Spiritual Tourism and Spiritual Journalism


I’m almost done with an e-book that will be titled Hardcore Zen Strikes Again! and will consist mainly of articles I wrote back in the early 2000′s for my first website. Most of these articles haven’t been available since around 2003 when I took them off the web in anticipation of the release of my book Hardcore Zen. I’ve added new introductions and afterwords to each of the articles as well as a new introduction and afterword to the book as a whole. Plus I’ve also included a chapter that was cut out of Hardcore Zen and an article I wrote for a magazine I’ll bet none of you out there has ever even heard of.

And there’ll be another new item soon too. People started talking about an audio book version of Hardcore Zen almost as soon as the book was released. But nobody ever did anything. Around a year and a half a go a small record label approached me with a concrete offer to do the audio book. When I mentioned this to the publishers of the printed book, they were like, “Don’t do it with them! We’ll do an audio book!” OK, said I, let’s do it.

Then I waited, and waited, and waited some more. After about six months of this I asked the publishers what was going on. “We don’t wanna do it anymore,” they said.

Oh. OK. Thanks for letting me know, I replied.

So I decided to do it myself. My friend Pirooz Kaleyah, director of Shoplifting from American Apparel, gave me a microphone. I plugged it into my MacBook, opened up Garage Band and started reading the book out loud. It’s a pretty D.I.Y. thing, but it sounds good. Almost professional!

I added some of the actual music I talk about in the text and a few other surprises to try to give a bit of extra value to people who’ve already read the book. I’ll be plugging both of these like mad here once they’re done.

***

OK. So what about the subject of “spiritual tourism” and “spiritual journalism” mentioned in the title of this piece?

The response my last blog posting got me started thinking about the difference between what I think of as spiritual tourism and spiritual journalism and actual Buddhist practice. I need to be clear from the outset: Spiritual tourism and journalism are not bad things. In fact I appreciate them. Especially some of the journalism that’s being produced these days. But I think a lot of people are getting confused and think that they’re the same thing as Buddhist practice. Or they appear to think that Buddhist practice in the 21st century ought to resemble spiritual tourism and journalism more.

Spiritual tourism and journalism both involve going out into the big wide world and sampling a little bit of a lot of different types of spiritual practices. In the case of spiritual journalism it’s essential to do this. A person who wishes to write about a wide variety of spiritual practices needs to know about a wide variety of spiritual practices. She needs to read about them and to experience them. She needs to know the differences between them and the historical reasons for those differences.

In the case of spiritual tourism, it’s perfectly acceptable to go around to various spiritual centers and suchlike and see what’s out there.

But in doing either of these activities, it is impossible to get any real depth of experience in any of the the spiritual practices you sample. You cannot get deeply and fully into a practice that takes decades to develop by taking a weekend retreat or a week-long retreat or a month-long retreat. You sure can’t get that by stopping by for the Saturday morning service a few times.

In my case, I chose a different path. But this is kind of the way I like to do things. For example, ever since I was a little kid I wanted to go to Japan. When I became an adult I figured it was at last possible for me to really go there. But I didn’t want to experience Japan as a tourist. I didn’t want to run over there and spend a week gawking at the sights in various cities. I wanted to deeply experience Japan. And to do that I had to live there, full time, for at least a year, I figured.


I found a way to do that by joining the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) program. And after that I really immersed myself by getting a job at Tsuburaya Productions, a company one could argue is an important producer of Japanese culture. I lived in a Japanese house, married a Japanese woman, and I spoke and read Japanese every single day for eleven years. It was about the Japanese-est Japan experience one could have.

I took this even further by limiting my Japan focus even more narrowly. In my decade-plus of living in Japan I rarely left Tokyo and its suburbs. I loved Tokyo and wanted to thoroughly experience just that one city. In order to do so, I had to limit my experience of the rest of Japan. I visited Osaka and Kyoto and Sapporo and a few other cities. But those were tourist excursions. I lived in Tokyo.

