Before we do anything else THERE WILL BE A ZAZEN CLASS AT HILL STREET CENTER THIS SATURDAY MAY 5, 2007. I just now got it together to re-do the calendar for this month. Class will most likely be cancelled the following week (May 12, 2007). In any case I won’t be there on May 12th. But I will be there tomorrow.
To those of you who’ve bought my new book, Sit Down & Shut Up! — Thank you! You may yet save me from becoming a hobo in the streets. I’m really worried about my “real job.” Gotta go back to Japan next week & argue with them. I may have to stand out on the freeway offramps with a sign that says, “Will teach Zen for food” after I come back. I ain’t gonna make a living on book royalties, that’s for sure!
ANYWAY, I found a mistake in the book. Those of you who have the book, turn to page 74. Look at the bottom of the second complete paragraph. What’s written there says: “To really suppress anger, you have to suppress the urge to avoid the beautiful juiciness of it all.” It’s supposed to say, “…suppress the urge to enjoy the beautiful juiciness of it all.” So go get your Bic and fix that. It’s OK. I told you to do it. So don’t worry about messing up the book.
Here is the second of my Zen versions of the Three Stooges. As before, if you click on the cartoons you’ll get larger versions.
I present it complete with spelling mistakes and the wonderful notion only a 20 year old could concoct that getting up at 5 AM is really early. If I ever revise this Shemp will say “No more gettin’ up at 4 AM.”
The point of this comic was to illustrate the idea of “makyo.” I talked about this in Hardcore Zen. Makyo literally means “world of demons.” It refers to hallucinations and altered states that can be encountered during Zazen practice. The so-called “heightened states of consciousness” that are the goal of many meditative practices are regarded in Zen as states to be avoided. Here we see Shemp get it all wrong. The comic is also based on the Three Stooges short “Bedlam in Paradise” in which Shemp dies and goes to Heaven to be greeted by his Uncle Mortimer, played by Moe. That was one of my personal favorite Stooge comedies. I always liked Shemp a lot. His best work is often every bit as funny as Curly’s, though he rarely gets the recognition he deserves.
I really tried to be a cartoonist there for a while. But nobody ever bought my submissions. In retrospect I might’ve broken thru if I’d kept after it. But I knew I was never gonna draw superhero stories or any of that garbage. When I discovered Peter Bagge’s work in Weirdo Comics that was a big revelation. But even he took a while to create his masterpiece, HATE! That’s pure genius and there’s still nothing else like it. If I’d stayed with cartooning I’d like to think I would’ve gone a similar direction. Maybe Hardcore Zen would’ve been a graphic novel instead. It still could be. But I dunno if I wanna draw it. I can still doodle. But I don’t really have any technique to speak of. It’s hard work making a character look the same in consecutive panels. I remember really laboring over that. And backgrounds. Christ, you have to draw the backgrounds over and over in each panel and get them right each time. It takes a lot of patience. Kinda like zazen…