thankyouIt’s April 15th and, as usual, I waited till the last possible day to do my taxes.

For the last few years, ever since I added the donation button to this blog, I have had to go to my PayPal account at tax time and figure out how much I received in the previous year so that I could report that income.

Last year I noticed that I’d received substantially more from donations to this blog than I’d gotten in book royalties. I’m pretty sure I said something on the blog then and thanked you all for contributing.

This year when I added it up I found that my single largest source of income for 2014 came from your donations to this blog. Book royalties were, once again, not even close to enough to live on. The various retreats and things I did in Europe and in a few American cities brought in some cash – just barely more than I spent to get out to those places and live on the road. But even with that added to my book royalties I would not have been able to make my rent.

Yet because of your donations, my income in 2014 inched past burger-flipper/barista level almost to school teacher in rural Nebraska level. That feels really nice. It’s relieved a substantial amount of worry I’ve had over how I can continue to do what I do.

More than any other segment of my audience, it is you folks who read this blog and donate to it that are making it possible for me to continue to write and teach. Most individual donations are around $5 – $10 a month from people who choose to subscribe. But there are enough of those that it’s starting to work out.

I’ll be posting more here in the coming year and striving for better quality in my own work as a way of thanking you for your help. We’re working on repairing that stupid “security warning” some of you are getting when you access the blog. It’s actually completely meaningless but, for reasons I will never comprehend, there’s some kind of technical glitch that continues to make that happen. It doesn’t affect donations at all since donations don’t go through this blog but through PayPal. But we’ll get that fixed, I promise.

Anyway, I’m still not done with my taxes and my appointment’s coming up in a few hours, so I have to make this short.

THANK YOU again for your kind support.

And remember there are still a few open spots of our retreat in a couple weeks. Come out and sit with us!



April 16, 2015 Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA HUMAN LIBRARY EVENT

April 24-26, 2015 Mt. Baldy, CA 3-DAY ZEN & YOGA RETREAT


July 8-12, 2015 Vancouver, BC Canada 5-DAY RETREAT at HOLLYHOCK RETREAT CENTER

August 14-16, 2015 Munich, Germany 3 DAY ZEN RETREAT

August 19, 2015 Munich, Germany LECTURE

August 24-29, 2015 Felsentor, Switzerland 5-DAY RETREAT AT STIFTUNG FELSENTOR 

August 30-September 4, 2015 Holzkirchen, Germany 5-DAY RETREAT AT BENEDIKTUSHOF MONASTERY

September 4, 2015 Hamburg, Germany LECTURE

September 5, 2015 Hamburg, Germany ZEN DAY

September 10-13, 2015 Finland 4-DAY RETREAT

September 16-19, 20015 Hebden Bridge, England 4-DAY RETREAT


Every Monday at 8pm I lead zazen at Silverlake Yoga Studio 2 located at 2810 Glendale Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90039. All are welcome!

Every Saturday at 9:30 am I lead zazen at the Veteran’s Memorial Complex located at 4117 Overland Blvd., Culver City, CA 90230. All are welcome!

Registration is now open for our 3-day Zen & Yoga Retreat at Mt. Baldy Zen Center April 24-26, 2015. CLICK HERE for more info!

Plenty more info is available on the Dogen Sangha Los Angeles website,

*   *   *

Your donations to this blog help out more than you think. Thank you!

80 Responses

Page 1 of 1
  1. Fight Club Wild Andy Jr.
    Fight Club Wild Andy Jr. April 15, 2015 at 9:11 am |

    You really should give us trolls a cut.

  2. blake
    blake April 15, 2015 at 9:45 am |

    I swear one of these days I’m going to sit one of your retreats.

  3. gniz
    gniz April 15, 2015 at 10:49 am |

    I’ve only donated to your blog once, but I’ve always bought your books and even paid for your documentary download. I support your creative work even when I vehemently disagree with your views.

    I’d probably donate more often to the blog if you did a bit more research and actually tried to buttress some of your opinions with better facts and evidence.

    I say this because a) I think you’re a talented writer who can do better and b) I think it’s actually important that the dialog in this world, this country, and this forum improves so that people can start thinking more clearly about issues.

    I’ve been reading your work forever, Brad, and you and I have conversed a bit privately. You know I’m very aware of your work and what you bring to the table.

    Seems to me that you’re very good at writing articles that get people talking, get us thinking and arguing and discussing. But in my opinion, you let us and yourself down by essentially being lazy. You sometimes write off a post and admit you’ve hardly read someone’s work, or only have cursory knowledge of the issue at hand.

