“There Is No God and He Lives on Long Island”

While Brad is away at Tassajara, and away from the Internet, we’ll be periodically filling in the gaps with some recordings of talks Brad’s given on his recent book tour. Thanks to John Graves of Dōgen Sangha LA for editing and providing the recording.

Enjoy!

You can get these automagically as they’re posted if you subscribe to the Hardcore Zen podcast on iTunes. And please write us a review on iTunes, it bumps up the podcast in the charts!

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103 Responses

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  1. Mumbles
    Mumbles August 23, 2013 at 4:27 am | |

    Good stuff, Mark. Everything on Paul Westerberg’s (aka Grandpaboy) Mono (and the companion cd Stereo, too) is great. Here’s my fave from Mono:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txmnBh-LqvM

  2. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote August 23, 2013 at 11:33 am | |

    Thanks, J Mumbles.

  3. Mumbles
    Mumbles August 23, 2013 at 3:51 pm | |

    “Is it a leap of faith, or a jump of stupid, either way, don’t know what I’m doing”

  4. Fred
    Fred August 23, 2013 at 4:45 pm | |

    “But if you have a way of turning from conditioned phenomena to the unconditioned, then there is no kind of kamma being made, and the conditioned habits can fade away and cease. It’s like a ‘safety hatch’ in the mind, the way out, so your kammic formations, “sankharas”, have an exit, a way of flowing away instead of recreating themselves.”

    There is no karma passing from some hypothetical agent to some other
    hypothetical agent in another life, so no hypothetical explanation is needed.

    The Sumedho character was a monk in the book ‘What the Buddha Didn’t Teach’
    He got a promotion.

  5. Fred
    Fred August 23, 2013 at 4:59 pm | |

    The book is ‘ What the Buddha Never Taught ‘ by Tim Ward, and Sumedo was
    the previous farang Ajahn.

  6. Fred
    Fred August 23, 2013 at 5:15 pm | |

    Making merit to alter one’s karma, and a safety hatch as a way out are just more
    conditioning.

  7. Fred
    Fred August 23, 2013 at 5:58 pm | |

    Answer: ” “Is it a leap of faith, or a jump of stupid, either way, don’t know what I’m doing”

    Question: What is the Absolute?

  8. Mumbles
    Mumbles August 23, 2013 at 8:02 pm | |

    Yes.

  9. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote August 23, 2013 at 8:43 pm | |

    Read that, “What the Buddha Never Taught”. Liked everything but the message Tim took from his travels.

    Absolutely, yes. (absolutely yes, but…?)

    Still listening to High Time.

    I know Sumedho was head of Ajahn Chah’s followers in England, though I think Ajahn Amarjo left Ukiah to take that position.

    “He was abbot of Amaravati Buddhist Monastery, UK, from its consecration in 1984 until his retirement in 2010.” (Wikipedia)

    Born Robert Jackman in Seattle, I didn’t know that.

    I don’t know. People can have incredible stuff and a lousy explanation. Myself, I have lousy stuff and an incredible explanation. Guess who people are going to believe.

    Kumare. He could sit lotus and do yoga, though, couldn’t he?

    “In truth, that which is to be considered most essential in Zen study is this ‘formless site of enlightenment’. It has no shape or form, it bears no name. Though it therefore has nothing to do with words, nevertheless there is after all definitely a place that is clearly apparent. This is what is called appearance before birth.” (Denkoroku, translated by T. Cleary, #44)

    “… definitely a place”; clearly apparent, even if it moves.

    “This is what is known as “having eyes yet not seeing, having ears yet not hearing, having hands yet not grasping, having a mind yet not cognizing, having a nose yet not smelling, having a tongue yet not tasting, having legs yet not walking.” It is as though the faculties were all useless, the whole body useless furniture. It is like a wooden man, an iron man. At this time seeing form and hearing sound have been escaped.