I’m not trying to say I’m a better person than someone who just visits Japan, or that I’m harder or tougher or whatever. But I am saying that my experience of Japan was almost entirely different from the kind of experience you get as a tourist.

In terms of Buddhist practice, you really need this kind of immersion. You have to pick one teacher and stick with that teacher for a long time. In doing so, you learn your teacher’s ways very thoroughly. But you necessarily miss out on having what one might call a “well-rounded understanding” of Buddhism as a whole.

I’ve taken some flak from people who think it’s a terrible thing that I don’t know much about Buddhism beyond what I learned from my two teachers. And if I were trying to be a spiritual journalist, maybe they’d have a point. But I’m not. I realize that by writing a blog I tend to invite people to think of me that way. I believe I’ve made it clear on a number of occasions that I’m not a journalist. But I don’t expect every one to read every last bit of writing I put up on the Interwebs.

That doesn’t mean I have no right to talk about the other things I see going on out there. It’s just that my perspective is that of a practitioner, not that of a journalist.

The fact that I have such a narrow focus in terms of Buddhism does not make me unique at all. It makes me an oddity to those who mistake me for a spiritual journalist. But among Buddhists, it’s perfectly normal. In fact, when I go to places like Tassajara I see it even more clearly. A student of San Francisco Zen Center teacher Norman Fischer, for example, will often be almost completely ignorant of the teachings of San Francisco Zen Center teachers Steve Stuckey or Reb Anderson. The focus is that narrow, even though they often live right next to each other in the same gosh darned temple. This is very typical of the way things are done in Zen practice, as well as in all other forms of Buddhism.

I’ve actually got a more well-rounded understanding of Buddhism than most Buddhists I know since I travel so much. I often end up telling people at the Zen centers I visit about how their practices differ from what folks do a couple towns away — often even when the temples in question are in the very same lineage.

There is nothing wrong with being a journalist or tourist who has had a tongue tip taste of all the things on offer from the vast smorgasbord of spiritual practices available these days. It’s fine. But their bellies are so full after all that sampling that they usually don’t have room to enjoy a full meal of just one dish. And that is a very different experience.

140 Responses

  1. Thick Knot Hung
    Thick Knot Hung April 3, 2012 at 5:03 pm | |

    Anony @ 3:52 and the "Way Back machine": the real kicker here is that they had porn 800 years ago in China!

  2. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 3, 2012 at 5:17 pm | |

    to mtto…

    I didn't read "Sex Sin and Zen" – care to share?

  3. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 3, 2012 at 5:21 pm | |

    though i must admit… I cant see how a chapter entitled "Happy Ending, Buddhist Style" will answer the question any better than google searching Hardcore Zen and having a blog posting called "Sitting in a Chair is not Zazen".:P

  4. Zenleo
    Zenleo April 3, 2012 at 5:49 pm | |

    Wow! Big Mind is closer to me than I thought:

    http://www.marshfieldclinic.org/giving/?page=giving_benchmarks-winter-2011-spotlight

    No wonder I have been getting head-aches, it's that big mind only 40 miles away!

    Cheers!

  5. mtto
    mtto April 3, 2012 at 5:57 pm | |

    The last chapter of "Sex Sin and Zen" is just about zazen and fukanzazengi, not sex. It really has nothing to do with the rest of the book and can be read on its own. His discussion is nuanced. If you don't care enough to read the chapter next time you walk by a Barnes and Noble, then you must not care that much.

  6. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 3, 2012 at 6:16 pm | |

    The last chapter of "Sex Sin and Zen" is just about zazen and fukanzazengi, not sex. It really has nothing to do with the rest of the book and can be read on its own. His discussion is nuanced. If you don't care enough to read the chapter next time you walk by a Barnes and Noble, then you must not care that much.

