is and when it occurs, you get an intuition about it

    yeah there are dangers, i don’t necessarily recommend it at all having had some very close scrapes : o )

  17. Ted
    Ted August 16, 2012 at 7:00 am |

    We can never know the right thing to do because there is no right thing to do. And yet, in general, when someone is in pain, it is worth going through the effort of figuring out if there is something to do. Perhaps what you do is sit there with them after you have called 911 and wait. When I’ve been hurt in the past, people have come to help me, and I’ve appreciated it. Perhaps I could have managed even without their help, but their help was a real comfort.

    I think there’s a very real tendency for Buddhists who have some limited understanding of emptiness to conclude that there is nothing to do to help others, but this is not a state of mind I would aspire to, and my experience has been that people who have studied and practiced extensively do not act this way. The practice of loving without staying does not involve walking away.

    There is nothing wrong with discourse that is intended to elicit reactions from which one can learn, but we from our perspective cannot know what the intent of the speaker is; all we know is what we heard (or read). So we have to respond according to our limited knowledge, and if the interlocutor is attempting to learn something from our reaction, hopefully that’s what happens.

  18. Fred
    Fred August 16, 2012 at 7:04 am |

    “Grandiose delusions (GD) or delusions of grandeur is principally a subtype of delusional disorder that occurs in patients suffering from a wide range of mental illnesses, including two-thirds of patients in manic state of bipolar disorder, half of those with schizophrenia and a substantial portion of those with substance abuse disorders.[1][2] GDs are characterized by fantastical beliefs that one is famous, omnipotent, wealthy, or otherwise very powerful. The delusions are generally fantastic and typically have a supernatural, science-fictional, or religious theme.”

  19. Andy
    Andy August 16, 2012 at 7:15 am |

    “i can see it’s worrying you : o)”

    More a curiosity that has lead me to a variety of feelings and reactions – amusement, bemusement, concern, a little delight, some dissonance, and so on. For if the others are morons, I must admit to being in that babble too (my own company sees enough foolishness for that not to be true). We appear to be at some lost turn on a crumbling avenue this far down this comments section.

    Sexism sucks.

  20. Andy
    Andy August 16, 2012 at 7:23 am |

    “The practice of loving without staying does not involve walking away.”

    And sometimes it is time to stop loving and walk away. I don’t know about swimming alongside for a while…

    “So we have to respond according to our limited knowledge, and if the interlocutor is attempting to learn something from our reaction, hopefully that’s what happens.”

    …maybe that was it.

  21. CosmicBrainz
    CosmicBrainz August 16, 2012 at 7:40 am |

    Zen does not concern itself with countable infinities. It takes refuge in uncountage infinites, non-denumerable numbers. This is a level of infinity above typical infinites. It is called transfinite. Check out Cantor’s Set Theory and his take on the continuum theory and stuff like that.

    By intellectualizing infinity, you lose the heart of Zen. Since uncountable sets are essentially a “blurring of elements”, one cannot easily talk about what is and what isn’t, or use either-or logic. Uncountable sets (nondenumerbale) are infinitely more numerous than denumerable sets. Denumerable cardinals could be described as “clear cross-section of the infinite” whereas nondenumerable cardinals are a “blurring of its crucial elements into a seamless whole of distance without depth and depth without distance”. That’s because uncountable sets simply contain way too elements to be countable, and this is the true meaning of Dharma Body in Zen. It is also referred to as hypercomputation in the cognitive sciences now.

    ?”Mental labeling occurs only with conceptual cognition. Thus, the voidness that is cognized nonconceptually is a nondenumerable ultimate phenomenon. It cannot be counted among what appears to minds validly cognizing phenomena through mentally labeling them with words and concepts.”

    So while you attach yourself to your conceptual infinities that are ultimately limited, by attaching oneself to nothing and living life with no idols (whether Buddha, Sixth Patriarch, or Jesus) one does immediate action within the transfinite, which is above infinity.