    As Dayang was about to say something further at this point, Liangshan, to prevent him from being pinned down, quickly grabbed him and said, ‘This is the one with form–which is the formless one?’ By means of the unused, he made him aware of the faceless. It was like recognizing oneself by looking in a mirror.” (Ibid)

    “To prevent him from being pinned down”,”by means of the unused”–all the senses including proprioception (hands, legs) enters in when the vestibular sense of place is not pinned down.

  10. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote August 23, 2013 at 8:48 pm | |

    when gravity, proprioception and the sense of place are included in the experience of the senses, a wooden man can get up and walk around, yet the experience is backward like moving while looking in a mirror.

  11. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote August 23, 2013 at 8:48 pm | |

    and not moving at all.

  12. Mumbles
    Mumbles August 23, 2013 at 9:04 pm | |
  13. Fred
    Fred August 24, 2013 at 3:59 am | |

    “when gravity, proprioception and the sense of place are included in the experience of the senses, a wooden man can get up and walk around”

    Mark, I pulled over to the side of the road a couple of weeks ago. There was no
    one or thing anywhere. Just vast expansiveness.

    ” It has no shape or form, it bears no name. Though it therefore has nothing to do with words, nevertheless there is after all definitely a place that is clearly apparent”

  14. Mumbles
    Mumbles August 24, 2013 at 6:41 am | |

    Dissolve your whole body into Vision: become seeing, seeing, seeing! – Rumi

    http://brahmanisone.blogspot.com/2005/11/on-having-no-head-douglas-harding.html

    vidyardhi.org/Resources/books/nohead.pdf‎

  15. Fred
    Fred August 24, 2013 at 8:32 am | |

    “On the contrary, it was very much occupied. It was a vast emptiness vastly filled, a nothing that found room for everthing — room for grass, trees, shadowy distant hills, and far above them snow-peaks like a row of angular clouds riding the blue sky. I had lost a head and gained a world.”

    That always was and always will be.

  16. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote August 24, 2013 at 11:50 am | |

    Nice, Fred (pulling to the side of the road).

    Thanks, Mumbles, for Westerberg.

    “Vow to achieve the perfect understanding that the illusory body is like dew and lightning. Zen Master Hsu Yun (on his death-bed, in 1959)

    That would be proprioception.

  17. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote August 24, 2013 at 11:54 am | |

    equalibrioception and proprioception.

    This morning it was clear that the only sense activity that matters is the sense activity necessary to breathe, and yet I got up from the side of the road still breathing.

  18. Mumbles
    Mumbles August 24, 2013 at 1:40 pm | |

    Mark, shivers, man, shivers. That backup band rocked.

    My band The Mumbles opened for The Replacements at the tiny Coyote Club in Wichita, KS in 1984. Paul bought me a few or more Jack Daniels shots. Nice guy. Last time I saw him live was on the Paul Westerberg And His Only Friends tour (his last solo tour with a band I think) wow, I don’t know how long ago, 2005? 2002?? in Columbia, MO.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3s7a-gFX5xM

  19. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote August 24, 2013 at 6:03 pm | |

    I don’t know how I missed The Replacements and Mr. Westerberg for so long. I see he’s doing a Replacements reunion thing this year, two dates next month, closest to me is Denver (and to you, Mr. J. E. Mumbles, Chicago).

    I love the picture on Grandpa boy with the glasses with the red X’s. He’s an artist, and a hero, and I’m starting to think everybody is but some have to bear knowing it.

  20. Mumbles
    Mumbles August 25, 2013 at 4:53 am | |

    Unrelated? Its rumored to be about Axel Rose, whose longest version of G&R features Tommy Stinson (Replacements) on bass. But yes, like all but one comment on this thread, this is unrelated to the podcast…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wr_LtVkCe18

  21. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote August 26, 2013 at 10:01 pm | |

    I was out walking and thinking about “Kumare”, the reality film of a guy from New Jersey who faked being a guru and had people believing in him 110%. I thought about Vikram Gandhi, the star of the film, and his facility with the lotus and yoga in general, and it occurred to me that people can discover action in the absence of volition through their belief in someone else as the embodiment of selfless action. What we believe in our heart of hearts becomes action when we realize a hypnogogic state, which everyone does from time to time.

