The Newly Mindful Anderson Cooper

ccmindfulness1920My friend Valerie sent me a link to an on-line story called The Newly Mindful Anderson Cooper. If you’re one of my many readers outside of the US you’re probably as clueless as me about Anderson Cooper, since I don’t watch TV unless I’m visiting someone who has one switched on and I can’t get them to switch it off.

I’m passingly aware that Anderson Cooper is a massively popular American TV guy. I think maybe he hosts a news program. He’s not an actor. I know that much. I also think maybe he’s gay and that his coming out was a big deal. But I’m not really certain and I don’t feel like Googling it.

That’s because I already know what I need to know. And that is that Anderson Cooper is a phenomenally popular TV guy in America and now he’s talking about mindfulness. So he is yet one more fabulously popular American TV guy who is into mindfulness. Usually popular TV guys in the US are into mindlessness. So I guess that’s a step forward.

When I clicked on the link to the story about Cooper, the version I got was sponsored by Viagra, which is a pill that’s supposed to make middle-aged men get erections like 16 year old boys. I don’t know if the gods of the Internet magically made it so that my version got the Viagra ad because they got my age and gender from Facebook or if everybody who clicks on the link gets the same ad.

So when I watched this piece, halfway through it there appeared on my screen an attractive woman in her late thirties or early forties telling me that sometimes instead of curling up with a good book, a gal wants to curl up with a good man. But, she said, about 50% of men over 40 sometimes have erectile dysfunction. Viagra, she told me, would fix that. And she cheerfully reminded me that I only had to take it when I needed it. Then she told me that it might make me die or get a boner that lasted more than four hours for which I’d have to get someone to take me to the emergency room with a massive woody jutting out in front of me.

This same ad then repeated itself at the end of the piece. It fascinated me so much I let it play through again.

Listen, attractive lady! My equipment still works just as well as it did when I was twenty-five. Better! Because I have a clue what to do with it these days. And yet you have succeeded, attractive lady, in making me uptight about it so that the next time I have an off night I’ll be thinking, “Oh God. What if I do need Viagra to get it up? What if the attractive lady in her late thirties or early forties was right? It never happened before but what if it’s starting now?”

If that attractive lady can get me to think about Viagra, maybe handsome Anderson Cooper, successful media personality, can get America to think about mindfulness. Maybe pretty soon Viagra customers and potential Viagra customers and the attractive ladies (or men in Anderson’s case, if I was right about his gay-ness) who love them will all want to try out some mindfulness to go along with their Viagra and their potentially deadly four-hour erections. And wouldn’t that be just great!

Anderson Cooper interviewed Jon Kabbit Zinn, whose name I refuse to look up the proper spelling of even though it would only take a couple seconds, just like it would to confirm whether or not Anderson Cooper is gay or has a news program because FUCK YOU INTERNET! And FUCK YOU 21st CENTURY CONVENIENCE! FUCK YOUR INTOLERANCE OF ANYONE WHO DOESN’T IMMEDIATELY KNOW THE FULL STORY ON EVERY POP CULTURE MEME! I didn’t even know Green Day was being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Green Day can get inducted, but killer cops can’t get indicted. What the hell kind of world is this anyway?

So Anderson Cooper’s life was changed by mindfulness. And Jon Cabbage Zen-Master got another couple of minutes in front of America. And no one is worth listening to unless Anderson Cooper has interviewed them on the fucking Internet. And mindfulness must be good because fucking Ander-fucking-son Coo-fucking-per went on a retreat and it changed his white, successful, TV person life.

And I’m going to be roasted over the coals by fifteen commenters to this blog piece (just wait a couple days and scroll down) because I did not praise this event to the heavens and thank the Lords of Mindfulness that Jon Cleavage Zipperhead is leading the masses to the True Way of Commercialized Viagra Swilling Meditation for the Upper Middle Classes.

And the same day — the very same day — some Taliban fuck-nuts go and shoot up a school. Probably because God told them to do it.

God can suck my dick.

And I won’t even need a dose of Viagra. Take that, attractive lady in her mid-thirties or early forties!

So yeah. Whatever. Anderson Cooper is into mindfulness now. Hoorah.

And hashtagging will save the planet. And love is all you need.

And my point is, I DON’T HAVE A FUCKING POINT. Not everything has a fucking POINT. Not everything has to have a fucking point.

You probably don’t need Viagra. You probably just need to stop watching TV commercials that make you so nervous that you lose your boner and end up thinking you need Viagra. And maybe we should all lose our boners until such time as fuck-nuts stop slaughtering children in schools.

What does it mean when Viagra is trying to sell us mindfulness? Who is profiting? That’s what I’m curious about. Obviously Jon Crabmeat Zit is gonna get 30-bazillion more sign-ups to his next mindfulness retreat as a result of this coverage. Maybe one guy will show up to a class of mine because Jon Cumberbund Zed’s thing down the street was full up. It’s trickle down mindful-nomics.

I’m not mad. Not really. It’s funny and it’s tragic and it’s stupid and I want to laugh and puke until I cry, that’s all. I’m just filtering that and giving you this little piece of zentertainment to chew on.

I love you.

*   *   *

Thank you to everyone who participated and helped out with the retreat at Mt. Baldy recently! Without you, it doesn’t happen. In case you missed that one, you can now sign up for the next one April 24-26, 2015.

*   *   *

Your donations are always appreciated! Like I’m gonna get anything after writing a piece like that one…


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216 Responses

Page 2 of 2
  1. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 18, 2014 at 8:11 pm |

    Ah, this is different- the Eberly Brothers, twisting me from the background!

    Marin, home of Alan Watts, Stewart Brand, David Crosby, Robin Williams.

    I’m currently across the bay, just north of Berkeley. An unfinished superfund cleanup between me and Marin. Saw Watts at the Unitarian church on Van Ness in the 60’s, and again at UC Santa Cruz in the early seventies (I believe it was).

