TRANSMISSION and HAYATA

Man! I woke up at ten o’clock this morning. I don’t think I’ve woken up that late since I was like 25. I used to be a late sleeper when I was a rock musician. You have to be when you get back at 4 AM from a gig. But these days even on the rare occasions I actually do get back from a gig at 4 AM I still wake up by seven. This is one of the many reasons I can’t do those kinds of gigs anymore. I guess I must be really jet-lagged from all that travel!

Anyway, this girl named Sarah was minding my apartment while I was away (after the magnificent Teresa Hurray got done with her turn there, during which she completely overhauled the place and made it much more livable). Sarah’s a big Beatle geek. And I have two copies of the Beatles Anthology book. One was given to me by the folks at Chronicle Books when I was working on the book about Eiji Tsuburaya I did for them. So I decided to give one of those copies to Sarah.

But inside the book were two very interesting photos that I’ve posted here today and that I wanted to write about. The first one is there on top. It shows, from left to right, Peter Rocca, Nishijima Roshi, me and Taijun Saito. It is the only photo I have taken on the day of my Dharma Transmission ceremony.

Peter also received the Dharma that day. In the first draft of Hardcore Zen I mentioned this. But my editor thought that if I included Peter he would become a character in the book and would draw the reader into another story that wasn’t really the one we were trying to tell. So Peter ended up on the cutting room floor and I’ve always felt bad about that. But here now is the evidence! Sorry Peter!

Taijun was Nishijima Roshi’s jisha (assistant) at the time. She had coached me on how to wear my kesa (Buddhist robe) for hours and hours and yet it still kept falling off. Here she is adjusting it for the umpteenth time that evening. Before she fell in with Nishijima Roshi, Taijun had trained in a temple where they take these kinds of things very seriously. The photo was taken by Yuka, who always liked taking photos of me when I was looking especially stupid.

The other photo must have been taken around the same time. It shows me with actor Susumu Kurobe. Kurobe played Hayata, the guy who transforms into Ultraman in the original 1966 TV series. In order to transform into the towering 120 foot tall superhero, Hayata always raised a thing called the Beta Capsule into the air. There’d be a blinding flash of light and Ultraman would appear.

In one famous episode, Hayata accidentally raised a spoon into the air (he’d been having lunch when disaster struck in the form of a marauding monster). This episode actually caused a huge stir at the network. Apparently they couldn’t abide by the idea of the hero of the show making a mistake. But Tsuburaya Productions rallied around director Akio Jissoji and insisted the scene stay in the show.

ANYWAY I was out to dinner with Kurobe-san and prevailed upon him to recreate that scene with me in front of the restaurant. Cool, huh?

The reason I was having dinner with Kurobe-san that night was somehow related to a legal case we were pursuing in Southeast Asia at the time. A film producer in one of those countries had appeared on our doorstep sometime in the mid-1990′s with what he claimed was a “contract” entitling him to all overseas sales rights to Ultraman.

The document itself (we never called it a contract at the office) was highly dubious. It got the names of the shows wrong, it contained no mention of any sort of remuneration, parts of the document seemed to have been typed in at different times like someone had fed it thru a typewriter after it had been initially created trying to add new lines in but make them look like they’d been there from the beginning. Furthermore, the “contract” was supposed to have been signed in 1974, yet the man who possessed it had taken 21 years to claim the rights it had allegedly given him.

In short, he had a very weak case. But he somehow convinced the president of our company to sign a letter of apology for having violated these rights. He was making a big pest of himself and implied that he would go away happily if only we just apologized in a friendly and gentlemanly fashion.

Amazingly, the president of our company gave him the letter of apology he demanded. From then on the Southeast Asian movie producer used this letter of apology as evidence that the dubious “contract” was, in fact, legitimate. He was able to drag the case through the courts for ages.

The moral of the story is, if someone has a very weak — or, as in this case, pretty much non-existent — case against you, never apologize for something you didn’t do, especially on paper. It will haunt you forever. They’re still fighting this in the courts, though thankfully I no longer have to work on it.

