The Indie Go Go campaign we started several weeks ago to fund the establishment of the Angel City Zen Center (Los Angeles means “City of Angels” and the name Zen Center of Los Angeles was already taken) has made $18,348 as of the time I am writing this (Thursday morning around 9am). That’s pretty amazing. As Sally Fields once said, “You like me, you really like me.” And that’s nice.
As incredible as that outpouring of support is, it is far short of our goal of $75,000. We’ve only got a few more days and it is probably safe to say at this point that we are not going to make our goal. We had a meeting last week to discuss alternative plans. We came up with three basic possibilities.
- See if we can rent a small but suitable place. We’ve got enough to rent a one-bedroom apartment for a year, but if we did that the neighbors would probably think we’re a terrorist organization (Mervin, they go in there and stay completely silent for an hour!). Maybe there’s a different type of small space we could get for that amount. If we did so, we’d have to run another campaign to keep it open a further year, but that’s a problem for later.
- Put the money into a Certificate of Deposit and let it earn interest for a year during which time we can work on a campaign to get the rest of our goal.
- Buy Brad a Rickenbacker 4001 and six Ampeg SVT amplifiers then give him the rest of the money in a gift certificate for Amoeba Records.
Actually I think I got that last one wrong. I think it was more like something about putting it towards other Zen-related activities such as sponsored retreats for people who can’t afford them, out-of-town events and stuff like that.
In any case, the money will go to something as close to our original stated intentions as possible. We’ll also give all donors the opportunity to receive a refund of their donation if they don’t think our new plan (which we’ll announce soon after the campaign ends) is something they want to contribute to.
With that in mind, I’m giving the campaign this one final little push on the blog.
I’m also thankful to my ongoing contributors. I’ve had that little donation button thingy on my blog for about three years now. I was pretty skeptical when I put it on there. I don’t like the idea of begging for support. But after I lost my job with Tsuburaya Productions in 2008 I realized the money I get from book royalties and speaking fees could only cover about a third of my annual living expenses — even when I briefly moved back to Ohio. The donation button has been a great success. The $1, $5, $10 and occasionally even larger contributions you subscribers send add up and I can live a pretty OK life as long as I stay relatively frugal. So thank you!
My nephew Ben came down from his swingin’ bachelor pad up in Alhambra to join me for Thanksgiving this year. We’re gonna go to Canter’s deli on Fairfax later and have their Thanksgiving special — although I’ll probably just go for the veggie Rueben like I always do. I’m thankful to get to see him even though he’ll talk both of my ears off while he’s here.
I’m thankful to my little Zen group in Los Angeles for their ongoing support and friendship. I’m also thankful to the many groups who have supported me as I’ve traveled around the world. If I started listing all of them I’m sure I’d end up leaving someone out. But all you folks in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Germany, Finland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Canada, Japan and all across the USA have made it possible for me to do what I do. I’m also thankful to my many readers for reading the stuff I write. I’m thankful to you, dear blog fans, for keeping this blog going.
I’m thankful to my two Zen teachers, Tim McCarthy and Gudo Nishijima for showing me this Zen stuff. I’m glad I met them. They say it’s rare to encounter the dharma even in thousands of lifetimes. I don’t know if that’s literally true. But I do know that out of the billions of people on this planet only a tiny, tiny minority ever manage to meet a true teacher. I don’t know why I’m one of them, but I’m glad I am.
I’m thankful to my parents, Dan and Sandy Warner for making my life possible. My mom has been gone for almost eight years now but Dad is still doing his thing and recovering well from heart surgery earlier this year. I’m glad he’s my dad.
I’m thankful for my sister Stacey who is a freakin’ lawyer for goshsakes. I never coulda studied that hard. Plus she raised two groovy kids, Ben and Sky, who I’m also grateful for.
I hope you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving wherever you are!
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If you want to see a real Soto Zen center happen in Southern California, contribute to our fundraiser to make the Angel City Zen Center come alive! Every little bit helps a lot! Click here to learn more!