    I can’t recall how many times I’ve seen you write the equivalent of, “I’m not really familiar with his work, but I think…” or “I didn’t watch the interview but just from the comments on Facebook I think…” and things of that nature.

    Let’s have some vigorous debate. Use your prodigious talents to get us talking and thinking in ways that actually enlighten people and educate them–not just stooping to easy and facile arguments from ignorance.

    If you actually do that, I reckon you’ll see a lot more money coming through the donation button, at least from me anyway.

  4. Zafu
    Zafu April 15, 2015 at 11:12 am |

    I thought religious folk didn’t have to pay taxes.

  5. Zafu
    Zafu April 15, 2015 at 11:27 am |

    And it looks like your security certificate expired year before last. uses an invalid security certificate.

    The certificate expired on 5/26/13, 6:38 AM. The current time is 4/15/15, 11:25 AM.

    (Error code: sec_error_expired_certificate)

  6. Yoshiyahu
    Yoshiyahu April 15, 2015 at 2:48 pm |

    Don’t start blogging well-researched crap or I’ll stop my monthly contribution! 🙂

    This is a blog. It isn’t a dissertation. I LIKE the conversational tone. I also like the message that you send by sometimes being off-the-cuff: ‘I’m really good at this Soto Zen shit and can teach you about that, but that doesn’t mean I’m an expert on every single fucking thing out there, and I’m not going to pretend to be, or pretend that we have to be perfectly knowledgeable about something before we have opinions we want to share.’

    1. Zafu
      Zafu April 15, 2015 at 3:21 pm |

      I believe the gist of the comment was to the effect that better quality posts would result in better donations, if nothing else. I’ve even made a donation to a Zen blog for a particularly good post, and I’m a cheap bastard.

      1. Yoshiyahu
        Yoshiyahu April 15, 2015 at 6:25 pm |

        Yeah. I get it. It’s a hypothetical. It’s kind of bullshit. No one’s actually committing to contribute if things change as much as idly speculating, perhaps justifying their lack of contribution

    2. senorchupacabra
      senorchupacabra April 16, 2015 at 9:44 am |

      Same here. I like the feel and tone of the blog. If there are any factual issues or anything like that, people in the comments bring it up and it’s addressed one way or another.

  7. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote April 15, 2015 at 3:55 pm |

    I donate sometimes, the comment thread is better than entertainment for me, often. Thanks, everybody.

    Glad you made it this year, Brad. Whatever you’re doing, you must be doing something right, at least for now. Bring us the fun, worry about the rest later!

  8. Shinchan Ohara
    Shinchan Ohara April 15, 2015 at 4:07 pm |

    Hi Brad, I’m a web engineer by trade, and I deal with site certificates all the time. I’ll donate a couple of hours if you like, to look into the issue with the security warning… and either fix it, or at least work out how to.

    Most likely you just need to apply a new cert, like Zafu said. I’ll drop you an email with contact details.

  9. gniz
    gniz April 15, 2015 at 7:00 pm |

    No, I would definitely donate if Brad’s posts were a little more thorough and less seat of his pants stuff.

    You can choose to disregard that as mere conjecture, but I’ve bought Brad’s stuff because I do like his longer form work, as it has more robustness than his blog posts.

    Brad’s free to write as he chooses, but I’m not saying I’d have to agree with him to donate–merely that I get frustrated when he says “I couldn’t be bothered to read an article/watch a TV show/find out the spelling of this dude’s name, but here’s my blog post about why he’s full of shit.”

    Brad is a really, really good write and a very interesting POV, so I think with better information he’d only get better. But maybe I’m wrong.

    1. Fred Jr.
      Fred Jr. April 15, 2015 at 7:08 pm |

      But… what exactly is your point?

    2. Harlan
      Harlan April 15, 2015 at 10:14 pm |

      Gniz, That kind of rings of bullshit. Blogging is not the same thing as writing a great novel. You don’t owe anyone an explanation as to why you don’t choose to donate but.. I’ve been reading you for as long as I have Brad and despite the occasional troll your admiration of him is quite obvious.

      1. gniz
        gniz April 15, 2015 at 11:45 pm |

        I wasn’t saying that Brad should write a great novel with every post.

        My criticisms of Brad are very clear. I believe that he writes on important topics glibly, without even bothering at times to do five minutes (let alone five hours or five days) of basic research into what he’s opining on.