It was such a slimy thing to do, demanding the letter of apology when he knew full well he had no case at all without it. I’m still amazed that it worked. Only someone truly naive would sign such a thing. But, my God, what kind of lousy, amoral sleezebag asks for a letter of apology when he knows full well he only intends to use that against the person he gets the apology from? It’s truly sad. (Oh sorry, commenters! I know I’m only supposed to give beautiful Buddha blessings to everyone in the world… Feh!)

I’ve written up this story about three dozen times on behalf of the company when I worked for them and it always made me mad. Now it just seems sad. At least I know that if I’m ever asked for a letter of apology over something I didn’t do I ain’t signing it! And let that be a word of advise to all of you. Don’t say you never learned nothin’ from this blog!

I’m sorry. You guys wanted some “dharma” didn’t you? OK. I was gonna write a piece about jukai, the precepts ceremony. I performed a jukai ceremony last week and one the week before that. I don’t do them very often. Lots of Buddhist teachers do them constantly. I was gonna try and write out my own personal philosophy about jukai and why I so rarely do it. But I’ll save that for next time when I’m not all jet-lagged and full of nostalgia. OK?

See ya soon!

85 Responses

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  1. Kathy
    Kathy September 29, 2009 at 3:04 pm | |

    Aaaahhh. Peace.

  2. Uku
    Uku September 29, 2009 at 3:16 pm | |

    Wonderful picture of you and Peter! You look like two little boys in a middle of something very exciting, so sweet!

    Take care, Mr. Pipari!

  3. Henry
    Henry September 29, 2009 at 4:12 pm | |

    Brad, I just found my old transmission if you need to give 'you know who' the shaft.

  4. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 29, 2009 at 5:14 pm | |

    thanks
    nice hearing you

  5. John Paul George Ringo
    John Paul George Ringo September 29, 2009 at 5:53 pm | |

    Blah, blah, blah, Brad…..
    Now can we get back to talking about that fight between you and Jumbo?

    Oh wait a minute…was that piece about the letter of apology supposed to be some veiled allusion to your refusal to meet jumbo? About his posting the email here?

  6. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 29, 2009 at 6:22 pm | |

    What is the deal with Buddhists and spoons?

  7. PhillySteveInLA
    PhillySteveInLA September 29, 2009 at 6:30 pm | |

    HAHA! My Favorite moment in Ultraman!…I think I might have to go watch it no.

    Good article by the way…my friends are constantly telling me I apologize too much(and that is not sarcasm-I'ma chronic sorrier)

  8. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 29, 2009 at 6:30 pm | |


    I am a pacifist, and I am proud of that (yes, Buddhists can be 'proud' of some things). Over these past weeks, I have never raised my voice or hand to anyone, except in Gassho (even at times when others around me were not reciprocating my pacifism). Not once did I ever forget to maintain that pacifist attitude, and I am proud of that.

    He means when the guy came out and was hitting him.

    Taijun was Nishijima Roshi's jisha (assistant) at the time. She had coached me on how to wear my kesa (Buddhist robe) for hours and hours and yet it still kept falling off. Here she is adjusting it for the umpteenth time that evening. Before she fell in with Nishijima Roshi,

    That was before Taijun fell out with Nishijima, and she stopped talking to him and him to her. Another Dogen Sangha drama.

  9. gniz
    gniz September 29, 2009 at 6:48 pm | |

    Seems to me that Nishijima in this instance is the head of the company in Brad's metaphorical story, who Brad says basically was bullied into writing that apology letter (meeting for tea with Jundo). Brad is pointing out through this little fairy tale that by giving an inch to that moocher, the guy used it as political leverage for even more attacks on the company.

    He also seems to be saying that apologizing is a bad idea, which makes sense, since i've never in all these years of reading Brad's work, seen him apologize or even admit to regretting a decision such as cheating on his wife. Sorry, he put that out there for public consumption so i dont mind bringing it up. This is a cat who really doesnt ever do anything wrong–at least, not how he sees it.

    On the other side you have Jundo, who is much more adept at saying the "correct" things–but you always sense that he's maybe just gaming the system the whole time.