    “I said to him, ‘Master, how does a person see a vision, with the soul or with the spirit?’”

    Ah, Mary, Mary, Mary. Marin has a place for you!

    1. minkfoot
      minkfoot December 18, 2014 at 8:37 pm |

      Ah! But my old girl friend Marian, the personification of the ’60s, lived in Berkeley!

  2. Leah
    Leah December 18, 2014 at 9:28 pm |

    Best article yet. 😀 I used to watch TV once in awhile in the 90s or so/early 2000s whatever and thought Anderson Cooper was seriously hot. He’s still on CNN last I looked (I go to the website once in awhile).

    I think the spread of mindfulness is a good thing. If people would be more mindful while driving, for example, we wouldn’t have so many accidents. Heck, if Taliban folks and whatever other crazy people were more mindful they might not be doing what they do. I mean, they’re on freakin autopilot just like most other people, doing whatever they were programmed/taught/socially conditioned/raised to do.

    And then some will get more interested and get more serious, like really sit and so on. This is social change. That’s how it works. Back in the 70s when I was a kid, organic stuff and the anti-margarine/trans fat trend was known by only a few (my parents, my older hippy sister etc. were in on it so that’s how I grew up). Now it’s huge. And a good thing to fight back against pesticides and all that awful nasty stuff.

    I did roll my eyes a little with the ads about Anderson Cooper scheduled to do whatever he did on TV–I forget where I saw them.

    Also, if you didn’t require login for comments here, most of the spam you’d get would probably be for Viagra. I also think it’s ridiculous–big Pharma sucks. The marketing is just nasty for all of it–anti-depressants/antianxiety meds are the worst. A lot of it is great, glad we have the medication we have for when we really need it, but the profit motive vs damage to our bodies/psyches is just awful. That’s where the “war on drugs” needs to be.

    Thanks for the laugh.

  3. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 18, 2014 at 10:41 pm |

    Marian’s favorite (just kidding, minkfoot!):

    1. minkfoot
      minkfoot December 19, 2014 at 6:22 am |

      Man, that brings back memories! Watching her plant and weed in her backyard, high in the Berkeley afternoon sun, Fahey stringing his notes on the turntable, bees buzzin’, friends with more reefer and interesting pills dropping by to pick up orders from the food co-op. “Maybe tomorrow I’ll get up early enough to make it to the Zendo . . .”

    2. minkfoot
      minkfoot December 19, 2014 at 6:26 am |

      Marian died about a year ago. Brain tumor, I hear. She went easy, sleeping more and more. Namu Jizo Bosa.

      1. Fred
        Fred December 19, 2014 at 11:47 am |

        Mariam Derby?

      2. minkfoot
        minkfoot December 19, 2014 at 2:12 pm |

        Derby? As in Derby Line, where my P.O. is? Is Mariam a typo?

        1. Fred
          Fred December 19, 2014 at 2:30 pm |

          Yes. Marian Derby?

      3. minkfoot
        minkfoot December 19, 2014 at 3:41 pm |

        Not my Marian, Fred. Who is she?

        1. Fred
          Fred December 19, 2014 at 4:03 pm |

          She wrote The Zen Environment and lived in California.

      4. minkfoot
        minkfoot December 20, 2014 at 5:53 am |

        Read the page at Amazon. I am surprised to have never heard of it and her.

  4. anon 108
    anon 108 December 19, 2014 at 2:42 am |

    Wedged wrote: “Just sit…the rest will come.”

    If I recall correctly, the very first question I asked my Zen/Buddhism teacher was along the lines of “Is there one particular thing I should know that will help me with this ‘just sitting’?” “The posture is important,” he replied. “So if I get the posture right* the rest will come?” “The rest will go,” he said.

    * with apologies to Mike Cross

    1. Wedged
      Wedged December 19, 2014 at 6:00 pm |

      ahhhh…Zen semantics. never the less you’re right, peeling back the onion layer. However, i stick to my point that if you sit, this shit just happens. If you don’t sit, then it’s all mental games. that, is my experience…even the most gentle Shambhala book adds at every opportunity “sit, that is the only way”. being mindful minus the sitting isn’t “mindfulness”…it’s just “paying attention”. Like teaching someone with no empathy how to be empathetic.

      I felt that virtual bamboo whack across my back though haha…the devil is in the details.

  5. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 19, 2014 at 12:47 pm |

    Hey anon 108, did you see my link to the SVT video?- nice bass work from Jack Cassady (you might have to log in to see page 1 of the comments thread- Brad’s blog is weird that way).

    Berkeley afternoon sun, especially in the hills- El Cerrito & Albany too. I walked by three deer next to the Sunset Masoleum the other day; looked in the front windows at the marble floors and high ceiling, proceeded on up to the top of the hill to Kensington downtown (5 stores and a gas station up in the hills).

    Look, a review on Yelp:

    “Hauntingly beautiful place. Tall ceilings, lots of light, giant potted plants, eery opera music and even a library nook with a comfy old couch and a fireplace.”

    1. anon 108
      anon 108 December 19, 2014 at 2:20 pm |

      Mark, I did see the link and listened to some of it. SVT are not really my thing… Pre-punk Jack I continue to love a lot, though.

  6. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 19, 2014 at 1:00 pm |

    Let’s be mindful of the dead.

    Also, mindful of the season.

    Let’s be mindful of the season and the Dead?

    1. anon 108
      anon 108 December 19, 2014 at 2:24 pm |

      He’s good, too. All dressed up for the telly, look! Shirts ironed!

  7. Shinchan Ohara
    Shinchan Ohara December 19, 2014 at 5:02 pm |

    Brad, that was a really enjoyable post to read. I nearly pissed myself laughing at your honest appraisal of stuff.