    You have limited yourself and fallen into your own trap, Andrew. Just stop attaching yourself to concepts and pushing it down people’s throats. The transfinite never comes with expectations.

  22. gniz
    gniz August 16, 2012 at 8:26 am |

    I actually just registered in order to comment on this thread. This is what makes Brad’s blog so interesting to me–reading these kinds of conversations that veer in so many strange directions.

    I wonder, why is it that Andrew doesn’t bother me the way Mysterion does, even though Andrew is similar in that he often seems to be trolling or spamming–but will occasionally choose to engage and show there is more than meets the eye?

    Why does Cozmic Brains (or whatever his name is) get so angry with Andrew, but probably not as angry at Mysterion?

    If this blog has shown anything over time, it’s been the way people have chosen to discuss and interact with each other–the way in which we converse has been much more illuminating than the “what” of what’s been said here.

    In other words, watching people (including myself) get caught up in the very same silly games and head trips that we’re supposed to be moving beyond or seeing through, is actually quite illustrative. It’s the human condition writ small.

    Andrew seems like he might get that a little bit, and is choosing to explore that here (am I right? Do I win a prize? Does anyone care?)

  23. Andy
    Andy August 16, 2012 at 8:27 am |


    Or, in other words, you’re both barking up the wrong tree.

    Nice to have some company.

  24. CosmicBrainz
    CosmicBrainz August 16, 2012 at 8:28 am |

    To use a real life example of what I’m conveying:

    As I’ve said, that you’ve failed to comprehend, when a surgeon operates on a patient there is no clear delineation among the universe, the patient, and the surgeon in that moment. This is not a countable infinity because this is a moment in which the whole universe is the on the line, for the subject is literally inseparable from the perceived universe. This is why I believe a surgeon must be extremely mindful in the present moment, for every action he does has an immediate cause on the patient. He must act naturally without hesitation or distracting thoughts, and he must maintain COMPLETE awareness of the patient’s body in-front of him. Not even a single thought of “I” should serve as a barrier. Stuff like Shikantaza and mindfulness activity help with cultivating such a strong awareness and action within the immediate present. In that case the distinction between non-distinction and distinction fall apart, and the stillness plus movement become one. Cause and effect are also seen as one, for just changing one organ in the patient’s body can cause an net effect on the whole system at large. Good surgeons have no choice but to be samadhi – in the balanced state that is not preoccupied with unnecessary discrimination. They must simply practice their job often and maintain mindfulness. True mindfulness, in which subject/object dichotomy fall apart, is at the heart of true Zen, not your countable infinities crap.

    Andrew, the reason I would rather want you dead is become you defile the Dharma. I would recommend committing suicide, you aspie. We live in a time where competition for resources is becoming harder, and it is kind of necessary to judge who’s lives are worthless or not. People like you, who do nothing but piss people off, are better off dead, Andrew. Either kill yourself or find some mental help. Do not fuck with people anymore, or I will continue pulling on your strings much harder than you’ve done to anyone else. I really mean it: you are a lonely fucker who has made Zen into a ideological squabble.

  25. gniz
    gniz August 16, 2012 at 8:31 am |

    BTW Andy, you’ve impressed me here as someone who actually was willing to push past Andrew’s purposefully hostile ramblings to get under the hood and see what else might be there.

    I was surprised and shocked to find that actually, there is something else operating and he even admitted to it.

    It just goes to show that it’s all too easy to take things and people at face value and miss the fact that we’re never getting the full story with anyone. Having the patience to see past the veneer and the labels we attach to each other has a real purpose.

    How can we connect with one another if we’re so quick to simply put somebody in a bucket and then leave them there indefinitely?

  26. boubi
    boubi August 16, 2012 at 8:32 am |

    Came back after a couple of days and get the impression that someone’s without a life.

    Do you need friends by chance?

    We can go out, put a towel on the grass under a tree, have tea party (like in tea bags), have a chat, talk about our sissy life, about our chihuahua dog who’s got some creepy bug … you know just enjoy life.