    Out of all these characters, my money is on the bigot Mike Cross as being the most genuine and sincere practitioner. He is toiling away even now in relative obscurity, and he seems all to adept at seeing his own shortcomings. But at least he strikes me as a genuine person with a real work ethic and not a power hungry politician.

    His blog is nowhere near as fun as this one, however.

  10. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 29, 2009 at 7:04 pm | |

    That ultraman scene is in my deep memory. your anectdote brought it back. yes, pretty incredible photo!

  11. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 29, 2009 at 7:13 pm | |

    Seems to me that Nishijima in this instance is the head of the company in Brad's metaphorical story, who Brad says basically was bullied into writing that apology letter (meeting for tea with Jundo). Brad is pointing out through this little fairy tale that by giving an inch to that moocher, the guy used it as political leverage for even more attacks on the company.

    He also seems to be saying that apologizing is a bad idea, which makes sense, since i've never in all these years of reading Brad's work, seen him apologize or even admit to regretting a decision

    Brad seems damn passive-aggressive.

    Mike Cross as being the most genuine and sincere practitioner.

    This is absolutely the case. Mike calls a spade a spade

    He also calls a jap a jap and a jewboy a jewboy

  12. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 29, 2009 at 8:10 pm | |

    "This is a cat who really doesnt ever do anything wrong–at least, not how he sees it.:

    Bingo! But ego has nothing to do with True Buddhism. It's just one of those new age buddhist terms. Just like nonattachment wasn't a central teaching of buddhism….until he decided it was afterall.

  13. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 29, 2009 at 9:31 pm | |

    I was listening to a talk on the Satipatthana Sutta recently. It was given by Joseph Goldstein and is available on dharmaseed.com. A different traditon I know, but one thing in particular he mentioned was very interesting. That was the translation of the word "Dukkha", which we take to be "suffering" in English. Of course this word is a central tenant to all of Buddhism, being a core insight of the first noble truth – that suffering is an inescapable characteristic of this reality. What was interesting in Goldstein's talk was that he explained the breakdown. "Du" translates as "Bad", and "Ka" as the fitting of an axel to the wheel on a cart. So "Dukkha" translates most literally as "bad fitting of axel to wheel on cart", or more simply "bumpy ride".

    This is an inescapably bumpy ride. We are all riding in the same cart with a bad axel fitting. Everyone can't stand it. All the bodies are being jostled about, up and down, left right, unpredictably. And on this cart takes place these blog posts and comment streams.

    Freakin, hilarious!!!

    Watch Kurosawa's "The Lower Depths" sometime.

  14. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 29, 2009 at 11:50 pm | |
  15. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 30, 2009 at 12:13 am | |

    I am a pacifist, and I am proud of that (yes, Buddhists can be 'proud' of some things). Over these past weeks, I have never raised my voice or hand to anyone, except in Gassho (even at times when others around me were not reciprocating my pacifism). Not once did I ever forget to maintain that pacifist attitude, and I am proud of that.

    He means when the guy came out and was hitting him.

    Prove it

  16. Rick
    Rick September 30, 2009 at 4:53 am | |

    Ah… memories… one of the few scenes from Ultraman I can still remember.

    Used to watch it on the UHF dial. Channel 19 out of Buffalo, NY. It played all the old B Scifi movies, Godzilla, stuff like that. Way back when you actually had to get up and change the channel or volume by hand. Not to mention the rabbit ears…

    I also vaguely remember a scene where the tail of a moster was ripped off and continued bouncing around the city… (might that have been Godzilla?)

  17. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 30, 2009 at 5:31 am | |

    I've received an apology from Brad. I've received strong words from Brad when I crossed a line. I've seen Brad tired and sipping tea. Good gosh he's human. He blogs. He writes. He opines.

    The really important characters in this story are Ultraman and the Beatles. Do you think they'll ever get back together and take over Tokyo with a Yellow Submarine?

  18. desse
    desse September 30, 2009 at 5:41 am | |

    "This is a cat who really doesnt ever do anything wrong–at least, not how he sees it.:

    Bingo! But ego has nothing to do with True Buddhism. It's just one of those new age buddhist terms. Just like nonattachment wasn't a central teaching of buddhism….until he decided it was afterall.