    But you need to sort out the comments system on your blog. Once there are enough comments for the paging system to kick in, the first page of comments becomes inaccessible. At the moment I can see page 2 of 2, but when I click the arrow to go to page 1 of 2 there is only 1 comment on it. All the hard typing of the early commenters has been erased from the universe. Which sucks.

    1. Shinchan Ohara
      Shinchan Ohara December 20, 2014 at 7:55 am |

      ok, my mistake, you can see all of the comments while you’re logged in.

  8. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 19, 2014 at 5:09 pm |

    Ok, anon 108, I can’t fault your taste, having heard your sparkling rendition of my S. Robinson favorites.

    Jack was pretty good with Jimi, too, wasn’t he?

    Meanwhile back at the zendo, the mindfulness was so thick, but you could still cut it with the kyosaku- everyone snug on their zafus, while visions of non-thinking danced in their heads. Mamma in her black robes, and I in my ‘civies, had just settled in for some serious ‘taza, when out on the hisashi there arose such a clatter…

    “Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;–
    ’Tis the wind and nothing more!”

    Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
    In there stepped a stately Roshi of the saintly days of yore;
    Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;”

    “…He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
    And whacked all the mo’ les; then turned with a jerk,
    And laying his finger aside of his nose,
    And giving a nod, like a daiosho he rose;”

    But I heard him exclaim, ere he bowed out of sight–
    “Mindfulness for all, and for all a good night!”

  9. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 19, 2014 at 5:10 pm |


    1. Shinchan Ohara
      Shinchan Ohara December 19, 2014 at 6:03 pm |

      Don’t apologise, there’s not a dry eye in the house. 🙂

  10. Shinchan Ohara
    Shinchan Ohara December 19, 2014 at 5:57 pm |

    I just followed the link to the Anderson Cooper vid. I’m not American, so never saw the guy before. But I did get the viagra ad before it. The lady who told me about viagra was hotter than the sun and I’m glad to have seen her strutting along the beach in her sarong. The subtitle about “viagra does not prevent HIV” was also informative and amusing.

    I think Americans should be proud of the openness in their culture. Europeans layer everything with sarcasm, irony and knowing glances, and keep everything in its place. America allows sex drugs to co-mingle with mindfulness, as if it’s completely natural. European zen people keep a silence about social issues, which they think is noble, but is often chickenshit: Brad lets it all hang out.

    God bless America, for giving the world the koan of koans – objects in the mirror may be closer than they appear.

  11. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 19, 2014 at 7:34 pm |


  12. IuseComputers
    IuseComputers December 20, 2014 at 4:58 am |

    I think someone might have said it earlier in the comments (and Shinchan Ohara pointed out is not easy to access those comments now) but seriously get Adblock Plus! It is a simple Firefox add on, takes five minutes to install and blocks pretty much all ads.

    It is silly that people watch ads before every four minute YouTube video. That is worse than the boob tube ad rate and it wasn’t always that way. Install Adblock Plus and never watch a YouTube ad again.

  13. fregas
    fregas December 20, 2014 at 7:19 am |

    I read the article. It wasn’t bad. I think its fine that he’s doing meditation and mindfulness. Not sure what you’re upset about but I appreciate your honest rage. 🙂

    1. Fred
      Fred December 20, 2014 at 8:20 am |

      “America allows sex drugs to co-mingle with mindfulness, as if it’s completely natural.”

      Yeah, were having mindful sex on ketamine and acid. Not.

      1. Shinchan Ohara
        Shinchan Ohara December 20, 2014 at 8:43 am |

        viagra is a sex-drug. ket and acid don’t help with sex, or with mindfulness (in my experience). I hear you on that one Fred.

        I should have said “American public discourse allows sex-drugs and mindfulness to co-mingle…”

        I’m surprised nobody has mentioned tantric copulation on this thread yet. Or the aged Tibetan lamas who get a new young nun as ‘attendant’ every two years.

        1. Fred
          Fred December 20, 2014 at 8:55 am |

          Is that tantric copulation without orgasm, because Lama Christie
          said maybe he wasn’t, but I sure was.

          1. Shinchan Ohara
            Shinchan Ohara December 20, 2014 at 9:16 am |


        2. Leah
          Leah December 22, 2014 at 1:28 am |

          I get what you’re saying about the differences between American and (some) European cultures (not like it’s one country, you know. I mean the Swedes are totally different from the Germans, as anyone who knows both Germans and Swedes can attest). And the French are pretty much crazy. So are the Dutch–at least as crazy as Americans. At least in my experience. And having been married to a German definitely counts for experience.

          “I should have said “American public discourse allows sex-drugs and mindfulness to co-mingle…”

          At first I was nodding in agreement. But guess what? We don’t have a choice unless we’re willing to stage some sort of enormous protest or write letters to lawmakers and go through all sorts of stuff. Pharmaceutical companies here reign supreme. I’ve even heard they have influence over motorcycle helmet laws–not sure if it’s true, but they allegedly work toward making helmets not required in various states because you’re more likely to be killed than just mangled up if you don’t wear a helmet. That way, the payouts are lower.

          Of course we’re allowing it, but who knows how to not allow it? I don’t.

          1. Shinchan Ohara
            Shinchan Ohara December 22, 2014 at 5:12 pm |

            Sure, sure. I was thinking that Americans have constitutional free speech, and take it seriously. A lot of other ‘western democracies’ don’t.

            I suppose it counts for less when the rich can shout loudest in the media.

        3. Leah
          Leah December 22, 2014 at 11:39 pm |

          True. You can shout and complain all day with constitutional free speech, but it doesn’t really matter unless you have the ear of someone who can make a change or you have the money. And when huge corporations are footing the bill for politicians’ election campaigns and whatever else, fat chance taking down Viagra ads (if you wanted to).

          Not like we don’t make changes by speaking up. We do–of course. But easier said than done.