    The flip side is Sasaki, with the hand that just moves, it’s ishinashini (will-less). There too I think it’s the belief that counts, and what we really believe is not actually under our control. That’s the big surprise.

    Believing in someone or something can facilitate the experience of selfless action by allowing the relaxation necessary to induce a hypnogogic state. The message of Kumare the fake guru is simply that a person should learn how to relax from where they are, mentally and physically, and realize the power of their own beliefs while simultaneously investigating them thoroughly.

    People are attracted to lineage holders, even (dare I say it) Mr. Brad Warner, to the extent that they can believe in them as some kind of conduit to reality. Frees the person to experience selfless action without much personal investigation into posture or mental state, which investigation is about as attractive to most twenty-first century Zen students as sailing off the edge of the world was to a fifteenth-century sailor.

    Lineage holders for the most part are dedicated to helping people, and when people act selflessly in the presence of a Zen teacher, I think some teachers might assume that the aura conveyed by the robe and bowl is actually helpful.

    However, that can lead to situations like that depicted in the film “Kumare”, or like that at Mount Baldy, because the student while realizing the power of their own belief has failed to investigate the basis of that belief, and to discover selfless action out of belief based on their own experience.

    1. Harlan
      Harlan August 27, 2013 at 11:33 am | |

      “It occurred to me that people can discover action in the absence of volition through their belief in someone else as the embodiment of selfless action.”

      Hi Mark. I think it comes down to growing motivation and perspective. It seems that some people do well staying in the religious tradition they were brought up in. Of course if someone is hoping for sudden enlightenment rather than a more gradual approach that might be difficult.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDCiqWcV7NY

  22. Fred
    Fred August 27, 2013 at 7:15 am | |

    Investigating, something is seen that is apparently clear.

    Knowing that all systems of worldly knowledge are pilings pounded into a
    bottomless swamp, the miasma of belief is the real hypnogogic state.

    Tasting the void, you are the void, and what any guru says is irrelevant.

  23. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote August 27, 2013 at 6:24 pm | |

    Fred gets the extra points:

    Miasma
    synonyms: stink, reek, stench, fetor, smell, fume, odor, whiff

    Tasting the void, you are the void”

    Harlan, I think faith has to have a basis in experience to be a real factor in someone’s daily life. The relationships are what matter. I think it’s also true that there has to be a necessity to experience the relationships that matter before anyone can find them. The relinquishment of self in favor of the experience of the relationships that matter is a consequence of personal necessity and continues to be so, yet I think for those with a living faith it all comes down to action in the absence of volition.

    Maybe that comes through Jesus, or through the saints, but the necessity is very personal I think.

  24. Mumbles
    Mumbles August 28, 2013 at 4:45 am | |

    R.I.P. Toni Packer…

    “Awareness cannot be taught, and when it is present it has no context. All contexts are created by thought and are therefore corruptible by thought. Awareness simply throws light on what is, without any separation whatsoever.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toni_Packer

  25. Fred
    Fred August 28, 2013 at 6:38 am | |

    Shining the Light Inward

    The key phrases there are “personal necessity ” and ” it all comes down to action in the absence of volition. ”

    Personal necessity is the drive/will manifesting through the human vessel.

    This drive, or call of the ineffable, manifests through action of the absolute while
    the self is held still without volition.

    This may be seen in zazen, but the question is how bright does it shine in the midst of chaos in everyday life.

    Sasaki said that Zen is the practice of manifesting yourself as emptiness.

