Sitting on the Veranda in LA Thinking About Europe

I’m back in the USA.

I’m also Tricycle Magazine’s on-line Meditation Doctor this month. To see all the amazing advice I’m giving people, go to

And if you want to sit some zazen in LA tonight I’ll be hosting the usual Wednesday night session at Yogavidala in Los Feliz. The address is 4640 Franklin Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027. Be there or be square. Be there and you can manifest the shape of the full moon! (Dogen nerds will get that joke)

On this coming Friday night (Dec. 7th, 2012 a day that will live in infamy!), also in Los Feliz, will be the world premiere of Shoplifting From American Apparel starring Brad Warner. To see more about that and to purchase tickets go to

You gotta buy the tickets on line! None will be available at the door! It’s gonna be a really cool show with lots of the cast and crew on hand as well as fabulous prizes and merchandise.


I’m sitting on my veranda with its lovely view of the 5 freeway, the Hyperion Street bridge and the magnificent Verdugo Mountains. It’s a brisk December morning here, 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius). The sun is shining and the smog is not too thick. Back in London it’s snowing. They’re riding sledges (aka sleds) up in Glasgow. It’s below freezing in Helsinki.

My trip to Europe this Fall is done. And what can I tell you about it? It was fun. Here’s the short version.

In Finland I led a weekend sesshin. I was severely jet-lagged and it was all I could do to stay upright during the first day’s zazen. I gave the precepts to three people, two Finns and one Scotsman who has live in Finland for ages. I hope they enjoy their precepts. I slept on a “Goldilocks bed” at the home of a guy named Mika. It was very short, but warm.

In Malaga, Spain I addressed the International Lay Buddhists Forum, but did not get laid even once. What’s the deal with that? In the Oslo airport on the way down to Spain I paid $27 for egg and chips. Next time I’ll pack a sandwich. Burkhard, who organized the forum, called me “heteronormative” the first day we met. The whole front row was sound asleep when I gave my speech.

At the University of Koblenz I spoke to students in the afternoon and was videotaped. I wonder where that video will be shown. Then that evening I spoke to non-student type humans in what used to be a church of some sort. Or maybe it still is a church. A guy came with a ukulele. He didn’t play it, though. Across from my hotel were old German buildings and trees bursting with Autumn colors. The Muzak in the dining room played Mack the Knife. It was to be my last hotel stay of the tour. Usually people don’t put me up in hotels and I certainly cannot afford them for myself.

The train to Frankfurt wound past the Rhine river. In Frankfurt I spoke at the Dogen Zendo and then ate pizza. One guy who attended owned three of the Dimentia 13 albums! Golly! The following day I did what they called a satsang at Balance Yoga, also in Frankfurt. No one sang, but we sure sat! There I met another guy who had some of the Dimentia 13 albums! Were we big in Germany?

Then it was on to Berlin, where I re-visited Dharma Buchladen, where I had spoken twice before. My friend Vajra lent me his swingin’ East Berlin pad while he went home to see his folks in Denver. Groovy! A girl named Nikita with long dreadlocks came to the talk because her mom told her to. But she liked the talk anyway. In Kruezburg a West Indian guy tried very hard to sell me marijuana. I did not buy it. But I did buy the German edition of The X from Outer Space (Guila Frankensteins Teufelsei).

Then it was on to Glasgow where Judi of Merchant City Yoga put on an exciting day of zazen, which was fun for all. I did two events in Glasgow, one evening talk followed by a day-long zen thing. The talk was an “In Conversation” format hosted by Dr Cynthia McVey. I liked that a lot. I went and saw my friend Nick of My Niece’s Foot who I met when I first moved to Japan. He lives in Fife, Scotland now with his wife Tara and two children. I read Fox in Sox to them.

Then I went to Manchester where I saw a fine performance by Kunt and the Gang. After that, it was off to Fawcett Mill Fields in the Lake District. There I led a three-day Zen thing with lots of dokusan (individual interviews with participants). We took a long muddy walk to see a stone circle and I thought of Julian Cope.

After that I was whisked off to Hebden Bridge, the Lesbian Capitol of Britain, where I did a day-long Zen thing at a local youth hostel. The name of the hostel was Mama Weirdigan’s! And my room was called Stoodley! I kid you not. They had a cute kitty cat. I did lots more dokusan. I found Bill Oddie’s (of The Goodies) autobiography in a charity shop dedicated to local greyhounds. I didn’t buy it because it looked too heavy to add to my baggage. Then I ate delicious Tibetan food in the local Trade Union Hall.

Then it was back to Manchester where I did a talk, another “In Conversation” thing with a guy named Elliot. I’m sorry Elliot, I’ve forgotten your last name! That also went very nicely, although it was quite chilly in the schoolhouse where we did the talk.

Finally I rode the train down to London where I did a day of zazen at a place called the Vibast Community Center. It’s a community center on a council estate, which is what the British call a housing project. Though it wasn’t exactly the ideal venue for a day of zazen, it worked out just fine. I like doing zazen in non-ideal spaces. I think we need more of that. It’s lovely to do it in picturesque places far off in the country. But it’s also valuable to do it in the center of a big city with traffic noises in the background.

Big thanks to everyone who made this happen. If I start naming people, I’ll certainly leave some out. But here are a few who my jet-lagged brain can come up with today:

Thanks to Markus Laitinen of Kajo Zendo in Helsinki, to Prof. Burkhard Scherer for inviting me to Spain and setting it all up, to Wolf-Andreas Liebert at the University of Koblenz, to Regina Obendorfer of Dogen Zendo in Frankfurt, to Sybille Welker of Balance Yoga in Frankfurt, to Fritz at Dharma Buchladen, to Judi Ferrell in Glasgow, to Matt Ryan in Man Chest Hair, to Rebecca Habergrahm in Hebden Bridge, to Alicia in London, to Norman Blair also in London and to everyone else I have forgotten because my brain is like jelly at the moment.