    Thanks for the help…
    Is Brad's view more nuanced than his own words from here:

    http://hardcorezen.blogspot.com/2011/11/sitting-in-chairs-is-not-zazen-part-one.html

    Where he says:

    "But I did tell them that sitting in chairs was not zazen. Zazen is a physical practice. To sit in a chair and call it zazen is incorrect. It's not that sitting on a chair will lead you to Satan and cause your eternal soul to burn forever in Hell. It's not evil. It's just not zazen."

    That's straight bullshit.

  7. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 3, 2012 at 6:29 pm | |

    So you say, care to elaborate? Have you your own definition and/or cite a different authority? Back up your bullshit claim, please.

  8. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 3, 2012 at 6:37 pm | |

    Brad is the only teacher I have hear that says such a thing.

    EVERY other teacher says that the postures are only for stability – lotus being most stable and working down to chair being least stable. But zazen is what one does with the mind – you can do it on a bus, you can do it lying down.

    Even the Fukanzazenji doesn't say that if you sit in a chair it's not zazen.

  9. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 3, 2012 at 6:43 pm | |

    A quick Wiki look yielded this (note last sentence):

    * Kekkafuza (full-lotus)
    * Hankafuza (half-lotus)
    * Burmese (a cross-legged posture in which the ankles are placed together in front of the sitter)
    * Seiza (a kneeling posture using a bench or zafu)

    In addition, it is not uncommon for modern practitioners to sit zazen in a chair, often with a wedge/cushion on top of the chair seat so that one is sitting on an incline, or by placing a wedge behind the lower back to help maintain the natural curve of the spine.

    While each of these styles are commonly taught today, Master Dogen recommended only Kekkafuza and Hankafuza.

  10. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 3, 2012 at 6:51 pm | |

    *recommended* is the key word…
    … he didn't say that sitting in a chair was *NOT* zazen… and neither does any teacher but Brad.

  11. Mysterion
    Mysterion April 3, 2012 at 7:28 pm | |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 3, 2012 at 8:28 pm | |

    Gudo Nishijima said this on your link Mysterion.

    "Even though in Soto Sect recently they sometimes recommend for secular practioners to use chairs for Zazen, but I think that such a kind of idea might be serious rebellion against Gautama Buddhas' teachings."

    He is wrong.
    Gudo Nishijima is dead wrong.

  13. Weasel Tracks
    Weasel Tracks April 3, 2012 at 8:44 pm | |

    Those that have not been on pilgrimage have no say in what it's like.

  14. Mysterion
    Mysterion April 3, 2012 at 10:38 pm | |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. Khru
    Khru April 3, 2012 at 10:46 pm | |

    Blogger Mysterion said…

    ***"The further one goes,
    the less one knows."

    I agree…

    In fact, the further one goes, the more one realizes how little they ever knew to begin with.***

    Holy shit, man, you done did it in only three (3) sentences after all!

  16. Mysterion
    Mysterion April 3, 2012 at 10:46 pm | |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  17. anon #108
    anon #108 April 4, 2012 at 3:37 am | |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  18. anon #108
    anon #108 April 4, 2012 at 3:41 am | |

    Hi Anonymous with the lotus sitting comments,

    Sometimes I sit in full lotus and sometimes I sit in half lotus. I don't sit any other way. For me to sit any other way would be dead wrong.

    But you, if you want to sit, can sit any way you like. For you – as Gudo Nishijima says – are King of the Universe. And about that he is dead right.

  19. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 4, 2012 at 4:29 am | |

    I'll take it one step beyond Gudo:

    If you don't sit full lotus, you're a failure in life, destined for miserable, painful and possibly humiliating death.

  20. proulx michel
    proulx michel April 4, 2012 at 4:46 am | |

    Anonymous said…

    I'll take it one step beyond Gudo:

    If you don't sit full lotus, you're a failure in life, destined for miserable, painful and possibly humiliating death.