    OK, i know, i’m another scumbag/teabag, it’s OK, it’s the way it is, don’t worry.

    BTW do you like my new hairdo, it’s inspired in the ’50s when girls were girls, curvy, but your nails are just about charming darling, is it this new fashion from Brazil? … wink wink …

  27. Andy
    Andy August 16, 2012 at 9:07 am |


    Cosmic, please, not the killing/suicide stuff.

    Andrew’s touched a nerve, I know what it’s like. Burns you up, and for the nothing it really is waiting to put on more motley – if it’s Andrew today, it’ll be some other fiction tomorrow, and it’s really just your nerves getting frayed.

  28. CosmicBrainz
    CosmicBrainz August 16, 2012 at 9:40 am |

    I just don’t like it when people act like Zen is something accessible for “ordinary folk”. It’s something anyone can do, anywhere, and there is no enlightenment to reach and just in action. I just don’t like how New Age Andrew makes Zen sound to be.

    Soto Zen encourages Shikantaza and applying these principles in daily life. I made this clear with my post about my last post about the lack of delineation among the surgeon, patient, and surgery. Such principles can be applied to any activity like gardening, art, exercise, and etc., and Zazen helps with this. By remaining in the present moment with no expectation by sitting, and maintaining awareness of body and mind, we can take this Samadhi to any daily activity.

    I have an Asian girlfriend and her racist parents claim to be Buddhist, but they really aren’t. They’re more New Agey and into stuff like Reiki, Kundlani, and other crap that is totally shit and lofty as hell. They have never seen a real surgery or the mindfulness of a surgeon, or they have never gardened without intention of receiving gains or whatever. They are basically too concerned with religious fast food experiences and not living mindfully in daily life. There is a constant separation with their daily life and themselves, a kind of distancing they do as a kind of defense mechanism.

    I’m pretty sure Andrew is just a nut as evident by how much of an aspie piece of shit he looks like in his Youtube video:

    I really should not take him seriously, but I’ve just dealing with tough times like my racist girlfriend’s parents.

    But I genuinely am serious when I say people like Andrew are better off dead. I do not say this on the basis of any spurious ideological concept. I say this because he is really obscuring the Dharma and making it inaccessible to people; he is acting worse than Genpo Roshi. I have shown people the Dharma, shown books, shown meaningful art (like Tezuka, Miyazaki, Itoi, etc.), shown how to meditate, and almost all of them have improved their lives. I have never taught anything, but just shown what is already within them.

  29. CosmicBrainz
    CosmicBrainz August 16, 2012 at 9:40 am |

    ^ I meant to say “inaccessible” instead of “accessible”.

  30. Ted
    Ted August 16, 2012 at 9:44 am |

    Worry about your own practice, Cosmic. If your girlfriend’s parents are pissing you off enough to make you wish death on someone, you need to stop being a leaf in the wind and start steering.

  31. gniz
    gniz August 16, 2012 at 9:56 am |

    To quote myself “How can we connect with one another if we’re so quick to simply put somebody in a bucket and then leave them there indefinitely?”

    We all seem to do this to varying degrees. Someone “pushes our buttons” and we decide to label them as something less than, less than human, not deserving of life, the world would be better off without them, etc.

    I’ve felt this way about members of my own family, George W. Bush, someone on TV on a reality show, a random blog commenter…I feel that the true test of my practice is in part to be able to see past my own mental knee jerk reactions.

    The fact that most of the time I in fact cannot see past my own mechanical tendencies, shows me that I have much work left to do…

  32. Andy
    Andy August 16, 2012 at 10:02 am |


    “But I genuinely am serious when I say people like Andrew are better off dead.”

    I hear you.

    You might change your mind on that one, so it’s probably best not to put all your eggs in that basket. The Dharma’s got on for a few thousand years without having to recommend killing, or suicide, for it’s distorters.

    What if your teacher read this and told you you were distorting things to the same extent as Andrew, but in your own way. I’m mean in a truly convincing way? I genuinely hope that you wouldn’t be so serious about it then.