      2. Fred
        Fred December 20, 2014 at 8:48 am |

        sung to Up from the Sky – Hendrix

        I just want to talk to you.
        I won’t uh, do you no harm,
        What’s this talk about
        Mescaline mindfulness
        on this
        here people farm.

        Banging you baby
        Baby you can
        Taste my charms

        Melloton – Brad Warner
        Bass – 108
        Rhythm guitar – Mark
        Lead guitar and vocals – Mumbles
        Drummer -?

        1. Fred
          Fred December 20, 2014 at 9:15 am |

          The above band is called Brad Warner and the Zenfuckers

          Talent from Mississauga

  14. Mumbles
    Mumbles December 20, 2014 at 9:26 am |

    Hahaha Fred!

    Check this out:

    1. Fred
      Fred December 20, 2014 at 9:33 am |

      John, I played that about 6 times yesterday

  15. Mumbles
    Mumbles December 20, 2014 at 10:25 am |

    Fred, I’m flattered. That was a long time ago. Curiously, all I’ve asked for this Christmas is a new pair of red socks!

    Now, you guitar aficionados out there, what Kind of guitar am I playing in that vid?

  16. Shinchan Ohara
    Shinchan Ohara December 20, 2014 at 10:26 am |

    punk killed rock n roll, buddhism brought it back…

    It concerns me a bit when Brad complains about the starry eyed look in the eyes of people he meets. Sure, from his perspective, he’s just some guy who meditates, but if you write books on zen, people are going to project all sorts of guru nonsense onto you… just telling people not to see you that way could be a form of denial.

    I’m sure psychotherapists see the starry-eyed seeker look every day, and they’re trained in how to respond. In the language of Jung and Joseph Campbell, as soon as you put on a zen robe, people will naturally identify you with the shaman archetype, and expect you to magically make up for love and security that they missed out on during their early development. They’ll surrender all their power and critical judgement to you, in exchange for whatever they guess ‘enlightenment’ is.

    It’s going to happen: but if the person involuntarily treated as a shaman knows how to handle it skilfully, and is mature enough not to exploit the situation for his own gratification, a lot of good can result. Accepting the teacher role while maintaining humility is a big test of wisdom and compassion.

    When the ‘student’ can eventually diss the ‘teacher’, spiritual adolescence is reached. When their is just ordinary respect between them, that’s some adult zen.

  17. Shinchan Ohara
    Shinchan Ohara December 20, 2014 at 10:46 am |

    … from what I know of Brad, he does a good job of keeping it real. Just suggesting that lots of people are unconsciously looking to act out and resolve issues with how they were parented when they take up a ‘spiritual’ practice, and just insisting on a buddy role may not always be best practice for a ‘teacher’

    Brad, if you want to build up numbers for the new center, be as stern and dismissive as possible to all new arrivals, and command them to wash the dishes.

    1. Fred
      Fred December 20, 2014 at 11:14 am |

      “”I did not marry GM because I was in love with him,” McNally says. “And he did not marry me because he was in love with me. That was not the nature of the relationship. He was my lama. And for him, I was an emanation of a divine being.”

      In public interviews, Roach maintained that he was still technically celibate, saying that he had not consorted “with a human female” — because McNally, he claimed, was the incarnation of the goddess Vajrayogini, a feminine Buddha deity.

      According to former follower Matthew Remski, students were taught the tantric practice of picturing Vajrayogini as a 16-year-old in the flush of a sexual awakening, with “her vagina dripping to the floor” and holding a skull filled with the gore of her former self. Remski says the practice “links the verge of orgasm with understanding reality”

      Good stuff

  18. Fred
    Fred December 20, 2014 at 11:20 am |

    Banging you baby
    Baby you can
    Taste my dharma

    Your vagina is drippin
    To the floor
    An orgasm I’m
    Trying to ignore

    Banging you baby
    Baby talk dirty
    To me

  19. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 20, 2014 at 8:39 pm |

    Gonna get into it
    Down where it’s tangled and dark
    Way on into it, Baby
    Down where your fears are parked.
    Gonna tell the truth about it,
    Honey that’s the hardest part.

    1. minkfoot
      minkfoot December 21, 2014 at 5:02 am |

      Oh, Bonnie! I’m in the MOOD!

  20. Doug16mmGraves
    Doug16mmGraves December 21, 2014 at 1:03 pm |

    Hey Brad, this is Doug. i wrote you over a week ago. do you need more time to respond or do you not care to respond? either way, please just let me know. happy holidays & thanks for recommending “Each Moment Is The Universe” by Dainin Katagiri! it’s great!

    1. Alan Sailer
      Alan Sailer December 21, 2014 at 7:27 pm |


      When I was at Brad’s retreat a few weeks back at one point he mentioned how many emails that he got in a given day (I forgot the amount, but it was a surprisingly large number) and how he couldn’t possibly answer all of them (without giving up everything else in his life).

      So please don’t take it personally if he doesn’t respond.

      Hope this was useful information…


  21. Doug16mmGraves
    Doug16mmGraves December 21, 2014 at 1:22 pm |

    By the way, Shinchan, I really appreciate your posts about students & their childhood emotional-psychological needs, any feelings of a lack of love & security, & then how they can project that onto guru/shaman/teacher type figures in these kinds of “spiritual” journeys or whatever. Of course, I’ve noticed this same thing when feeling lonely about not having a girlfriend, too & trying to get it from a girl & I’m sure that we can also look for this kind of stuff in many different things like work, artistic endeavors & so forth. for the record Brad, no i do not want any of this bullshit from you or from any kind of teacher. & yes i did read your very helpful post “Can I Be Your Student?” Part One Million and Seven & that link for Nurturing Intention by Koun. I think i understand what you wrote about in sit down & shut up about all those old zen stories about students forgetting that they alone possess the truth of the universe & they don’t need it verified or sanctioned or whatever from their teacher. no, i do not want to give up my responsibility to you or any teacher & no, i do not want to challenge your zen enlightenment credentials so you can be a daddy figure & put me in my place. all of this has always made me kind of nauseous & annoyed. i really don’t care for buddhism per se, in the sense of the costumes & temples & rituals & ancient foreign deep or exotic sounding phrases. i’m sure they have their place but i’m definitely not infatuated with any of this crap.