    It's not that ego has nothing to do with Buddhism, it's that definitions take you further away from the truth of the matter. Brad will not admit to doing wrong just as he will not admit to doing something right. Jundo is all about making things 'right' and avoiding things wrong.. That is fine on some level but it is dualistic and not Buddhism.

  19. gniz
    gniz September 30, 2009 at 5:45 am | |

    btw, when i said "metaphorical story," that doesnt mean I am doubting the authenticity of his story.

    My point was that he was using it as a metaphor for the current situation. I probably stretched the parallels also, but it was interesting to try and make more out of it instead of taking it at face value.

    Looking forward to more episodes of As the Sangha Turns!

  20. Meg
    Meg September 30, 2009 at 6:26 am | |

    So much Buddhist drama, guys. Chill. It's all, how you say, 'Zen' (to misuse the word for the powers of good).

  21. MysteryMonkee
    MysteryMonkee September 30, 2009 at 8:22 am | |

    "i've never in all these years of reading Brad's work, seen him apologize or even admit to regretting a decision such as cheating on his wife. Sorry, he put that out there for public consumption so i dont mind bringing it up. This is a cat who really doesnt ever do anything wrong–at least, not how he sees it."

    …Now read the book again. You'll see that he has admitted he's made wrong choices and that he did regret cheating with his wife…Just because he gives the justifications he used with himself, doesn't mean he condones it.

    ….And having gone through something similar, I can see how not even sleeping in the same room with someone you're married to might make you consider straying…It's a marriage in name only at that point…

  22. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 30, 2009 at 8:34 am | |

    in Jundo's mind, he is a Gandhi-like noble champion of peace (even as he threatens public humiliation and legal action for failing to submit to his 'peaceful' wish for 'just a cup of tea'),

    No, Jundo received some physical threats from a Karate guy, and then was punched pretty good by someone else. He said that he would take legal action if he or his family continued to be threatened, or if the guy who hit him lied and said he had been attacked by Jundo. I would too.

    I know, because I have seen the email and photo.

  23. Corbie
    Corbie September 30, 2009 at 8:36 am | |
  24. gniz
    gniz September 30, 2009 at 8:41 am | |

    Dude, Jundo hasnt said squat about being punched, yet he publishes emails about Brad not coming to tea??

    I highly doubt your story–until someone such as Jundo comes forward or there are pics, something–just shut the hell up about the karate fight….mmmmmkay?

  25. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 30, 2009 at 8:51 am | |

    I have received e-mails such as this:

    > Also unlike you, I am not a transmission-receiving disciple of Buddha with qualifications to transmit his teachings.
    > However I have spend most of my 15 years in Japan training in the "moving zen" of Buddhism-influenced traditional Japanese martial arts, learning and achieving some small proficiency in the effective and practical application of physical violence, with and without weapons.
    >
    > The above is a statement of fact: I imply nothing, though what you may infer is totally up to you.
    > So I request from you one final time: stay away from the retreat.

    (One editorial comment from Jundo: Another fine example of what happens in this Sangha when you teach someone Zazen as the be all and end all of practice and right behavior, and rarely mention "non-violence", "Right Action/Right Speech" and the rest of the Precepts very often or much. You have a fine "Junior Dogen Sanghite" growing there … he will fit right into this mean and warring club when he is fully grown).

  26. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 30, 2009 at 9:12 am | |

    holy fuck!

  27. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 30, 2009 at 9:46 am | |

    If you can't afford a "real" Beta Capsule,
    chrome toilet paper holders work just as well.

    When I was a kid, I thought it was called
    a "Bator Capsule", but that probably had
    to do with the crappy TV reception we got
    for Channel 19 in Buffalo. Maybe we needed
    a better pair of rabbit ears.

    BTW, besides Ultraman, my favorite shows
    were Warner Bros. cartoons…
    Plus a change, plus c'est la mme chose.

  28. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 30, 2009 at 9:47 am | |

    That's all someone's imagination.. Nothing happened.

  29. gniz
    gniz September 30, 2009 at 9:54 am | |

    If he received that email, he SHOULD publish it, along with that person's information, because its clearly a threat of physical violence. And if he was then attacked, case closed.