        Yeah, it’s his right. I’m just saying his posts would be way better (imo, of course) if he actually spent some time educating himself on the issues he speaks of.

        No doubt, when it comes to Dogen and Soto Zen, Brad knows his stuff. And I don’t think I’ve often taken him to task on that, other than when he tries to generalize out from there.

        I like that Brad is opinionated and brash and interesting. It’s great, it’s fantastic. I’ll kiss the dude’s ass all day long for being interesting and unique and having a great writing style.

        But I think Brad’s way too smart to simply rely on glib humor and superficial glossing over of issues–everything from mindfulness to racism to gay activism to evolution to atheism to sexual abuse–Brad has often done the bare minimum of study and then made ridiculous articles about these subjects.

        He can choose to be a lazy thinker if that’s what he wants. His writing will still be interesting and funny and I’ll still read his work.

        But I don’t think my criticism of him is off base, and I’m certainly not the first to say it. Research shit before you write opinions about it!

        And then I say I will likely donate more, because the articles will actually be worth paying for (for me anyway).

        1. Fight Club Wild Andy Jr.
          Fight Club Wild Andy Jr. April 16, 2015 at 5:13 am |

          But Gniz, if Brad wrote that way he would probably be held more accountable for his opinions. Not doing research gives him an out.

        2. mika
          mika April 16, 2015 at 12:42 pm |

          I have to say I agree with Gniz here and it’s something that bothers me with any writer, Brad included, when they clearly haven’t done their due diligence (or even the five minutes at google) before posting.

  10. Leah
    Leah April 16, 2015 at 2:22 am |

    When you give a talk at a Zen center (or wherever), people leave a donation, right? That’s what I figure this is. You give a talk–publish a blog post–we should leave a donation, at least once in awhile.

    Glad to see someone offered website help. I handle all my own site stuff, but I’m not hugely advanced, not a super expert or I’d offer too. But yeah, your SSL certificate is handled with your web hosting company. I don’t know why you have one, to tell the truth. But maybe the volunteer will help with that.

    And see if he’ll install share buttons, for heaven’s sake! I’ve been saying that for, like, 3 years or something 🙂 I share posts once in awhile (on Facebook or whatever), and I’m sure some others do, but you’d get a lot more if you’d make it easier for people. And that means more visitors. And more book sales or donations.

    Your writing makes me think and examine my own practice or learn stuff and whatever. And I appreciate that. So thanks 🙂

    1. Yoshiyahu
      Yoshiyahu April 16, 2015 at 9:51 am |

      I agree about the share button. I can share the link Brad posts on FB or Twitter, but that involves my paying attention to FB or Twitter when that link is posted, and often I come to the blog directly, not from those sites.

      The official, fancy word for the donation is ‘dana,’ and the only reason I know is that the info packet for the upcoming retreat talks about it. And I have no idea what’s customary for the retreats, cuz any time anyone asks online they get a very vague ‘donate what you can afford and think the teachings are worth’ answer.

  11. Mumbles
    Mumbles April 16, 2015 at 4:42 am |

    Anybody else see this last Tuesday night? I think it should be aired every year between Thanksgiving and Christmas like they used to do w/ The Wizard of Oz.

  12. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote April 16, 2015 at 8:50 am |

    “You have many contacts among the lumberjacks
    To get you facts when someone attacks your imagination
    But nobody has any respect, anyway they already expect you to all give a check
    To tax-deductible charity organizations”

    (“Ballad of a Thin Man”, Bob Dylan)

    I think the story is that Stonemirror is hosting Brad’s blog for free, and doing the work, and that’s why there’s been an issue with the security certificate for so long.

    Stonemirror? I know nothing about certificates. Brad could certainly add the sharing buttons, I think WordPress Jetpack has that somewhere.

    Gniz, I think you’re right, and you’re wrong. Doing the research doesn’t necessarily enable a person to speak more lucidly on the subject. A lot of the time, I think it might inhibit a person from speaking, as they begin to grapple with what is understood about cause and effect and how much is left to the imagination. Brad just leaps right over the cause and effect and gets on with the “left to the imagination” part right away, and in doing so he provides lots of cud for us comments-section folk to chew on. Baaaa!- er, I mean, Mooo!

    I learned to sit from the illustrations in the back of “Three Pillars of Zen”. My assumption is that there are a fair number of people out there who have tried the practice of sitting after reading Brad’s books, or through his encouragement otherwise. Gassho, Mr. Warner!