    If you don't sit full lotus while you could, provided some little effort, then you are "a failure in life, destined for miserable, painful and possibly humiliating death."

  21. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 4, 2012 at 5:30 am | |

    miserable, painful and possibly humiliating death.

    whatever. it gets worse, it gets better. the drama loses its appeal. you grow weary of the suffering. you sit.

  22. anon #108
    anon #108 April 4, 2012 at 6:11 am | |

    What's your point, anonymous with the Gudo/lotus objections?

    Is it that Brad Warner, Gudo Nishijima and many earlier Zen/Buddhist practitioners and teachers like Dogen and Gautama are wrong to recommend the lotus asana? Well ok, you think they're wrong.

    If, as you say you believe, zazen is something you do with your mind – a mind that does it's valuable business regardless of what the separate, less valuable, less relevant body is doing – then of course it doesn't matter whether you sit in lotus, sit in a deckchair or suspend yourself from the ceiling while doing your valuable mental thing with your separate mind. But if you believe, or have found it to be the case that body and mind are not such clearly defined, separate 'things' you may feel differently about mind/body/zazen.

    All I have ever heard Brad and Gudo say about lotus is that there's a reason for it. If you've never tried it you'll never know whether that's true for you or not. If you can't do it, fine. If you don't want to do it, fine. You'll not be a failure at anything other than sitting in lotus. But there is a reason it's been practised and recommended for thousands of years.

    There agian, if you just wanted to say "Gudo Nishijima is wrong" and watch a couple of Gudo fans to come rushing to his defence then job done, I'd say.

  23. gniz
    gniz April 4, 2012 at 6:12 am | |

    I think people miss the point.

    Maybe sitting in a chair isn't zazen.

    But that doesn't mean it isn't very useful.

  24. Daniel
    Daniel April 4, 2012 at 6:15 am | |

    Is riding a bike the same as driving a car? Nope
    But riding a bike is still a form of transportation.
    While reclining on the sofa with a clear mind may be meditation, it just isn't zazen. How I understand zazen is that it is as much a posture as a state of mind.
    And I would not be taking offense if while riding my bike someone said I wasn't driving a car.

  25. Weasel Tracks
    Weasel Tracks April 4, 2012 at 6:21 am | |

    And that is assuming that the pilgrims are free from mental disorders – a rather questionable assumption, in my opinion.

    One can say the same of anyone in the class defined by interest in any spiritual practice. But, surely, you are not assuming that one can assume that pilgrims are less free from mental disorders than the general population?

    Anyway, so what? Discussion of the value of pilgrimage by non-pilgrims is theoretical. Discussion of the value of pilgrimage by pilgrims is biased. Same could be said of zazen.

  26. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 4, 2012 at 6:28 am | |

    to anon 108:

    "What's your point, anonymous with the Gudo/lotus objections?"

    My point *isn't* that Brad/Gudo/Dogen or Buddha were wrong to recommend lotus – it's that Brad and Gudo are dead wrong to say that sitting in a chair is not zazen. If they base what they teach on Dogen's Fukanzazenji well, Dogen never says sitting in a chair is not zazen, and neither does the Soto-shu.

    There is nothing magical about the lotus other than it is the most stable of the zazen positions. That's it.

    What Brad and Gudo are suggesting is that the enlightenment of Shakyamuni Buddha was dependent on being able to sit in a "magical pose" – which is ridiculous on it's face.

  27. anon #108
    anon #108 April 4, 2012 at 6:36 am | |

    What Brad and Gudo are suggesting is that the enlightenment of Shakyamuni Buddha was dependent on being able to sit in a "magical pose" – which is ridiculous on it's face.

    If that's what they were suggesting, I'd agree with you. But I don't believe they are.