    Smells like bullshit to me, but whateva. If people are physically threatening and attacking Jundo, thats really pretty reprehensible–way beyond the petty stuff we've been talking about thus far.

    And furthermore, if i found out that this stuff did happen and Brad didnt speak out against it, I would personally boycott his blog and would not buy any of his books in the future.

  30. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 30, 2009 at 10:09 am | |

    Perhaps Dogen Sangha International
    should change its name to Warner Bros.

    And while they're at it, they could
    replace patron saint Dogen with the
    greatest of all Bodhisattvas: Mel Blanc!

  31. Corbie
    Corbie September 30, 2009 at 10:18 am | |

    Photos can be faked, too (as can emails).

    The issue of whether a fight actually took place aside — why is Jundo hanging out where he isn't wanted? Why not just go away and do his own thing? He has an online community of people who like him, so I don't see what he stands to gain from persisting. His behavior puzzles me.

    Although — I once dated a guy who wound up exhibiting this kind of behavior, and I had to get a restraining order against him. Why he didn't go away and bother someone else I never quite understood, except that he took my decision to break off the relationship as some existential threat to his self-image. We previously sat down (at his request) with the assistant pastor of the church we were both attending; he tried to get the pastor to convince me to continue to date him, which obviously didn't work. That's the lens through which I see this conflict, for whatever it's worth. Jundo, for some reason, sees the imprimatur of Dogen Sangha's current head as important enough to him that he's willing to raise a stink about it. As someone on a previous thread said, "You can offer someone the olive branch, but you're not supposed to chase them and beat them with it."

    Lest someone accuse me of being partial, I am not a member of either Jundo's or Brad's sangha, just a curious bystander.

    As Groucho Marx said… :)

  32. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 30, 2009 at 10:27 am | |

    Corbie,

    Jundo has explained his behaviour several times. If you don't like his reasoning, that's up to you, but it's hardly the same thing as your ex-boyfriend.

    And yes photos can be faked, but faked photos are normally very easy to detect.

  33. pkb
    pkb September 30, 2009 at 10:43 am | |

    Hope she doesn't mind, but I'm reposting this from Stephanie since she posted it at the end of the last topic and may have been missed. I think it raises some important points.

    Stephanie said:

    What I see when I look at this recent ruckus between Brad and Jundo is two boys fighting. Freud might draw a parallel to the latency stage, a regression to the childhood era of fantasies of knights and noble superheroes battling it out for the good of the universe. Brad and Jundo each want to be a superhero; in Jundo's mind, he is a Gandhi-like noble champion of peace (even as he threatens public humiliation and legal action for failing to submit to his 'peaceful' wish for 'just a cup of tea'), while in Brad's mind, his Godzilla roar and fiery breath are going to save the world from all false Dharma teachers! This primitive playground battle with sticks as swords has just as little impact on the world of reality as other boys' battles.

    I find this par for the course in the world of Zen, where even the best and brightest teachers, well versed in spiritual phenomena, have demonstrated over and over a blindness to the psychological dynamics of their inner lives. Seeing this sort of thing would cause me to despair over the value of zazen if I hadn't already resolved this matter for myself: knowledge of the absolute nature of reality is not enough to guide a person clearly through life in the world.

  34. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 30, 2009 at 10:56 am | |

    Mel Blanc?

    Everybody knows
    that the greatest of
    all Bodhisattvas is
    R. Crumb

  35. Lauren
    Lauren September 30, 2009 at 11:02 am | |

    I always thought the beta capsule looked like one of those cool pens that had like 24 different inks in it, each with its own lever. At least when I played ultraman (Channel 39 or 26 in Houston, not sure which) that's what I used to transform.

  36. Traveler
    Traveler September 30, 2009 at 12:53 pm | |

    I just finished listening to the Zen is Stupid "Rumors" podcast. I am a Brad Warner fan (and fellow Buckeye), so it was really cool to hear you talking with Gewn and Patrick. I especially loved "Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate". (Helluva title!) I thought it was a great work showing how you've really incorporated Zen into every situation in your life. Very inspiring. I'm working on it, but seem to be taking more steps backward than forward. Anyway, keep writing and I'll keep buying.