    I’m thinking about writing a book myself. Maybe I get Mr. Gniz to go over the basics of E-books again, sometime. I’m getting this notion that maybe the comprehension of the long and short of breath is connected with the “fluid ball” in the abdomen; still a trance phenomena, still the place and things, yet I feel… cold…

  13. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote April 16, 2015 at 8:55 am |
  14. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote April 16, 2015 at 9:07 am |
  15. Shinchan Ohara
    Shinchan Ohara April 16, 2015 at 9:34 am |

    @Mark Foote: I’ll buy your e-book when it comes out. I enjoy what you write in these comments, although I can’t say I always fully understand: which is forgiveable, since you’re mapping out new territory, and bringing in ideas from many sources. Maybe book format could be a better way to develop your arguments than in blog articles/comments?

    @whoever: Here’s how you install an SSL certificate. It’s not simple, and I wouldn’t advise it to anybody who’s not fairly techie… it can’t be done from WordPress, you need root access to the webserver itself, and if you get it wrong it can break the website. I can see why Stonemirror/whoever might be reluctant to mess with it.

    It IS a good idea to have one of these certificates, though. For one thing, it will boost the blog’s ratings on Google. For another thing, it stops commenters’ email addresses or other personal details being read by random third parties when signing up or logging in: that might not be a big deal for most of us, but there could conceivably be people who have good reasons to keep those things private.

  16. Zafu
    Zafu April 16, 2015 at 9:39 am |

    A security certificate is essential for the donate paypal integration, I believe.

    And yeah, share buttons would be a smart addition.

    1. Shinchan Ohara
      Shinchan Ohara April 16, 2015 at 9:53 am |

      SSL isn’t needed for donations: the paypal button takes you off-site to their secure payments page.

      Share buttons can defo be added in wordpress.

      Shit… how did this happen? I come to this blog as an avoidance behavior, to procrastinate doing the website work that pays my bills. And here I am commenting about ssl certificates. Bah! This is more boring than the historicity of Jesus C.

      1. Zafu
        Zafu April 16, 2015 at 10:11 am |

        Right, and I’m no expert, but it’s the connection to the secure paypal payments page that still needs security, I believe.

        1. Leah
          Leah April 16, 2015 at 6:41 pm |

          Maybe I should get the SSL certificate for the reason mentioned above, but PayPal doesn’t require it. I’m pretty sure I could post a link (meant for email) right in this comment for stuff I sell, and it would work. Not going to try but in theory, anyway, I think it should.

          1. Zafu
            Zafu April 17, 2015 at 8:58 am |

            Paypal doesn’t require it of course, but there will still be a security issue, and that makes making a donation less appealing. That’s probably not a good thing for the Bradmister.

  17. Zafu
    Zafu April 16, 2015 at 10:07 am |

    Brad just leaps right over the cause and effect and gets on with the “left to the imagination” part right away, and in doing so he provides lots of cud for us comments-section folk to chew on.
    ~ Mark Foote

    I don’t think it’s accurate to suggest that he leaps over reason. Reasoning requires effort and is generally devalued in religion, and particularly devalued in Zen. If reason were a hurdle that could be leaped over, it would be more like Brad just walks straight into the hurdle, knocks it down, and tromps it into the ground.

    1. Shinchan Ohara
      Shinchan Ohara April 16, 2015 at 10:37 am |

      Tromps. Good word.

      1. Zafu
        Zafu April 16, 2015 at 11:57 am |

        I considered stomps, but that implies more effort.

    2. gniz
      gniz April 16, 2015 at 11:07 am |

      Hey Zafu,

      Not particularly surprising that we agree on such matters.

      I do belief that religion, and Zen also, tries to minimize reason and intellect. In doing so, it allows for sloppy thinking that has little to no evidence behind it.

      Now in the case of religion or personal spirituality, perhaps that is okay–since there’s little evidence to be had in any case.

      But when we move off religion and onto “worldly” matters, we should at least make a cursory attempt to have some working knowledge of what we’re discussing. For instance, if discussing the mindfulness teachings of Jon Kabat-zinn, we might want to have familiarized ourselves with what he teaches.

      Or if we discuss the belief in God vs atheism and advocate that “there is no God and he is always with you” that we’re familiar with Pantheism, which is essentially the same concept and has been discussed in some depth and is not a new idea.