  28. Standing On His Head
    Standing On His Head April 4, 2012 at 6:39 am | |

    Zazen is defined as,

    * Kekkafuza (full-lotus)
    * Hankafuza (half-lotus)
    * Burmese (a cross-legged posture in which the ankles are placed together in front of the sitter)
    * Seiza (a kneeling posture using a bench or zafu)

    Sitting in a chair is defined as,

    *sitting in a chair

  29. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 4, 2012 at 6:40 am | |

    Mysterion said "blah, blah, blah." Again.

  30. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 4, 2012 at 6:45 am | |

    Anon 108 sed:

    "If that's what they were suggesting, I'd agree with you. But I don't believe they are."

    Well… as I quoted Brad earlier:

    ""But I did tell them that sitting in chairs was not zazen. Zazen is a physical practice. To sit in a chair and call it zazen is incorrect. It's not that sitting on a chair will lead you to Satan and cause your eternal soul to burn forever in Hell. It's not evil. It's just not zazen."

    And if zazen = enlightenment, as Dogen teaches…
    And if sitting in a chair is *NOT* zazen…

    …then what Brad and Gudo are totally suggesting is that the enlightenment of Shakyamuni Buddha *IS* dependent on being able to sit in a "magical pose".

  31. anon #108
    anon #108 April 4, 2012 at 6:46 am | |

    gniz wrote: "I think people miss the point.
    Maybe sitting in a chair isn't zazen.
    But that doesn't mean it isn't very useful."

    I'm not sure if that's the point, g, but it is a very good point. As is Daniel's. As is Weasel Tracks'. Anonymous – I don't think yours is such a good point coz how you hear what Brad et al say about lotus/zazen isn't how I hear it. Which doesn't tell us much, I guess, except that different people hear things differently.

  32. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 4, 2012 at 6:52 am | |

    Anon 108 sed:
    "I don't think yours is such a good point coz how you hear what Brad et al say about lotus/zazen isn't how I hear it. Which doesn't tell us much, I guess, except that different people hear things differently."

    Ok…
    How do you hear what Gudo said here:

    ""Even though in Soto Sect recently they sometimes recommend for secular practitioners to use chairs for Zazen, but I think that such a kind of idea might be serious rebellion against Gautama Buddhas' teachings."

    And pair that with Brad saying that sitting in a chair is *NOT* zazen…
    How do you interpret what they are trying to say?

  33. anon #108
    anon #108 April 4, 2012 at 6:53 am | |

    This is pretty much how I hear what Brad and Gudo are saying:

    "There is nothing magical about the lotus other than it is the most stable of the zazen positions. That's it."

    I'd add "…and balanced".

  34. anon #108
    anon #108 April 4, 2012 at 6:58 am | |

    …And I'd add that stability and balance aren't incidental aids to 'meditation'.

  35. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 4, 2012 at 7:00 am | |

    then anon 108, you are correct – we don't interpret what Brad and Gudo are saying in the same way.

    If Brad and Gudo are willing to tersely state that "sitting in a chair is not zazen", only to back off to "sitting in a chair is the least stable of zazen positions" when pressed, then Brad and Gudo have a piss-poor way of expressing their thoughts in a clear way.

  36. gniz
    gniz April 4, 2012 at 7:02 am | |

    Brad has said he thinks that sitting full lotus adds stability and that something's a bit "off" with his sitting when he uses a chair or some other position.

    Fine. Fine.

    I don't agree with the way Brad stresses certain aspects of zazen and discounts other things like mindfulness, makes them seem "less than." However it's his experience and his opinion.

    My teacher has sometimes questioned the effectiveness of meditation that doesn't use breath as a focus. That's been his experience, he likes using the breath as an object of meditation, as do I.

    Each of us will find our own method that works for us. We don't need Brad's stamp of approval or anyone else's. I listen to my teacher because I like the way he teaches and I am at home with learning from him, just as Brad is with Gudo.

    If someone tried to tell me that focusing on labeling thoughts was "breath meditation" I wouldn't agree. I think that's what Brad is saying about sitting meditation done in a chair. He's saying it's not zazen because zazen refers specifically to the lotus position, just as downward dog refers to a particular yoga posture.