    1. Shinchan Ohara
      Shinchan Ohara December 21, 2014 at 5:05 pm |

      Hi Doug16mmGraves,

      I don’t want to sound like I have some insight into human psychology, the feelings of neediness and wanting to be saved by a guru have all been my part of my experience at times, and I can still feel that way at times. I hear some practitioners say they took up meditation because of some vague dissatisfaction with life or something. For me it was a deep anguishy longing, that felt like it would rip my guts out…. vague annoyance would never have got me to volunteer for cross-legged wall staring.

      If I’ve learned anything at all since I got interested in zen, it’s that nobody is going to come along and rescue me: not the viagra lady, not the tooth fairy, not the zen bunny… and not any of the lesser imps and demons I worshipped: cigarettes, girlfriends, money, power. It doesn’t take away the pain and longing to know that, but somehow it makes it bearable.

      Santa Claus is dead. So I sit like a dumpling on a cushion with aching knees, and mourn the fat fuck.

      1. Shinchan Ohara
        Shinchan Ohara December 22, 2014 at 5:15 pm |

        Sorry, Santa’s obesity is not the issue. My right speech practice has been set back a few kalpas since I started commenting on this blog

  22. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 21, 2014 at 2:16 pm |

    Shunryu Suzuki said:

    ‘Dogen-zenji says, “Water does not flow, but the bridge flows.”

    …Water is practicing zazen with movement, yet the water is still while flowing because flowing is its stillness, or its nature. The bridge is doing zazen without moving.

    Let the water flow, as that is the water’s’ practice. Let the bridge stay and sit there, because that is the actual practice of the bridge.’

    (from the “whole body zazen” lecture on

    I would say waking up and falling asleep are the same practice, and an emphasis on waking up at the expense of falling asleep can have the effect of fixing the bridge in position and setting the water in motion.

    From Terebess, here:

    “The first gatha which (Fu Ta Shih) composed to enlighten his
    disciples was:

    Each night, (one) embraces a Buddha while sleeping,
    Each morning, (one) gets up again with him.
    When rising or sitting, both watch and follow one another,
    Whether speaking or not, both are in the same place,
    They never even for a moment part,
    (But) are like the body and its shadow.
    If you wish to know the Buddha’s whereabouts,
    In the sound of (your own) voice, there is he.

    This gatha reveals that the self-natured Buddha is inherent in every
    man and never leaves him. Fu Ta Shih’s teaching was in line with that of
    Buddhas and Patriarchs and his first gatha directly pointed at everybody’s
    mind. Its simplicity, however, soon gave rise to doubts and suspicions
    in the minds of his disciples who wanted something more abstruse.”

  23. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 21, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
  24. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 21, 2014 at 2:29 pm |

    More from Terebess on Fuxi:

    “Empty-handed I go and yet the spade is in my hands;
    I walk on foot, and yet on the back of an ox I am riding:
    When I pass over the bridge,
    Lo, the water floweth not, but the bridge doth flow.

    It is very regrettable that this gatha has given rise to discrimination in the minds of some modern commentators who like to link it with Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity which has no place in the Mind Dharma.”

    Mind Dharma ®

    1. Fred
      Fred December 21, 2014 at 4:55 pm |

      You could relate it to the unity of the relative and the absolute, two sides of one coin.

      Riding on the back of the ox is finding the original nature and taming it through sitting without purpose.

      When not attached to the relative, the river of self ceases to be its own primary expression and the universe flows through it.

      Someone will ask, what happens if you are attached to the void or emptiness. There is no you.

  25. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 21, 2014 at 2:40 pm |

    Sometimes I just have to wash my ears out:

  26. senorchupacabra
    senorchupacabra December 21, 2014 at 7:29 pm |

    In my early 20s, due in large part to watching porn from at least the age of 11, I went through a bout of psychological erectile dysfunction (basically I was concerned that because I didn’t have an 8-inch penis that I wasn’t capable of pleasing a woman). Anyhow, Viagra got me through the episode and for the past 5 years I’ve been able to have sex without it. “Mindfulness” practices in and of themselves only seemed to make the situation worse. But the combination of Viagra, meditation, and mindfulness seemed to get me through it and make me a stronger person in the long run.

    So, I don’t know what my point is. Far be it for me to defend pharmaceuticals (I’m actually skeptical of the usefulness of most of them), but it’s hard for me to hate on Viagra too much. And even though it may sound silly, going through that episode was one of the most miserable times of my life. Whether it’s ‘right’ or not, our culture does put a lot of emphasis on sex, and when you’re 22 years old and unable to perform, it does put a lot of negative thoughts into your head.

  27. SamsaricHelicoid
    SamsaricHelicoid December 21, 2014 at 9:33 pm |

    This life is more about loss and failure than it is about winning.

    “Losing is satori. Winning is illusion.” – Kodo Sawaki

    Disillusionment is of a higher-order wisdom than seeking dust (sensation) or conceptual knowledge.

  28. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 22, 2014 at 9:58 am |

    “Someone will ask, what happens if you are attached to the void or emptiness.”

    Makes me think of the arupa jhana of “no-thing”, “the plane of no-thing”. This would be the excellence of the heart’s release through extending equanimity throughout the four quarters, above, below, and throughout the world, according to Gautama.

    The arupa jhana of “no-thing” gives way to the jhana of “neither perception and sensation nor not perception and sensation”, of which Gautama says “whatever you think it to be, it is otherwise.” With the thought, the attainment of the jhana of “neither perception and sensation nor not perception and sensation” is something that is thought out, something that is constructed, and all that is thought out and constructed is impermanent”, the jhana of “neither perception and sensation nor not perception and sensation” gives way, volition in perception and sensation ceases.