      Understanding the basic issues has some importance in my view, because if we constantly argue from a position of ignorance than we’re no better than the folks who’ve never meditated or tried zen and call it “devil worship” or some such nonsense.

      There’s nothing about reading and information that will hurt or impair Brad’s writing in my opinion. And I don’t imagine that Brad would think so, either.

      1. Mindfulness
        Mindfulness April 16, 2015 at 2:42 pm |

        Maybe find a “better” writer to read? Hard to fix everything out there…

        1. Fred
          Fred April 16, 2015 at 3:43 pm |

          “I do belief that religion, and Zen also, tries to minimize reason and intellect. In doing so, it allows for sloppy thinking that has little to no evidence behind it.”

          It doesn’t minimize reason and intellect; it throws it out the window.

          1. Fred
            Fred April 16, 2015 at 3:57 pm |

            The problem with intellectualizing is that it tries to nail illusions into place. And these illusions give support to a self that is itself an illusion.

            So, a zen master might be trying to pull the rug out from underneath everything that you believe to be true. That certainty is rooted in your intellect.

          2. Zafu
            Zafu April 16, 2015 at 4:10 pm |

            Reason can also free us from our illusions. For example, if you think about it, if everything is an illusion then nothing is an illusion.

  18. Zafu
    Zafu April 16, 2015 at 4:05 pm |

    There’s a difference between minimizing, eliminating, and devaluing. Devaluing best describes the Zen attitude towards reason, I believe. Why? you ask. Well, simply because we all reason generously in our day to day lives, so it’s not a matter of miniaturization or elimination, but merely a matter of what we value more. In the case of religion, meaning matters most. It matters more than reason. It matters more than truth. It even matters more than life in some cases.

    1. Mark Foote
      Mark Foote April 16, 2015 at 8:45 pm |

      (I wonder what Zafu means by that…)

      Returning to the topic of the moment, what Zen does with reason: Zen emphasizes that consciousness is a function of sense, with no sense left out.

      Some Zen teaching seeks to heighten the experience of sense through trance induction by confusion or transderviational search. Permission for the teacher to assist in such an induction is an unspoken given, I’m guessing, in a Rinzai environment.

      Leaving the topic of the moment, SSL certificate set-up looks hella intimidating to me. I wonder if folks get a message like that when they try to register to comment on my site; nope. Maybe that just means my host has such a certificate. I think Stonemirror is running his own server, but I could be wrong.

      1. Shinchan Ohara
        Shinchan Ohara April 17, 2015 at 3:31 am |

        re: topic of the moment… I concur.

        re: O/T … the issue is that this blog already has a certificate, but it’s expired. If a website (like Mark’s) has NO certificate at all, there are no warnings, because the site isn’t claiming to be secure. The warning we see when logging in here just means that because the certificate is out of date, the site may not be as secure as it claims to be. Brad could either remove the certificate altogether, or replace it with a new one, to get rid of the scary warning. It’s easier to just replace it.

      2. Zafu
        Zafu April 17, 2015 at 9:01 am |

        Stonemirror could be using a reseller account.

      3. Mark Foote
        Mark Foote April 17, 2015 at 10:01 am |

        Thanks, guys. I’m an under-assistant, West Coast web-developer man myself, but I’m no so familiar with the things you both mention (I wish I was an under-assistant; actually, I’m just another independent).

        My guess is Stonemirror knows the story. Like to hear the tale in that regard, but we’ll have to ask Brad to get him to tell it. Sometime. That’s if Stonemirror wants to share it.

  19. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote April 16, 2015 at 9:01 pm |

    “Sometimes when you think that you are doing zazen with an imperturbable mind, you ignore the body, but it is also necessary to have the opposite understanding at the same time. Your body is practicing zazen in imperturbability while your mind is moving.”

    (Shunryu Suzuki, Sunday June 28 1970, from “Whole-Body Zazen)

  20. anon 108
    anon 108 April 17, 2015 at 2:30 am |

    Brad’s teacher, Gudo Nishijima, (also) felt there was too much sloppy thinking* and contrived mystery in and around Zen.

    Nishijima was, apparently, a man of an intellectual bent, who liked to read lots of Western Philosophy. Hence his “Three Philosophies, One Reality” model/theory. Hence also his insistence that koans are not arcane oriental riddles designed to beak the bonds of rational thinking, but simple stories, structured and with discernable meaning:

    But while Nishijima very much valued rational thinking, he stopped short of saying that reality could be fully grasped by the intellect. Ultimately, reality is beyong intellectual understanding. That’s what he said.

