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!

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85 Responses

Page 2 of 2
  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 30, 2009 at 9:10 pm |

    Gudo Nishijima on thinking:
    (From a recent blog entry)

    "In my case I make my efforts to avoid thinking and feeling in Zazen, and so the cosmic mudra does not have any connection with thinking and feeling."

    This seems to be very different from what Brad teaches. Where no effort should be made to stop thoughts and feelings since the thoughts and feelings themselves are zazen.

  2. Justin
    Justin September 30, 2009 at 11:43 pm |


    I would qualify though, that sitting zazen for 20+ years, even having having great insights into 'emptiness' or 'suchness' simply isn't a guarantee of wisdom about 'the psychological dynamics of their inner lives'. It may depend on the specifics of the practice, individual character and how the practice is applied in life.

  3. Justin
    Justin September 30, 2009 at 11:51 pm |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Justin
    Justin October 1, 2009 at 1:31 am |

    Geez Justin, You sound like a Guinness commercial..

    You find my use of language here 'uncool' in some way? OK.

  5. Anonymous
    Anonymous October 1, 2009 at 4:00 am |

    Justin, on the contrary.. Brilliant!

  6. Justin
    Justin October 1, 2009 at 4:13 am |


  7. Anonymous
    Anonymous October 1, 2009 at 5:11 am |

    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.

    And those who have been insulted should do as if nothing had happened…


  8. Anonymous
    Anonymous October 1, 2009 at 5:13 am |
  9. Anonymous
    Anonymous October 1, 2009 at 5:15 am |

    And those who have been insulted should do as if nothing had happened…


    And those who have been punched should just fall down

  10. Anonymous
    Anonymous October 1, 2009 at 5:30 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.

    Unfortunately, this wasn't the end of the story either.

  11. Book Critic
    Book Critic October 1, 2009 at 5:46 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.

    If you read "Dipped in Karma" closely, you will find that most every "confession" is really very self serving. In every single case, Brad does not come across as looking so bad, like in the circumstances you mention where he emphasizes that he only cheated when the marriage was already over long over and his wife had cheated on him first. There are dozens of other excuses like that, in which the "sin" he confesses turns out not to be such a sin at all or have a reason about it. It is a "coming clean" where somehow the laundry turns out not to have been so dirty.

    No problem there, but Brad only tells half the story in many cases, and that's the part that just stops short of making him look bad. If you read the book closely, and know a little about Brad, you will find that again and again. Even if you don't know Brad, you can see it in the way he tells the stories and the language he uses which always some justifies Brad's actions in the end.

    I like the book, in that Brad makes a Zen master look human. Great, but he does it by covering up the real stink with perfume.

    "Dipped in Karma" should have been called "Dipped in Shit"

  12. Anonymous
    Anonymous October 1, 2009 at 8:36 am |

    A monk asked Ummon, "What is Buddha?"

    Ummon replied, "Kanshiketsu!"

    (kan – dry; shi- shit; ketsu- stick)

  13. Anonymous
    Anonymous October 1, 2009 at 9:06 am |

    –If the writing was meant to conceal the bad, Book Critic, then how did you manage to read bad things into it?

    –Well, dude, because his attempt to conceal it is even badder!

    –Maybe he was being even-handed. Can't one be even-handed with oneself, or should Mr Warner have exaggerated his badness, bigged-up the bad, man!

    –But he concealed it, it really was that badder! He cheated!

    –Cheated? What do you mean?

    –He had relations outside of marriage, and other stuff.

    –I know, he wrote that.

    –But afterwards he tried to convince me, the world, everyone that it wasn't THAT BAD! That's bad, more bad.

    –Where you convinced?


    –About what?

    –I'm not not convince that he's telling the truth about himself, in my opinion…Hey, this isn't me, you're just putting words into my mouth. That's not fair. I'm more than some guy you wrote a comment on here, you know.

    –Okay, sorry. That was was bad of me.

  14. jundo cohen
    jundo cohen October 1, 2009 at 9:24 am |

    So I was in my room and I was just like staring at the wall thinking about everything. But then again I was thinking about nothing. And then Brad came in and I didn't even know he was there. He called my name and I didn't hear him and then he started screaming: Jundo! Jundo!
    And I go:
    What, what's the matter?
    He goes:
    What's the matter with you?
    I go:
    There's nothing wrong Brad.
    He's all:
    Don't tell me that, you're on drugs!
    I go:
    No Brad I'm not on drugs I'm okay, I was just sitting you know, why don't you get me a cup of tea.
    He goes:
    NO you're on drugs!
    I go:
    Brad, I'm okay, I'm just sitting.
    He goes:
    No you're not sitting, you're on drugs! Normal people don't be acting that way!
    I go:
    Brad, just get me some tea, please
    All I want is some tea, and he wouldn't give it to me
    All I wanted was some tea, just one cup of tea, and he wouldn't give it to me.
    Just a cup of tea.

    They give you a white shirt with long sleeves
    Tied around you're back, you're treated like thieves
    Drug you up because they're lazy
    It's too much work to help a crazy

    I'm not crazy – Institutionalized
    You're the one who's crazy – Institutionalized
    You're driving me crazy – Institutionalized
    They stuck me in an institution,
    Said it was the only solution,
    to give me the needed professional help,
    to protect me from the enemy – Myself

  15. rephoo
    rephoo October 1, 2009 at 10:05 am |

    Benson Woodworking Company Inc
    Walpole, NH

  16. Anonymous
    Anonymous October 1, 2009 at 10:50 am |

    Either that was an imposter using Jundo Cohen as their moniker or Jundo's lost it completely.