    This sort of shit always bites you back on the ass at some point, so for what it’s worth, I recommend nibbling.

  33. gniz
    gniz August 16, 2012 at 10:04 am |

    Whether or not it’s been Andrew’s intention to work with this side of things, or if I’m just seeing it (in some kind of blog equivalent of a Rorschach test)–I find it intriguing that by constantly berating and attacking almost everyone on this site, he’s managed to create so much anger amongst people who claim to know better.

    Isn’t he in fact showing us clearly the limitations of our own practice as it currently stands, if by posting a bunch of insults in random fashion, he manages to rattle us to the point of return insults, banning threats and even encouragement of his suicide?

    I had much the same reaction to Mysterion and wished to see him banned as well. While I articulated my fury through all kinds of logical acrobatics, the bottom line was that I didn’t care for the way he “came off” in his comments.

    My anger and frustration was born purely out of my own mechanical knee jerk responses to a particular type of person or style of communication.

    This tendency, which most of us share, is one of the primary seeds of discord and even shows how things can escalate to violence and wars. We cannot stand to be confronted with people who behave outside the bounds of what each of us considers normal, respectful, or correct.

    How we respond to someone that strikes us as fundamentally “wrong” is such a great test of our own practice. That most of us, even the supposed zen masters, fail at passing this test says a lot about life in general, and the value of spiritual practice in particular. In my mind, practice isn’t worth much if we continue to behave in ways that are so profoundly antagonistic and defensive in nature.

  34. Andy
    Andy August 16, 2012 at 10:10 am |

    “How we respond to someone that strikes us as fundamentally “wrong” is such a great test of our own practice. That most of us, even the supposed zen masters, fail at passing this test says a lot about life in general, and the value of spiritual practice in particular.”

    I bow to the 9th.


    You might need to put those peach and yellow lycra leggings back on. Yous been usurped.

  35. Andy
    Andy August 16, 2012 at 10:19 am |


    This thread really has helped with the last two days worth mind-numbing cover-letters, cv’s and job apps! Although I should have probably got out and stretched my legs more.

    Boubi! Put the pot on.

  36. Alan Sailer
    Alan Sailer August 16, 2012 at 11:46 am |


    “Isn’t he in fact showing us clearly the limitations of our own practice as it currently stands, if by posting a bunch of insults in random fashion, he manages to rattle us to the point of return insults, banning threats and even encouragement of his suicide?”

    I am not going to defend any but my own actions.

    Andrew is a very unpleasant character. In my opinion he adds very little to the ongoing conversation and subtracts a lot. I sent an Email to Brad asking him if he would be willing to ban him from this forum.

    That is it.

    Zen, as I understand it, it not about tolerating whatever comes along. It is also a philosophy of action. My only action in this case is to make an effort to get Andrew off this site.

    As an admittedly slightly more extreme example, if Andrew was sitting at our local Sanga* and saying the sort of things he is saying on this forum, he would not be allowed to continue.

    I can guarantee that.


    *The person who heads that Sanga is another student of Nishigima.

  37. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote August 16, 2012 at 12:10 pm |

    Ted, when you put it that way, I’m with you.

    Andy, ace, good luck with the job apps; I also have found commenting a useful way to keep my writing fresh, for cover letters. Hasn’t brought me much in the way of steady employment yet, but at least I feel like I am putting my best foot forward.

    King Kong, must be your diet, we should all be fruitarians- you and Khru, a highlight of this and other threads for me.

    Andrew, is that you in that video, reading a poem? Nice poem, nice video.

    Cosmicbrainz, have you seen “is arithmetic consistent?”, just google that and you’ll find it. Looking at Cantor’s proof that the infinity of the real numbers is bigger than the infinity of the counting numbers was my first clue that proof by induction might have its problems. Sure enough, we get Godel’s incompleteness theorem as a result, which with regard to arithmetic says that there’s a chance the answer we get might not be what we expect; locally, it will be, but maybe not way out there somewhere in magnitudes. And this is hard for some professional mathematicians to accept, that’s the most interesting part of “is arithmetic consistent?”.