    I don’t have very much money and have never donated to Brad’s blog. I’m not sure I would if I were well-off. I appreciate the blog, but… Maybe blog donating is a USA thing, or a young person’s thing, or a generous person’s thing. Whatever it is, it doesn’t seem appropriate to me. I’m happy for Brad that some of you do donate. I sometimes give money to street beggars.

    I have lots of prejudices, racial and other.

    *I don’t think Brad is a sloppy thinker.

    1. anon 108
      anon 108 April 17, 2015 at 2:36 am |

      Forgot… Thank YOU, Brad.

    2. Zafu
      Zafu April 17, 2015 at 9:04 am |

      Maybe blog donating is a USA thing

      No, it’s just that Brits are cheap.

  21. Shinchan Ohara
    Shinchan Ohara April 17, 2015 at 4:13 am |

    re: “Zen devalues reason”

    Does it? Really? Give me an example of something said or done by a recognized figure from Zen’s history that supports that. I think you’ll struggle to find one.

    I view this idea that Zen is anti-rational as just a false stereotype formed by western people who were beginning to hear about Zen. It started out from the general orientalist prejudice that European and American culture was logical, while Asia ran on mystical intuition. Then people started to hear about old koan cases – and not knowing the allusions and symbolism involved, they assumed that koans were trans-rational mumbo jumbo. Then came the Zen boom of the 60s and 70s, when any hack could write a bestseller called “The Zen of [insert topic]”, as long is it played up to those stereotypes.

    Without any doubt, Zen favours practice over philosophical analysis: but that’s not the same thing as rejecting reason. Definitely, Zen didn’t suffer from the dualism of mediaeval Christianity, that devalues the body in favour of the soul – or from the the more modern Cartesian view that says “I think therefore I am: therefore my thinking is what I am”. But neither of those western views is essential to reason.

    Am I wrong?

    1. Fred Jr.
      Fred Jr. April 17, 2015 at 4:59 am |

      The Master said to me: All the Buddhas and all sentient beings are nothing but the One Mind, beside which nothing exists. This Mind, which is without beginning, is unborn and indestructible. It is not green nor yellow, and has neither form nor appearance. It does not belong to the categories of things which exist or do not exist, nor can it be thought of in terms of new or old. It is neither long nor short, big nor small, for it transcends all limits, measure, names, traces and comparisons. It is that which you see before you — begin to reason about it and you at once fall into error. It is like the boundless void which cannot be fathomed or measured. The One Mind alone is the Buddha, and there is no distinction between the Buddha and sentient things, but that sentient beings are attached to forms and so seek externally for Buddhahood. By their very seeking they lose it, for that is using the Buddha to seek for the Buddha and using mind to grasp Mind. Even though they do their utmost for a full aeon, they will not be able to attain it. They do not know that, if they put a stop to conceptual thought and forget their anxiety, the Buddha will appear before them, for this Mind is the Buddha and the Buddha is all living beings. It is not the less for being manifested in ordinary beings, nor is it greater for being manifest in the Buddhas.

      ~ Huang Po

      1. Fred Jr.
        Fred Jr. April 17, 2015 at 5:00 am |

        begin to reason about it and you at once fall into error.

        1. Shinchan Ohara
          Shinchan Ohara April 17, 2015 at 5:45 am |

          That’s a very reasonable, reasoned statement there from Huang Po.

    2. Zafu
      Zafu April 17, 2015 at 9:50 am |

      Am I wrong?

      Of course.

      I’ll just re-comment what I commented:

      There’s a difference between minimizing, eliminating, and devaluing. Devaluing best describes the Zen attitude towards reason, I believe. Why? you ask. Well, simply because we all reason generously in our day to day lives, so it’s not a matter of miniaturization or elimination, but merely a matter of what we value more. In the case of religion, meaning matters most. It matters more than reason. It matters more than truth. It even matters more than life in some cases.
      ~ Zafu (the awesome)

      Religion values meaning more than reason. That doesn’t mean that religions are “anti-rational.” Religions exists to provide meaning, so it’s perfectly appropriate that they should value meaning over reason. It’s even perfectly appropriate that they value meaning over truth.

  22. Fred
    Fred April 17, 2015 at 4:49 am |

    Yes, you are

    1. Fred
      Fred April 17, 2015 at 4:51 am |

      There is no I that is aming its wrongness.