I’ve got a new book coming out soon! Stay up to date on its release schedule, my live appearances and more by signing up for our mailing list on the contact page!
April 23, 2016 Long Island, New York Molloy College “Spring Awakening 2016”
October 23-28, 2016 Benediktushof Meditation Centrum (near Würzburg, Germany) 5-Day Retreat
Every Monday at 8pm there’s zazen at Silverlake Yoga Studio 2 located at 2810 Glendale Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90039. Beginners only!
Every Saturday at 9:30 there’s zazen at the Veteran’s Memorial Complex located at 4117 Overland Blvd., Culver City, CA 90230. Beginners only!
Plenty more info is available on the Dogen Sangha Los Angeles website, dsla.info
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Your donations to this blog are still important. I don’t get any of the Angel City Zen Center fundraiser money. I appreciate your on-going support!
Thank you for your blog, your books, and your great sense of humor, Brad.
Happy Thanksgiving from here Zen master Brad!
You’ve said that you don’t mind getting money from your writing, so have you considered setting up a Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/) account in addition to having the donations button on the blog?
Too bad about the campaign, it was a noble goal. I hope you can make something happen with the money you have gathered. I don’t know how it works in the US, but here in Finland apartments are more expensive than business spaces to rent.
Then again I personally kind of like the second option; now that you have some experience running a crowdfunding campaign for this project you could get together a good tour and show etc. to try again in a year.
If I win the lottery tomorrow I’ll buy you a space. If not, I’ll sit and stare at the wall instead.
I second the Patreon idea. A number of creative types have been able to make more money, and spend more time on projects they actually want to work on, with the support of patrons. I’d chip in.
Thanks for being out there encouraging people to sit, Brad, and for writing things that set off such a cavalcade of comments on a regular basis. I appreciate your openness to the many different points of view of your commentators (and I sure do appreciate the camaraderie amongst the regulars, myself).
It was pretty amazing to see the Green Gulch barn full of people on a Thursday at 5am last week, but I believe the majority of them were students, paying students at that. Baker may have had to leave town in a hurry, but he set the S. F. Zen Center up to be self-sustaining, in a lot of ways. Ok, I’m talking through my hat, I have no idea if they are actually self-sustaining, but there sure were a lot of eager students in that barn.
I think the sangha there in L. A. needs a benefactor with a big basement. I’m sure such a person is out there, though they might not be easy to find, and the basement might be on the outskirts of town…
Thank you for your hard work, and for keeping up this blog. The Chogye International Zen Center, where I go to practice, was originally just a studio apartment. After some years, the Zen Center was able to purchase the next-door apartment so that now it is two studio apartments. One is used for the robe room, and two bedrooms for residents; the other is the dharma room (both kitchens are used). That gives enough space for 15-20 people to do practice, although we usually have far fewer.
Thanks for your efforts, Brad, you are a delight of a teacher! Partly that’s because you often add a little tartness in your efforts. That said I want to ask– why don’t you just extend the time for fund raising? It seems like the thing to do– if you have a choice. If you give us more time I am certain more of us will come through to give our support.
I don’t think we’re allowed to extend the campaign. I actually don’t know how it works.
Thank you, Brad. Although others have said this before and probably better, you are a wonderful teacher, and your unique approach allows you to reach many who would otherwise not be receptive to the dharma. I know this was so for me, and I am most grateful.
Man, it would be nice to have a pile of cash. The 1st 709 is the hardest.
Here you go, I just saved you $702!
That’s wonderful John, I’m very greatful brother! $702 is enough money to do a 4 day silent retreat, or keep me deep in dharma text’s and consciousness expanders for 100x that*
You guys are gluttons for punishment. Those entities described in the book are the ultimate pranksters but you probably already know that…
The market has spoken.
The market is always right. Happy Black Friday
I guess the real question is not how much money you can raise, but how much expense can you sustain? Can you and your back’ers afford a full fledge Zen Centre, like a bungalow or such? If not, may be the one bedroom apartment isn’t such a bad idea. Hard to turn your dwelling space into a semi public practice place though.