Donate to the de-jellification of Brad’s brain here.

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23 Responses

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  1. fightclubbuddha
    fightclubbuddha December 5, 2012 at 12:39 pm |

    Sounds like a great trip. The Julian Cope reference is much appreciated. His albums “Peggy Suicide” and “Jehovahkill” are among my all time favorites. The song “Fear Loves This Place” is just monumentally impressive.

    Question: was the giving of the precepts per-arranged, or spontaneous? Was it necessary to inquire into the students’ backgrounds and practice habits first? Some of my friends who sit with the local Tibetan group have taken Vows of Refuge. Do you also administer those?

  2. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 5, 2012 at 7:39 pm |

    Since you’re gone
    The nights are gettin’ strange
    Since you’re gone
    Well, nothings makin’ any sense

    Since you’re gone
    I stumbled in the shade
    Since you’re gone
    Every thing’s in perfect tense, well

    Since you’re gone
    Throwin’ it all away

    Since you’re gone I missed the peak sensation
    Since you’re gone I took the big vacation

    Since you’re gone
    I’ve thrown it all away

  3. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 5, 2012 at 7:39 pm |

    kidding, welcome back, Mr. W!

  4. Kvitsh
    Kvitsh December 6, 2012 at 10:39 am |


  5. Rich
    Rich December 6, 2012 at 1:34 pm |

    Thanks Mark. I’m over that song but but still enjoy it.

    Brad, Living near a freeway is not that healthy. Keep your windows closed and get an air purifier.

  6. Fred
    Fred December 7, 2012 at 7:48 am |

    Brad was gone, but he came back. And yet he was here.

    “”When unseeing, why do you not see the unseeing? If you see the unseeing, it is no longer unseeing. If you do not see the unseeing, it is not an object. Why isn’t it yourself?”

  7. Fred
    Fred December 7, 2012 at 8:40 am |

    Brad Warner : “Abuse is abuse. But not every romantic relationship between a “member of clergy” and a “congregant” is abuse. It would be wrong to make all such relationships illegal. ”

    Yes Brad, what occurs between two consenting adults is their business.

    There is still the problem of what the Buddha said about nipping desire in the
    bud, and how one goes about have sex with one’s girlfriend or wife without
    desire entering into the act.

    Without desire, sex is a mechanical act.

    Having sex on acid is like having an orgasm with all the energy and organic, tactile feel of the Universe.

    Or should a priest, monk or someone calling themselves a Buddhist adhere to
    some practices and not others?

  8. sri_barence
    sri_barence December 7, 2012 at 1:15 pm |

    I read the Q&A on the Tricycle site with interest. One theme that seemed to repeat is how to sit with noisy, confused, busy mind, etc. I struggle with this too. I don’t know if I have figured out the trick to just letting the thoughts come and go, but I notice that even if I start out with busy confusion, it seems to settle down on its own in 10 or 15 minutes. Sometimes I feel “lifted up,” as if in an exalted state. Other times, I feel rock still, but just in a very ordinary state.
    Right now it is 16:15. Rain is falling outside the window.

  9. Janina
    Janina December 7, 2012 at 1:40 pm |

    It was a very delightful to sit sesshin with you!


  10. boubi
    boubi December 8, 2012 at 12:25 am |

    Hi Brad

    Glad to see you got some job.

  11. boubi
    boubi December 8, 2012 at 12:29 am |

    To Mark Foote

    How do you embed youtube video or pictures?


  12. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 8, 2012 at 8:27 am |

    Boubi, I just paste the URL into the comment box, that’s all- WordPress recognizes it and does the rest.

  13. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 8, 2012 at 8:28 am |

    except when it doesn’t.

  14. Fred
    Fred December 8, 2012 at 11:36 am |

    Fred asked ” Or should a priest, monk or someone calling themselves a Buddhist adhere to some practices and not others ? ”

    Dogen answered “Suchness is the real form of truth as it appears throughout the world — it is fluid and differs from any static substance. Our body is not really ours. Our life is easily changed by life and circumstances and never remains static. Countless things pass and we will never see them again. Our mind is also continually changing. Some people wonder: If this is true on what can we rely? But others who have the resolve to seek enlightenment, use this constant flux to deepen their enlightenment (1975: 58).”

    Authentic doctrine must reflect things as they are in their current state of impermanence.

  15. King Kong
    King Kong December 8, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  16. Fred
    Fred December 8, 2012 at 6:14 pm |

    And the current state of impermanence is turning into a shitstorm.

  17. Fred
    Fred December 9, 2012 at 4:12 am |

    Opening to the truth as it presents itself without knowing it with the discursive
    mind or fixing its place with words.

    Zen in the Western Unorthodox Zen Church of America is riding the shitwaves on your surfboard in a shitstorm.

  18. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 9, 2012 at 7:31 am |

    riding a shit storm in a a bad brains Christmas pagaent play… yes!

    “One theme that seemed to repeat is how to sit with noisy, confused, busy mind, etc. I struggle with this too. I don’t know if I have figured out the trick to just letting the thoughts come and go, but I notice that even if I start out with busy confusion, it seems to settle down on its own in 10 or 15 minutes.”

    Then 10 or 15 minutes after that, it seems to pick up again and carry me into a shit storm in a bad brains Chrismas pagaent!

  19. King Kong
    King Kong December 9, 2012 at 2:14 pm |


  20. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 9, 2012 at 8:43 pm |

    oh yes I’d like that- two, please.

  21. King Kong
    King Kong December 9, 2012 at 9:45 pm |


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