    There’s an oak tree outside my window, sometimes they do some fine things with the light:

  38. boubi
    boubi August 16, 2012 at 12:44 pm |

    @ Ted

    My speech about sex differenciation (above, in the intellectual part of the commentaries, firsts chapters) was about what we may call archetypes.

    Of course we are not monolithic like cartoon characters.

    Between nature and nurture i think there are about a few billions permutations of characters on earth, basically, then with changing conditions and causes (as per orthodox buddhist doctrine) our emptiness obfuscated and clustered beyond recognition by our attachments, ignorance, we make or we are the mess we produce and witness every instant of our “conscious” half life” (Valve Production).

    This for a learned commentary.

    Sorry i’m tired and let out some bull (one of the joy of life, speaking nonsense), you are right, i was very quick in my former answer, but i still believe that there are fundamental differences want to see, change just one molecule, don’t even change it just alter the amount present in the blood …
    it’s not just physical, it’s whole. Physical and mental is just plain bull, fill our belly and our mind will quiet, the world will seem more nice … do we think with our belly, our dick?

  39. boubi
    boubi August 16, 2012 at 12:47 pm |

    BTW we got a rather sexy justice minister 🙂

  40. CosmicBrainz
    CosmicBrainz August 16, 2012 at 1:09 pm |

    My knowledge is very limited, but I think most mathematicians accept Paul Cohen’s response to Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem and his possible solutions to solving Cantor’s Continuum Hypothesis:

    I actually read a long, dense article about the development of axiomatic set theory in a book called Subject of Truth (it’s about French philosopher Badiou’s use of set theory for his ontology), but this avenue of research is still developing and is not my own field of focus, Neuroscience.

    Btw, that’s a beautiful picture you posted up there. The tree’s branches and boughs look like the convolutions in the cerebrum and pyramidal neurons. It’s kind of strange how we find recurring patterns everywhere in nature: in the brain, in astronomy, and etc. There are different metaphysical explanations one could give for how or why such observable patterns appear everywhere, but I ultimately think a satisfying explanation is outside of our grasp. I also believe the “Hard Problem of Consciousness” (i.e., the question of “qualia”) is outside of empirical scrutiny, i.e., outside in any theoretical model that can adequately address it:

    I think the Zen answer would be a quick “you are inseparable from experience and experience is inseparable from you” *slap*. That is, no clear cut dichotomy between mental and physical exists. Emptiness is form, form is emptiness. Mind is matter, matter is mind. All is as it is right now.

    However, it will be a long time before we get any satisfying empirical evidence proving the “nonduality of mind and matter”, for physics does not even have a cogent definition of the “physical” yet. In my field, it is kind of weird how some people speak of mental phenomena as being completely reducible to neural interactions, or how some physicists have a preconception of what “physical” connotes when the gap between relativity and quantum physics is far from being bridged.

    I do not believe Buddhism is either reductionist or holistic. It tends to go the middle-way between both and avoid the problems of emergentism and eliminative materialism (i.e., emergentism being a fanatical version of holism and eliminativism being a fanatical version of reductionism). Thus, I would say Buddhism, from my own experiences and understanding, is neutral monist (i.e., wiki definition: mental and the physical are two ways of organizing or describing the same elements, which are themselves ‘neutral,’ that is, neither physical nor mental), but the neutral property cannot be intellectualized and only “be actualized” in the immediate present. The neutral property, is in a sense, indistinguishable from the present moment that cannot be grasped, and has no parts or whole in and of itself. This is why mindful action tends to be described as having ineffable attributes that evade intellectual description. Reality, apart from perception, is neither mental nor matter, but it can also both. This is why emptiness is spoken as an “indeterminate state that allows infinite possibilities”. Basically, an unfettered mind that we can actualized when sitting without the mental clutter that fills up most of our daily lives.