    I’ve had a hard time relating to Gautama’s practice, as far as “I will breath in beholding impermanence… breath out beholding impermanence.” Sounds like he’s referring to the activities: volitive action of speech (thought), of in-breathing and out-breathing (body), and of perception and sensation (heart-mind). Somehow in my head I was picturing concrete buildings that crumble, but as usual it looks like it’s all about the volitive in action.

    So the quantum mechanics of it is, when volition ceases, parallel universes are no longer created because of choice?

    1. Fred
      Fred December 22, 2014 at 12:10 pm |

      Quantum mechanics is conceptual thought, shoehorning reality into a straightjacket.

      What is presents itself without words trying to shape it.

      The pressure of culture, and the contents of our brains are an extension of culture.

      When does volition cease?

      1. The Idiot
        The Idiot December 22, 2014 at 4:40 pm |

        Probably when we stop posting comments here (sigh).

      2. Mumbles
        Mumbles December 22, 2014 at 6:57 pm |

        Volition for whom exactly, Fred?

        1. Fred
          Fred December 23, 2014 at 7:35 am |

          “So the quantum mechanics of it is, when volition ceases, parallel universes are no longer created because of choice?”

          Who or whatever is there when the wave function collapses – smart ass answer

  29. Strong Practice
    Strong Practice December 22, 2014 at 5:12 pm |

    I’m sorry to be such a party pooper but I just have to ask. If you are so critical of the mass marketing of mindfulness then what exactly are you offering as an alternative, Brad? Is the Zen you offer that much deeper and more authentic than the stuff talked about on the tv? If so, please tell me how. I know you’ll probably say you’re not selling anything, but please, come on, we’ve all heard that before. You’ve called yourself an entertainer in the past so you’re obviously selling something. Also, are the retreats you hold at Mt. Baldy or anywhere else that much more rewarding than mindfulness seminars? I see they are only three days long. Most Zen retreats are usually seven days. You can outfit your brand of Buddhism with all the tattoos and rebel hipsterism that you want, but that doesn’t make it any less superficial than the present McMindfulness explosion.

    In the end you have your audience Brad and McMindfulness has another. Who really cares. The practice is about working on yourself in the end, not denigrating the practice of others no matter how stupid it appears to be.

    1. Alan Sailer
      Alan Sailer December 22, 2014 at 8:37 pm |

      Strong Practice,

      Who really cares?

      Apparently you do (as far as I can tell from your post).


    2. sri_barence
      sri_barence December 23, 2014 at 5:49 am |

      Brad sells books! (You knew that, right?) I don’t think Brad is making an argument about ‘deeper’ or ‘more authentic.’ What he’s pointing at is more that ‘mindfulness’ as practiced by the general public is about getting something. Maybe people want to have a good feeling, or become more successful. Of course it is possible to have these kinds of things through practicing mindful actions. But anything that can be gained will also be lost, because all things are impermanent. Practicing Zen means putting down all desire for gaining anything at all (even desirelessness).

      Doing Buddhist practice also means keeping the precepts, which many people think is a religious practice. Perhaps it is. Most of the modern ‘mindfulness’ people want to avoid religion, so they want to leave out the part about precepts. Brad seems to think this kind of practice may actually be harmful in the long run.

    3. minkfoot
      minkfoot December 23, 2014 at 6:41 am |

      I was doing a bit of digging on Geshe Michael Roach, when I came upon this site:

      My favorite title is the second one – “What Is Emptiness And How Can I Use It?”

      Perhaps someone with more gumption than I will listen to it and tell us if Dharma lurks.

      1. Fred
        Fred December 23, 2014 at 7:39 am |

        Money and sex – no Dharma.

        1. justlui
          justlui December 23, 2014 at 6:06 pm |

          “Money and sex — no Dharma.”

          I want that as a T-shirt, Fred.

      2. Alan Sailer
        Alan Sailer December 23, 2014 at 8:15 am |


        I went to your link and read the text under the talk. I’m assuming that it’s text based on (if not a transcript) the talk.

        The text was not very encouraging. Some of it made sense but some just didn’t feel right. His bio was also pretty discouraging, basically just a list of his qualifications to be an authority.

        I don’t like that kind of stuff so I give him a miss.


      3. minkfoot
        minkfoot December 23, 2014 at 9:40 am |

        Thanks, Fred & Alan–

        I was beginning to feel an eerie resonance of Roach’s stuff with Fred Lenz’s, especially in the suggestion in the titles of the “use” of karma. Guess there’s a reason for that.

        1. Alan Sailer
          Alan Sailer December 23, 2014 at 9:50 am |


          At this time I have no real idea of what karma is supposed to be or if it even exists.

          But Mr. Roach seems to feel that karma exists and has applications which doesn’t feel like a good direction to take.


      4. mb
        mb December 23, 2014 at 5:27 pm |

        The definitive article on Michael Roach:

  30. Mindfulness
    Mindfulness December 22, 2014 at 5:58 pm |

    You are my audience.

  31. SamsaricHelicoid
    SamsaricHelicoid December 22, 2014 at 6:24 pm |

    I’m trying to decide between Agate and Licorice in the new Harvest Moon.

    Maybe you guys can help me decide:

    1. justlui
      justlui December 23, 2014 at 6:09 pm |


  32. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 22, 2014 at 10:05 pm |

    Where does what cease?

    Oh, you mean like:

    “The Buddhas never appeared in the world–there is nothing to be given to people. The Patriarch never came from the West–he never passed on the transmission by mind. Since people of these times do not understand, they frantically search outside themselves. They are far from knowing that the One Great Matter right where they are cannot be grasped even by a thousand sages.”