  37. Jundo Cohen
    Jundo Cohen September 30, 2009 at 1:29 pm | |

    I love you

  38. Justin
    Justin September 30, 2009 at 3:12 pm | |

    Stephanie said:

    I find this par for the course in the world of Zen, where even the best and brightest teachers, well versed in spiritual phenomena, have demonstrated over and over a blindness to the psychological dynamics of their inner lives. Seeing this sort of thing would cause me to despair over the value of zazen if I hadn't already resolved this matter for myself: knowledge of the absolute nature of reality is not enough to guide a person clearly through life in the world.

    Brilliant! I totally agree! Thank you Stephanie. I think that incorporating practices that DO help with the nitty-gritty may be a good thing to counterbalance this tendency.

  39. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 30, 2009 at 4:59 pm | |

    Corbie,

    Jundo has explained his behaviour several times. If you don't like his reasoning, that's up to you, but it's hardly the same thing as your ex-boyfriend.

    Buddhists of the same Lineage, sharing a common teacher, should share a glass of tea, and sit Zazen together once in a long while to discuss Lineage affairs … and especially if there have been tensions. It is not really a matter of choice, any more than a father or brothers would be justified in not speaking of important family business. A little time can be spared, even once a year.

  40. Hendrik
    Hendrik September 30, 2009 at 5:44 pm | |

    I am sorry and apologize too if I disclosed email that should not have been … it may have been stupid of me to do so, and to be honest, I still do not fully grasp the protocols for 'ccd mail that seemed directly related to the subject. But I apologize.

    Take heart Jundo! I'm sure you'll master these non-existent protocols one day. Meanwhile feel free to post your teacher's private correspondence on the Net.

  41. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 30, 2009 at 6:05 pm | |

    "Brilliant! I totally agree!"

    Geez Justin, You sound like a Guinness commercial..

  42. rencel
    rencel September 30, 2009 at 6:07 pm | |

    I am sorry and apologize too if I disclosed email that should not have been … it may have been stupid of me to do so, and to be honest, I still do not fully grasp the protocols for 'ccd mail that seemed directly related to the subject. But I apologize..

    Sorry, but that is lame beyond belief..

  43. Jean-Claud Van Damme
    Jean-Claud Van Damme September 30, 2009 at 6:34 pm | |

    I am sorry and apologize too if I disclosed email that should not have been … it may have been stupid of me to do so, and to be honest, I still do not fully grasp the protocols for 'ccd mail that seemed directly related to the subject. But I apologize..

    Sorry, but that is lame beyond belief..

    Hey, let's go beat the bastard up.

  44. petorgy
    petorgy September 30, 2009 at 6:40 pm | |

    Posting as Jean-Claud Van Damme is also lame..

  45. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 30, 2009 at 6:55 pm | |

    "No, Jundo received some physical threats from a Karate guy, and then was punched pretty good by someone else. He said that he would take legal action if he or his family continued to be threatened, or if the guy who hit him lied and said he had been attacked by Jundo. I would too.

    I know, because I have seen the email and photo."

    Then bloody prove it!!!

  46. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 30, 2009 at 7:07 pm | |

    "No, Jundo received some physical threats from a Karate guy, and then was punched pretty good by someone else. He said that he would take legal action if he or his family continued to be threatened, or if the guy who hit him lied and said he had been attacked by Jundo. I would too.

    I know, because I have seen the email and photo."

    Ballokes..

  47. unessim
    unessim September 30, 2009 at 7:12 pm | |

    I Hate lawyers.. In an abstract and non-attached way.

  48. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 30, 2009 at 8:18 pm | |

    dude…

    ….

    people still do karate?

  49. TheFalseInstigator
    TheFalseInstigator September 30, 2009 at 8:48 pm | |
  50. SonOfTheInstigator
    SonOfTheInstigator September 30, 2009 at 8:58 pm | |

    Is this really footage of the Yakuza Assassin Brad sent after Jundo?

    YOU Be The Judge!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtOJNijDhTc&feature;=quicklist

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