  26. Fred
    Fred August 28, 2013 at 6:48 am | |

    Tony Packer’s Zen without Zen: her discursion of meditative inquiry is informed largely by her own vision, but also by the talks and writings of J. Krishnamurti.

  27. Fred
    Fred August 28, 2013 at 7:36 am | |

    Toni Packer:
    “Awareness cannot be taught, and when it is present it has no context. All contexts are created by thought and are therefore corruptible by thought. Awareness simply throws light on what is, without any separation whatsoever.”

  28. Fred
    Fred August 28, 2013 at 7:39 am | |

    Lama Christie:
    ” A Shift in the Matrix- Dispelling Darkness By Shining Light to the World “

  29. Fred
    Fred August 28, 2013 at 7:52 am | |

    Heidegger:

    Man is the shepherd of Being, by which the aletheia or unconcealing of being occurs. Man alone, as standing in the clearing of Being and as shepherding, preserves the truth of Being.

  30. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote August 28, 2013 at 9:03 am | |

    Tricycle: So often you speak of clear seeing and just listening. What makes this distinct from “regular” seeing and listening?

    Packer: Have you ever listened to breathing without knowing what it is? Without thinking about where it comes from or where it goes? This is an innocent listening unburdened, unhindered by knowledge or by judgment, such as “My breathing is too shallow.” Innocent listening is no right breathing, no wrong breathing. What is there when I don’t come to listening with preconceptions, but rather start freshly?

    Mark: The necessity of breath is also the necessity of perception and sensation, they are the same necessity. Packer learned it through stretch in a posture, stretch in the senses, I will bet on that; I didn’t find much positive, substantive direction in the first part of that interview and I’m afraid I gave up on it.

  31. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote August 28, 2013 at 9:05 am | |

    ok, so I like the part I quoted better when I reread it.

    She is, however, basically telling people what not to do, like most Zen teachers.

  32. Fred
    Fred August 28, 2013 at 6:10 pm | |

    Packer: “Unless it is clearly seen that the storyline about “me” perpetuates fear and pain, it will automatically keep on going. Discursive thinking is not separate from what is here, but its release cannot come from prohibition, or practice, or admonition. As long as I am thinking about it, I am circumnavigating it. I am not really with it, seeing it unconditionally.”

    This is pretty close to what J. Krishnamurti would say.

  33. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote August 28, 2013 at 8:57 pm | |

    This was news to me:

    “As it turns out, Unfettered Mind Board Member Robert Conrad is also Ken McLeod’s personal attorney. He sent Adam Tebbe a letter stating:

    This office represents Ken McLeod. I understand that you are the registered owner of
the domain name and website http://www.sweepingzen.org. I am enclosing a copy of my
 letter dated September 7, 2012, to Abbess Myoan Grace Schireson regarding her
 libelous article posted on the sweepingzen.org website on August 24, 2012, of and
concerning Ken McLeod. I have not received any response from Abbess Schireson and
surmise that she has ignored my letter to her – a potentially very costly mistake.
    Demand is hereby made that you at once issue an open apology to Mr. McLeod, a
retraction of all statements made about him and delete all references to Mr. McLeod 
from the August 24, 2012 post by Abbess Myoan Grace Schireson….

    Because the internet exists throughout the United States, the courts in Los Angeles,
California, have jurisdiction over you; should a lawsuit be filed, it will be filed here. I
 estimate that the legal cost of defending any libel action is likely to exceed $100,000, to 
say nothing of the damages you and your organization may sustain….

    So Ken McLeod’s attorney is threatening Adam Tebbe and Sweeping Zen with an expensive lawsuit.”

    That’s from here.

    Lord love a duck- Grace has Adam deep in the Grimpen Mire without a hound!

  34. Mumbles
    Mumbles August 29, 2013 at 4:50 am | |

    Or, it could be perceived as -once again- a woman in a milieu dominated by men catching hell for saying it like it is:

    http://sweepingzen.com/those-misbehaving-zen-monks/

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