    (Pointer from 56th case, Blue Cliff Record, trans. Thomas & J.C. Cleary)

    “What is this, Brad, some kind of upaya? Huh?” Pass the licorice.

  33. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 22, 2014 at 10:12 pm |

    “bah- da- deep– we’re sorry, the Warner you have reached is not in service at this time. Please hang up wit’ yo’ bitchin’ ‘n try again. bah-da-deep.”

    Actually, it’s quite wonderful that a guy like Brad Warner is willing to stand up against the wall and allow people to take pot shots at him with their glue guns– I gotta hand it to him.

    Hold out yer hands, there, Mr. Warner…

  34. Michel
    Michel December 22, 2014 at 11:36 pm |

    That thing of the “strong” practice is, to me, quite reminiscent of Devadatta’s: he split from the Buddha precisely because he thought that his cousin’s practice wasn’t strong enough.

    But my observation of those whose practice is thus “strong” is that it is merely rigid, and totally unable to mingle in everyday life.

  35. justlui
    justlui December 23, 2014 at 5:33 pm |

    Dear Author of One can not kill their way to peace,

    I read your article. Ha! first off, you’re confusing blog commentators with “Brad’s followers”. There’s a difference. Brad is not my teacher. He writes a zen blog, I’m a zen guy, I comment here sometimes. It’s silly to blame Brad for what internet commenters do on his blog. Hell, I’ve even trolled others on here. It’s the internet!

    Also, your definition of ego, “Ego is the self identified with the body”, is wrong. Get some zen on, homie.

    Also, your comment about reincarnation. Dude, there is no reincarnation (that would require time being a real and linear thing with some kind of magical judge dishing out our past karma to our future selves, but really, there is just This here). If you really believe that about reincarnation, I also know about a man named Russell Crowe who can fit every animal in the world on a boat.

    Also, your view of karma is wrong.

    You said this about karma, “But the spiritual mind knows that karma has a delay and that karma will manifest”. Um, yeah. . . maybe in the Tibetan wheel of life view, but zen is about this right here. Karma means action, it does not mean action. . . and then later. . . payback.

    ^^ Zen, bitch, get some.

    Also, your article is a judgmental article about how Brad shouldn’t be so judgmental. Um. . . yeah. You don’t like what you see here, and your itchy urge to blog your disapproval is all about you and your itchy needs. This is all about you, your picking and choosing, and your ego’s needs.

    You are taking the war comment totally out of context and being a total douche.

    Also, your view of how a buddhist should act is silly. I was raised around Buddhist practice, I practice daily mediation, and I am not a pacifist. Not. At. All.

    Brad can defend himself, I don’t care at all what he thinks. He can hold his own anyways. Your article was just so awful, with such watered down fake buddhist malarky, and even had the nerve to include the commenters here as representatives of Brad’s followers, that I just had to tell you to get bent. Get bent!

  36. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 23, 2014 at 8:46 pm |

    It’s a shock sometimes, to be in the phone booth talking into the mouthpiece, and realize there’s no one on the other end. I think sometimes the people that walk by me on the street talking on their cellphones know it’s like that, but they’re no longer shocked. Why be hard on somebody who still thinks there’s someone on the line?

    “In the left eye, half a pound… in the right eye, eight ounces.”

    (verse commentary, 56th case, Blue Cliff Record trans. Cleary & Cleary)

    Rabbits and horses have horns–
    Oxen and rams have no horns.
    Nary a hair, nary a wisp–
    Like mountains, like peaks.
    The golden relics still exist right now–
    With white foaming waves flooding the skies, where can they be put?
    There’s no place to put them–
    Even the one who returned to the west with one shoe has lost them.

    (verse, case 55 Ibid)

    Puts us in our place, doesn’t it!

  37. justlui
    justlui December 23, 2014 at 10:35 pm |

    Mark, you’re like’s resident zen master. It’s pretty cool. Brad is too, of course, but really he just rants something up on top and then disappears for a week.

    I’m way too obnoxious to ever pull off real zen mastery.


    1. Fred
      Fred December 24, 2014 at 4:50 am |

      “Your article was just so awful, with such watered down fake buddhist malarky, and even had the nerve to include the commenters here as representatives of Brad’s followers, that I just had to tell you to get bent. Get bent!”

      Yeah, get bent MF. And you too McMindfulness mothers.

      And you Tibetan guys having sex with the Lama goddesses and pretending you
      aren’t, where do I sign up.

      1. justlui
        justlui December 24, 2014 at 8:59 am |

        Lol, Fred, of course. . . 😛 Embrace the colorful posts man!

        One of my hobbies is calling out people for teaching Buddhism when really they shouldn’t be because they are wimpy cunts. It’s fun! I don’t care that he has a problem with Brad, that’s his deal and maybe Brad’s if he cares. That guy was just being a smarty pants posting that article here, especially since it was a piece ridiculing the people who comment on here, so I felt like punching holes in his article. It’s a guilty pleasure of mine. I admit, punching holes in his article is a poor replacement for punching holes in him, but alas, there’s no app for that yet.

        Years back, a family friend got me a job working for a Buddhist group that had a resident Tibetan lama, an older guy, and he was married to a young woman. I drank a beer with him once. Apparently, all that’s ok with Tibetan lamas. They also had a resident llama on their land, which allowed for lots of linguistic jokes among us workers.

        1. Fred
          Fred December 24, 2014 at 9:06 am |

          “God can suck my dick.”

          That’s no way to sell your latest book.

          1. justlui
            justlui December 24, 2014 at 10:14 am |

            Honestly, it’s probably the best way to sell his new book! Brad, I’m an illustrator, I think that should be the title of your next book, and I can do the cover for you. Make it truly offensive. You’ll make bajillions of dollars.