      1. Fred Jr.
        Fred Jr. April 17, 2015 at 4:57 am |

        Who sez?

        1. Fred
          Fred April 17, 2015 at 5:06 am |

          Your mom. Now get to bed.

          1. Fight Club Wild Andy Jr.
            Fight Club Wild Andy Jr. April 17, 2015 at 12:24 pm |

            Haha… Wouldn’t it be easier if there was one superego that we are all aspects of

    2. Shinchan Ohara
      Shinchan Ohara April 17, 2015 at 5:45 am |

      OK, thanks for clearing that up.

  23. anon 108
    anon 108 April 17, 2015 at 5:08 am |

    Re: re “Zen devalues reason” – I didn’t say that, but I did say that Nishijima “felt there was too much sloppy thinking and contrived mystery in and around Zen.”(Never met him. Never heard him say it.)

    Shinchan, I agree with your summary of Western stereotypes of the East and how they informed the West’s reception of Zen. Given that the West’s first significant encounter was with the Rinzai school via DT Suzuki (wasn’t it?), it’s not surprising that those stereotypes were confirmed. The Rinzai school’s use of koan/hua-tou* introspection and sanzen/dokusan to break through discursive reasoning to kensho or satori suggests that reason is not valued nearly so highly as, say, preconceptual intuition and/or action. That approach – which you could say devalues reason – goes back a few centuries and is not exclusive to Rinzai Zen. It’s a Japanese thing. No?

    – Cobbled together from 3 or 4 books, a couple of online sources, general impressions and no experience.

    * “Hua Tou can be translated as ‘word head’, ‘head of speech’ or ‘point beyond which speech exhausts itself’ (Wiki)

    1. Shinchan Ohara
      Shinchan Ohara April 17, 2015 at 6:35 am |

      “Zen devalues reason”… I was paraphrasing Zafu’s comment rather than your own when I wrote that, anon 108.

      I agree that reasoning has a place in Soto-style Zen – that’s clear in what I’ve read from Nishijima and various others as far back as Dogen, and in what I’ve taken from the few direct interactions I’ve had with Soto teachers.

      However, I think it could also be misleading to say that reason is ‘de-valued’ in Rinzai-style koan-Zen (of which I have only a little experience). Yes, as you say, “reason is not valued nearly so highly as, say, preconceptual intuition and/or action” … that’s true of any flavour of Zen Buddhism. But a lot of people seem to jump from there to “Zen completely dispenses with discursive or conceptual thought: it’s a kind of crazy wisdom that permits people to do or say anything, no matter how surreal/bizarre/amoral/false”. There’s the rub.

      I can go along with “Zen de-values reason”, in the sense that conceptual thought is not seen as the path to awakening, that attachment to opinions can be a block to progress, that being ‘stuck in the head’ prevents full participation in the reality of the present moment, and so on. But if ‘de-values’ means not giving reason a level of importance that it deserves, or rejecting reason outright, I don’t see it. I don’t see anything in Zen that’s anti-intellectual or irrational.

      A clinical psychologist might practice hypnotism, to help a patient move beyond thought-forms that trap them in unhappiness. Or a psychotherapist might use physical exercises to help her client get in touch with emotions or bodily sensations that are being blocked by obsessive cogitation. We don’t say that psychology de-values reason: so why say it about Zen?

      1. anon 108
        anon 108 April 17, 2015 at 7:04 am |

        I knew you’d paraphrased Zafu, but I took it upon myself…

        Off out into the big wide for a spell. Catch you later!

        1. anon 108
          anon 108 April 17, 2015 at 7:05 am |

          And yes.

      2. Zafu
        Zafu April 17, 2015 at 10:02 am |

        We don’t say that psychology de-values reason: so why say it about Zen?

        Well, for starters, psychology is a science and Zen is a religion.

        1. Fred
          Fred April 17, 2015 at 1:02 pm |

          Psychology is not a science, and Zen is not a religion.

          1. Zafu
            Zafu April 17, 2015 at 2:26 pm |

            Oh right, I forgot that psychology is not a scientific study but an artistic study. Silly me. But art devalue reason so your wrong, again. 🙁

            I would ask that you explain your reasoning that Zen in not a religion, but you’re religious and devalue reason, so there’s no point… and that proves the point. Yay! 🙂

    2. Zafu
      Zafu April 17, 2015 at 9:56 am |

      It’s a Japanese thing. No?

      No, it’s a religion thing.