    That's totally agreeable. There are lots of yoga postures to choose from.

    The fact that Brad only does downward dog and finds that sufficient and wonderful is perfectly okay with me.

  37. anon #108
    anon #108 April 4, 2012 at 7:09 am | |

    (Added to 6.58am)…not in zazen as practised and taught by Dogen.

    May have finished adding.

    Anonymous, time for Brad to clarify what he's saying is he fancies. I know what works for me.

  38. Brad Warner
    Brad Warner April 4, 2012 at 7:26 am | |

    …then what Brad and Gudo are totally suggesting is that the enlightenment of Shakyamuni Buddha *IS* dependent on being able to sit in a "magical pose".

    and

    If Brad and Gudo are willing to tersely state that "sitting in a chair is not zazen", only to back off to "sitting in a chair is the least stable of zazen positions" when pressed, then Brad and Gudo have a piss-poor way of expressing their thoughts in a clear way.

    So you think there's something called Enlightenment and you think I've got it and you think I can show you the way to get it for yourself? And maybe you're mad because you'd rather sit in a chair?

    Or perhaps you think it is important that I must say things that are agreeable to everyone in the world? That I am offering salvation and I ought to make that salvation open to all?

    Or perhaps you've never sat a bit of zazen in your life and you just want to argue about things?

    I'm not certain who I am responding to.

    I must have said this a zillion times but if it is absolutely utterly and completely impossible for you to sit on a cushion and if you really want to do zazen anyhow, then you will find some way that works for you.

    If you don't want to do zazen, don't do it.

    If you want to lazily plop yourself on a chair and call that "zazen," it's fine with me. You won't get my endorsement, though.

    Here's what Gilles Farcet says in his book The Anti-Wisdom Manual: A Practical Guide To Spiritual Bankruptcy in the voice of the "spiritual enemy" who wants to help people ruin their spiritual practice:

    Remembering the importance of poor posture begin by pretending to meditate without seriously worrying about posture. Used to holding your body any which way, do not seize the opportunity of an initiation to meditation in order to change your habits. Have the incoherence to approach the exercise often called sitting without taking the trouble to learn how to sit. Decide right away that the proposed posture, generally with the buttocks on a cushion, crossed legs touching the floor, is too hard for you. Feebly attempt it once, just to say you have tried for appearances sake, then give up at the first twinge of pain. Justify your inability to be asked to make the slightest effort with an argument that stresses the necessity to not abuse oneself, and the absurdity of suffering. Confuse goodwill with complacency, exigency with mistreatment.

    Never take into consideration, even for an instant, that generations of meditators have, for millenniums, taken the trouble to accustom themselves to a traditional posture in order to later reap its benefits. In brief, dont give yourself the slightest chance to find yourself one day at ease in a posture which in itself is a teaching.

  39. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 4, 2012 at 7:35 am | |

    time for Brad to clarify

    and then he does!

    Anon 108 is Brad-man's Bruce Wayne!

  40. Jinzang
    Jinzang April 4, 2012 at 7:49 am | |

    I've been meditating for over thirty years and tried every posture in that time: chair sitting, kneeling, standing, taylor's burmese, half lotus, and lotus. Lotus is the best position, hands down, *if* you can manage it without a lot of pain. Why would I lie to you? I've got nothing to sell. Don't believe me? Fine, go and do what you want. Just don't slander generations of practitioners who made the effort that you are to lazy to make yourself by accusing them of magical thinking.

  41. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 4, 2012 at 8:11 am | |

    Are you saying Brad (aka Dick Grayson) is Robin to Anon 108's Batman?

    Go sit in a chair and shut up.

  42. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 4, 2012 at 8:16 am | |

    What I think is hilarious is how everyone seems to assume That I cannot sit in lotus because "im lazy" or that it's "too hard" or because I am pressing Brad/Gudo on this point – well I *can* sit in lotus and I *do* sit in lotus (though for sesshins, I sit half-lotus alternating legs between each period.)