  41. karate monkey
    karate monkey August 16, 2012 at 2:04 pm |

    A teacher (Tibetan, no apologies) once explained to me that when an “irritating” person “pops up” in my life it is ONLY because I have been an irritating person to someone else in the past. He called it this weird sounding foreign word, I think it was… karma. Sitting in a few thousand AA meetings has pretty well driven this point home. And the crazy thing about this is — the irritating behavior is ALWAYS one that I share in some fashion. For example, I’ll get pissed at someone who drones on and on in a meeting trying to get to their point, repeating themselves, seemingly, endlessly and then I realize I’ve done the same thing many, many times before. If I am honest, really honest, this is plainly apparent. Why does Andrew piss you off, look at that, take your time, use a goddamn cushion if that helps. Or not.

  42. karate monkey
    karate monkey August 16, 2012 at 2:10 pm |

    Additionally, there is nobody who is “intrinsically/inherently” irritating. Why? They would have to be irritating all the time to everyone, unchanging. Never the case. This stuff is sort of elementary. Maybe not.

  43. karate monkey
    karate monkey August 16, 2012 at 2:13 pm |

    Here’s the payoff, to STOP having irritating people “pop up” in your future, STOP being an irritating person in the present. Simple, but not easy.

  44. gniz
    gniz August 16, 2012 at 2:31 pm |

    “Additionally, there is nobody who is “intrinsically/inherently” irritating. Why? They would have to be irritating all the time to everyone, unchanging.”

    Such a great point. Of course, everyone has their line in the sand, where if someone crosses it, they feel the need to take action. However, it is the emotion or way in which I take action that is a key difference.

    If I believe that Andrew is so disruptive that he is ruining this blog (I don’t), then I can decide it’s just the thing that needs to be done for the blog to function more smoothly, etc.

    If, however, I am just getting my buttons pushed (as I did with Mysterion previously) than I think it’s definitely a question of, What is it about this guy that irritates me so? Why can’t I handle this person’s existence?

    Everyone has a type of person or whatever, that seems to irritate us. But as Karate Monkey says, that same person doesn’t annoy everyone equally. So what is it that makes us believe we are the arbiters of good taste, normal behavior, etc etc?

  45. Alan Sailer
    Alan Sailer August 16, 2012 at 4:07 pm |


    To me it looks like you are presenting it as a binary choice ie someone can either act to fix a (perceived) problem or that same person could instead examine why they feel it is a problem.

    It is possible to do both, isn’t it?

  46. Andrew
    Andrew August 16, 2012 at 4:24 pm |

    mark writes

    “Andrew, is that you in that video, reading a poem? Nice poem, nice video.”

    yeah, thanx

  47. Fred
    Fred August 16, 2012 at 4:29 pm |

    People with bipolar who don’t take the right meds, can be a pain in the ass
    22 hours a day.

    That’s why they are medicated. Nobody wants to deal with that shit.

  48. Andrew
    Andrew August 16, 2012 at 4:35 pm |

    alan sailor writes

    “Andrew is a very unpleasant character. In my opinion he adds very little to the ongoing conversation and subtracts a lot. I sent an Email to Brad asking him if he would be willing to ban him from this forum. ”

    no cash ?

    well others want to kill me ! maybe they would contribute?

    not that wanting to ban or kill anyone is being unpleasant, no it’s a justified removal of anything that upsets us !

    kill kill kill kill….ban ban ban………. the hypocrites dance ………….

    i supply the energy i can withdraw it i guess, wasting my time with retards, egocentrical manics and complete life non-functionals?

  49. Andrew
    Andrew August 16, 2012 at 4:37 pm |

    fred, what did you have for breakfast? zoning out on wheat products agian?

  50. Andrew
    Andrew August 16, 2012 at 4:49 pm |

    the thing about bipolar is the mood shift is a pump, i think all genius has some degree of bipolar, but the only really effective med is high dose lithium which is a killer of the thryoid and generla health

    on my health web pages i have a write up about using very very tiny dose lithium carbonate in drinking water and low dose lithium aspartate and strontium can be useful as well……………..

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