I’d give the campaigning a break so that you don’t drive ppl insane.
But I would think that living in the same space that you are teaching would either be very good, or very bad. I guess that would depend upon the person.
idk, that’s 2cents more worth to the fund.
Too bad you didn’t have piece of land. Then you could build separate buildings.
“He had by then acquired a secretary, Laxmi Thakarsi Kuruwa, who as his first disciple had taken the name Ma Yoga Laxmi… She raised the money that enabled Osho to stop his travels and settle down. In December 1970, he moved to the Woodlands Apartments in Bombay, where he gave lectures and received visitors, among them his first Western visitors. He now traveled rarely, no longer speaking at open public meetings. In 1971, he adopted the title ‘Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh’“
I don’t know why a one bedroom apartment wouldn’t work. The place I go is a converted two car garage to a private home that doubles as a Buddhist monastery. You have to use what you’ve got. Get the center established and then move on to something bigger and better. You could probably raise more money on an existing center than on one still on paper anyway.
The founder of the ashram was Swami Shivananda, born Kuppuswamy Iyer on 8 September, 1887, in the village of Pattamadai in South India. His father was a government official and devotee of , his mother a pious woman with compassion for the unfortunate. Their son gave his food to beggars and stray animals, was top of the class at school, studied at Tanjore Medical College and practised in Tiruchi. After the death of his father in 1913 he transferred his practice to Malaya for ten years and was in charge of a hospital on a rubber estate. Though he treated the poor free, he dressed well and wore jewellery. Then a wandering sadhu wakened an interest in the spiritual life and he started to study Hindu scriptures and the Bible.
In 1923 he returned to India, gave away his possessions, and spent a year on pilgrimage to the holy places before going to Rishikesh. Here he was initiated by the guru Swami Viswananda Saraswati as Swami Shivananda Saraswati. He lived in a dilapidated hut of the Swarg Ashram, practised an austere life and meditation, and worked as a doctor to look after sick gurus and pilgrims. In 1927 he set up a charitable dispensary from a matured insurance policy and gave packets of useful medicine to pilgrims as they passed the dispensary on their way to Badrinath.
With five rupees given by a visitor, the Swami published a booklet, Brahma-Vidya, Knowledge of God, of his answers to the questions of pilgrims. Other publications followed and his fame spread. He travelled all over India teaching and on his return in 1932 founded the Shivananda Ashram. At first this was an old cow shed he called Ananda Kutir, Abode of Bliss. Disciples gathered and other cow sheds were made habitable.
Thanks so much Brad for this blog and I am grateful to the commentators as they often post things that lead to greater thought on the topic. I was already practicing zazen when my partner gave me Hardcore Zen because he thought I would like it. It really helped reaffirm the reasons I was drawn to sitting and I find your approach to Buddhism insightful and at times necessarily humourous in this blog which is appealing.
Didn’t Gudo work at a department store (and not complain about it)? Why not get a job at Walmart? Or become a plumber or something?
Have you looked at small office spaces? They usually go for less than apartments.
Brad, as a financial advisor by day, i can tell you that you might as well bury the cash in the back yard as invest it in a 1 yr CD. They are paying about .65-.75% right now.
Save the money and try again next year. Then save that money and try again the year after that. Then save…
How did Baker Roshi do the fund raising for SFZC? Surely in L.A. there are one or two fairly well off actors that would give you a few bucks?
The US needs more permanent Zen centers to “legitimize” the practice.
I’m tellin’ ya.
How about a Hardcore Zennabago? It is so majestic that it even has “Majestic” painted on all four sides. That makes it at least four times more majestic than comparably priced recreational vehicles.
What Would Dogen Do?
Wowie! C’est parfait papa!
I like the idea of keeping the money and do other campains until the goal is reached. And until then, well, let’s campain and meditate.
I think if the money is given to other things, it will vanish quite quickly, and somehow the goal was to invest into something long lasting. That being said, if it’s given to zen related things, it’s not really vanished, but yet, doesn’t get that lasting quality i think we long for our contribution.
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