  38. Mumbles
    Mumbles December 24, 2014 at 1:02 pm |

    Tilopa’s Six Words of Advice

    First short, literal translation

    Later long, explanatory translation

    Tibetan (Wylie transliteration)

    1 Don’t recall Let go of what has passed mi mno
    2 Don’t imagine Let go of what may come mi bsam
    3 Don’t think Let go of what is happening now mi shes
    4 Don’t examine Don’t try to figure anything out mi dpyod
    5 Don’t control Don’t try to make anything happen mi sgom
    6 Rest Relax, right now, and rest rang sar bzhag

  39. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 24, 2014 at 1:15 pm |

    justlui, thank you for the kind words.

    Oftentimes, you have words for feelings that I think many of us share with you. This comment thread is oftentimes cosmic to me, because of the way people pick up on one another and on current events (and other commentators), and have many of the same concerns. That, after all, is probably why we are all drawn to Brad’s blog.

    If I were to tell the truth, then I would have to say that I think Brad had a few beers before he wrote this one. I would further surmise that he had a few beers because he was coming off a sparsely-attended retreat, and his savings are slim, and his income is little. Brad was given lineage by Gudo, and Brad feels both the calling to share his practice with those who want to practice with him and a sense of obligation to Gudo for the confidence Gudo placed in him and the honorific title bestowed. Not to mention all those other dead guys (mostly).

    Brad wrote this post because he was at his wits end, and he didn’t care anymore, and it felt good.

    But I’m just guessing here, I could be entirely wrong.

    Even if someone criticizes Brad, they are at least engaging in dialogue about the practice, and the future of the practice in this country. Mostly about the future, because Brad only says as much as he has to about the practice; in this, he is not alone.

    I’m fortunate to have been such a geek that when my judo teacher asked me to demonstrate the throws I had learned out of a Bruce Tegner book, I didn’t realize how much amusement it gave him and his senior students.

    I’m fortunate that I can’t seem to accept anything just because some one else says it’s so, and that I haven’t gotten discouraged about learning things out of books.

    Really, I live in my own imaginary world where I can say things that can change my life, and hope that in the information age, they might be useful to others as well. In reality, I am still inspired to sit, Brad is still inspired to sit, God help us if we lose that. Many here are inspired to sit, or to practice in other ways (including poetry and walking in the woods), and I find it helpful to write here.

    And other places, and sometimes I lift things I’ve written for my own blog:

  40. minkfoot
    minkfoot December 24, 2014 at 5:39 pm |

    Sometimes it amuses me; occasionally it irks. To say one doesn’t believe in karma is somewhat like saying one doesn’t believe in UFOs. I know what someone means when they say that, but what their words literally mean is that they do not believe there are flying objects which have not been identified. Although Buddhist theories of karma can involve connections between lives, the core idea is that intentions have consequences. When I hear someone say that they don’t believe in karma, it sounds like they don’t believe in intentions making any difference, though I know they mean they can’t accept rebirth.

    The causality of intention is a subset of general causality, but the subset Buddha was mostly interested in, since it’s what we can effect directly. Without a belief in the consequences of intentions, I don’t see how practice is possible. It’s not necessary to believe in rebirth, but I believe it’s necessary to believe in the causality of intention.

    1. Fred
      Fred December 24, 2014 at 6:11 pm |

      And what is the causality of intention? Will you burn in hell for 500 fox years?Will the ashes feel pain?

      Sure, if you smoke 4 packs of cigarettes and drink a bottle of whiskey a day, the
      tumors will consume your rotting flesh. But you will be the tumors, and the rotting flesh as much as the casket and the cemetery soil as well as the poems you
      wrote about sunshine and unicorns.

      So what is so significant about causality, or its lacking. Is it a ruse invented by zen masters to keep this brain from going off the deep end.

      1. Fred
        Fred December 24, 2014 at 6:26 pm |

        Perhaps the causality of intention is what happens when the newly McMindful
        meditators come to experience the gaps in the solidity of self on their own,
        outside the ethics and support of religion, and end up in the psych ward feeling psychotic.

    2. minkfoot
      minkfoot December 24, 2014 at 7:40 pm |

      I was wondering if you or Mark would respond first! I guess Mark is having Christmas Eve in East Bay.

      How does one know there is no causality to intention when you face it frontally, unless one fully engages one’s intention on the back end?

      One studies karma to avoid being fried by one’s own bad choices. Sure, you can say it’s easier to drop avoidance to being fried, but one has to start somewhere.

      The only true unbelievers of karma are utter nihilists.

      “Beings are numberless, I vow to save them all!”

      Merry Christmas, all!

  41. justlui
    justlui December 24, 2014 at 10:58 pm |

    Lol all you posties are so much smarter than I am, it’s awesome reading your comments.

    I believe in karma, I just don’t believe in the way the word karma seems to be used a lot of the time. Cause and effect is of course the human experience (talk shit get hit), but when many of my friends say the word karma, what they really mean is “what goes around comes around”, and that is a time based “justice” type of an idea.
    There seems to be a view of karma as being part of a giant time calculator that adds up your good and bad actions and then dishes out your gifts and punishments later on like a watchful Old Testament Santa clock thingy.

    Karma means action. There’s this, enlightenment, or our everyday lives (action), and that attachment is likely as creative as the Big Bang. Karma.

    There is no separation. When someone does something horrible, then the state of things are that of horror. Karma.

    I guess how karma is defined also comes down to if a person has a belief in separate souls, which I don’t buy. We are the same thing, so to me karma is more instant even than couscous or Tang.

    Does that not seem right? Perhaps that’s not zen. . .

    I can’t stand nor do I have any faith in a scriptural definition of karma. I’m only interested in my experience and remembering of what this is, and so an understanding of karma has to come from that, or its just mythical malarky.

    I do believe tomorrow is a great hippy’s birthday.

  42. JohnKobeck
    JohnKobeck January 3, 2015 at 8:35 pm |

    I hear Cialis works just as well. Not that I would know

Comments are closed.