  24. Jinzang
    Jinzang April 17, 2015 at 11:25 am |

    Well, since reason is deductive, it can only tell you what you already knew. It just juggles the parts around. Reason always looks backwards, it can never can discover what is new. Jiddhu Krishnamurti is good at explaining this.

    1. Zafu
      Zafu April 17, 2015 at 12:01 pm |

      Reason is the capacity for consciously making sense of things, applying logic, establishing and verifying facts, and changing or justifying practices, institutions, and beliefs based on new or existing information. It is closely associated with such characteristically human activities as philosophy, science, language, mathematics, and art and is normally considered to be a definitive characteristic of human nature. The concept of reason is sometimes referred to as rationality and sometimes as discursive reason, in opposition to intuitive reason. Zen of course favors intuition. Does intuition work with what is already known? Yes. Does intuition just juggle the parts around? Yes, the difference is that intuition juggles unconsciously.

      Rationality helps correct false intuitions, by the way.

      1. Jinzang
        Jinzang April 17, 2015 at 12:53 pm |

        It’s also possible to see things fresh, without any conceptual overlay. In fact, that’s the point of meditation practice. At least according to how I understand it.

        I’m not saying reason is wrong, but you need to understand what it’s good for and what it isn’t.

        1. Zafu
          Zafu April 17, 2015 at 1:20 pm |

          It would be interesting to hear the reason that reason is wrong, if you were saying that, but you’re not. I’m not saying that intuition is wrong, but it’s good to know what it’s good for, what it’s not good for, and it’s limitations.

      2. Fred
        Fred April 17, 2015 at 1:05 pm |

        Reason is just more spin from the cultural heritage; it isn’t direct seeing.

  25. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote April 17, 2015 at 11:30 am |

    Zafu, what is the significance of “religions exists to provide meaning” in your practice? Is that about being a lamp onto yourself, so to speak? Or were you just commenting on the meaning-maker of this blog, and why folks chime in to affirm his vision?

    You know, Zafu, the fate of those who lack vision:

    1. Zafu
      Zafu April 17, 2015 at 1:36 pm |

      Hard to see, the dark side is.

  26. Michel
    Michel April 17, 2015 at 12:22 pm |

    I have more than once reminded readers that the Middle Ages were not really dualist. Dualism came back with the Renaissance and the revival of the philosophical principles of Ancient Greece through the antagonism between Aristoteles and Plato. (As well as a return to slavery that Christianity had managed to almost totally eliminate).

    Medieval scholastics would, as Dante Alighieri put it in two letters, try to see things according to FOUR different points of view. One being, grosso modo, materialist, the other idealist, the third kinesthetic, and the fourth kind of poetic.
    I don’t remember the exact terms used by Dante, but it does seem that Medieval Scholastic did not content itself of only 2 points of view.
    Their problem was the God concept. Everything in medieval Scholastic revolved around the G concept, and that means that, by the end, they were turning round and round. Which is the reason why Petrarch and others would eventually make it derail into something else.

    1. Fred
      Fred April 17, 2015 at 1:00 pm |

      “. The Rinzai school’s use of koan/hua-tou* introspection and sanzen/dokusan to break through discursive reasoning to kensho or satori suggests that reason is not valued nearly so highly as, say, preconceptual intuition and/or action. That approach — which you could say devalues reason — goes back a few centuries and is not exclusive to Rinzai Zen. It’s a Japanese thing. No?”

      It’s an enlightenment thing.

  27. The Grand Canyon
    The Grand Canyon April 17, 2015 at 4:27 pm |

    “As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool returns to his folly.”
    Proverbs 26:11

  28. Shamany
    Shamany April 18, 2015 at 5:29 am |

    Anytime Brad asks for donations I freak out. After calming down I realize I am fine with it ( not like it matters what I think ) because he is honest and makes reasonable requests. I am so sick of Christian pastors and their money scam any request for money sends a chill up my back.

    I did live in a monastery where the monks and abbot lived very frugal lives but they did have everything provided. What is food, clothes, shelter, health and transportation worth? But my one teacher could have been making serious money in the outside world.

    I have my money philosophy down to a science and I know exactly what I need and what I have in excess. I also know exactly how hard I have to work to make that income. I am about as simple as a monk and I do live like one.

    All that being said, I am just saying for me spiritual teachers should stay within a reasonable income. Perhaps a single guy living in L.A. $50,000 or less? Again, not like it is my business or if I really care. I just love to see how others view issues such as money

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