    But sadly Brad, you clarified nothing by posting. All you did was throw a bunch of questions at me without even addressing my questions.

    Is doing "zazen" dependent on being able to sit in a particular position?
    Yes or No.

    Is sitting zazen equal to "enlightenment" as Dogen teaches?
    Yes or No.

    Is sitting in a chair "zazen"?
    Yes or No.

  43. Zenleo
    Zenleo April 4, 2012 at 8:24 am | |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  44. Zenleo
    Zenleo April 4, 2012 at 8:28 am | |

    uoting Brad's Quote from Reference:

    Never take into consideration, even for an instant, that generations of meditators have, for millenniums, taken the trouble to accustom themselves to a traditional posture in order to later reap its benefits

    Okay I do not have a problem mostly sitting 1/2 Lotus, and I really am not concerned about using a kneeling bench, never have but considered it after some surgery where losing my balance could be disastrous. That being said my only concern about the above quote is:

    Reap it's Benefits?!

    So ultimately Zen is just like any other religion, you do it to obtain although you are constantly told if you are trying to become something or gain something that is not "right thought." All these arguments I read here and elsewhere make me believe that Zen is nothing more than Hippie Catholicism and Brad is the Radical Priest and Mysterion is the Jesuit Priest.
    I think I've heard it referred to as "Stinking of Zen"
    The answer of course is to stop reading this crap, but I want to write a book, what is everyone else's excuse?
    Cheers!
    Dale

  45. Karuna from The Gathering

    Wow! I haven't read all the comments -just the last several and it seems to me quite funny that there is such controversy as to the seated position one takes while meditating! What difference does it make?! It's almost like saying my spirituality is better than yours! Childish!
    I believe if someone is dedicated to their practice, they are receiving benefits from it.

  46. Brad Warner
    Brad Warner April 4, 2012 at 8:34 am | |

    But sadly Brad, you clarified nothing by posting. All you did was throw a bunch of questions at me without even addressing my questions.

    Is doing "zazen" dependent on being able to sit in a particular position?
    Yes or No.

    Is sitting zazen equal to "enlightenment" as Dogen teaches?
    Yes or No.

    Is sitting in a chair "zazen"?
    Yes or No.

    Who is asking?

    Hint: The answer to that question is the answer to the ones you've posed. Unfortunately I cannot supply it, nor can it be limited to yes or no.

  47. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 4, 2012 at 8:53 am | |

    Who is asking?

    Somebody who has no trouble whatsoever sitting a period of zazen in full lotus.

    The answer to that question is the answer to the ones you've posed. Unfortunately I cannot supply it, nor can it be limited to yes or no.

    I believe in ballet, what you have just done is called a "pirouette".

    Look, you had no trouble making a blog posting titled "Sitting in Chairs is Not Zazen, Part One Million and Seven"… you say things like "But I did tell them that sitting in chairs was not zazen. Zazen is a physical practice. To sit in a chair and call it zazen is incorrect. It's not that sitting on a chair will lead you to Satan and cause your eternal soul to burn forever in Hell. It's not evil. It's just not zazen."

    Either stand by what you have said or back away from it – you have been perfectly clear up until now.

  48. Kurd
    Kurd April 4, 2012 at 9:09 am | |

    Smells Like Teen Jundo

  49. Mysterion
    Mysterion April 4, 2012 at 9:21 am | |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  50. anon #108
    anon #108 April 4, 2012 at 9:24 am | |

    Karuna from The Gathering said…
    Wow! I haven't read all the comments -just the last several and it seems to me quite funny that there is such controversy as to the seated position one takes while meditating! What difference does it make?!…I believe if someone is dedicated to their practice, they are receiving benefits from it.

    That's it right there, in bold – the controversy. Read back a little further in the comments.

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