  17. Anonymous
    Anonymous October 1, 2009 at 10:57 am |

    When real Jundo comments it's got his signature picture. I think the rant came from an impostor.

  18. MysteryMonkeeFrend
    MysteryMonkeeFrend October 1, 2009 at 11:14 am |

    Book Critic,
    Do YOU know Brad?…'cause I actually do…I mean, literally.
    So, how much do you know about the situation? Have you ever lived through a situation like that? How much do you REALLY know about Brad outside his books and this blog.

    I think you make an unfair assessment, as well as having a misnomer- you criticized me and Brad, not the book.

  19. Anonymous
    Anonymous October 1, 2009 at 11:18 am |

    Wow…I doubt that last Jundo post was really him, but, man! If it was, I can find you a good shrink, buddy.

    ..And get up and get your own damn tea if your so thirsty, whoever you are!

  20. Observant
    Observant October 1, 2009 at 11:19 am |

    I know, not exactly a book review was it MysteryMonkee. It is so easy for people to be critics and judge the lives of others. Also something very odd about people overly concerned and involved in what they take to be the lives of others.

  21. Kyla
    Kyla October 1, 2009 at 12:01 pm |

    I'm thinking about the issue of sitting and it was talked about in the last blog with regards to sitting regularly, sitting for 20 years etc. And I would like to add that like another commentator mentioned, one can come to lose all expectations, and for me that doesn't mean one doesn't have thoughts or opinions but it could mean that I might be more likely to question my opinions, assumptions and beliefs about myself and others. More importantly about myself because often how I treat others is a reflection of what I really think of myself whether I acknowledge it or not. Nor do I think, at this time, being so new really to sitting, that it is a one way ticket to being some "better" me where I treat myself and others better, with more respect. I think sitting could really affect that in a meaningful way but I also think I have to make an effort in life, during the times when I'm not sitting thinking how great it is that I'm sitting. I have to be conscious of it when I'm working, relating to my boyfriend, co-workers, our clients and making comments here. It sound quite preachy, but I have to stop and see if my action is really what I truly want to be doing, is this just some knee jerk reaction? Am I just being a jerk here? Really look at these kind of things for myself. Growth and moving away from habitual behaviours takes effort and I can see that sitting is a part of that but I am not sure it is the whole. It's a journey I guess (that was so lame, I know).

  22. gniz
    gniz October 1, 2009 at 12:27 pm |


    Funny…i thought your last post was the opposite of lame. it was simple and true and all too easy to ignore, because its not exciting.

    But i agree with you for what its worth (not much around here, i'm sure)…

  23. Justin
    Justin October 1, 2009 at 12:28 pm |

    Nice insights Kyla

  24. Stuart
    Stuart October 1, 2009 at 12:35 pm |

    gniz wrote…
    > This is a cat who really doesnt
    > ever do anything wrong–at
    > least, not how he sees it.

    A point of logic: if someone rarely/never appologizes, it doesn't necessarily follow that he doesn't ever do wrong, or thinks that he never does wrong.

    If you realize that you've done bad action to someone in the past, the most important thing is to not repeat such action in the present. Or if possible even do action that corrects the lingering effects of the past mistake.

    In other words, it may be an alternative to concentrate totally on doing my best in the present, rather than regretting actions in the past.

    In a friendship or romantic relationship, if you act harshly, counteracting the lingering affects may often require apologizing to the person affected. I'm not so sure that apologies in public, open to groups of people you're not friendly or intimate with, are effective as often.

    On a separate topic: in US law anyway, a contract is only valid if there's what's called "consideration," that is, both sides must be offering something.

    So if I swear up and down, orally or on paper, that I'll mow your lawn every week, that may be a promise, but it's NOT a valid contract. If I fail to follow through, you've got no case. If we agree that you'll pay me 20 bucks each week for mowing your lawn, then (whether the agreement is written or oral) we have a valid contract that can be enforced in court.


  25. Anonymous
    Anonymous October 1, 2009 at 12:45 pm |

    um, I hope you folks following along at home pick up that the last Jundo imposter's post was a parody of the Suicidal Tendencies song, Institutionalized.

  26. Jinzang
    Jinzang October 1, 2009 at 1:44 pm |

    Do you know who else liked to drink tea? HITLER!!!

  27. Mike Cross
    Mike Cross October 1, 2009 at 2:38 pm |

    Speaking for myself, I reacted emotionally against James Cohen from the very first word of his that I read. I have never met James Cohen in person. But I formed an image of who he was, an image that gave an external form to my deepest unconscious fears about myself — for example, being a pretentious fraud — and I disparaged James Cohen on the basis of my immature emotional reaction. That is something I did, and I regret it. If my disparagement of James Cohen hurt him, I should apologize to him, and I do apologize to him.

    This might be as good a place as any to say: I am sorry, James Cohen, that I disparaged you because of deep-seated doubt in myself.

  28. jundo cohen
    jundo cohen October 1, 2009 at 6:48 pm |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  29. jundo cohen
    jundo cohen October 1, 2009 at 6:58 pm |

    To Ven. Mike Cross,

    I apologize for all I ever have done, thought or said to you too.

    I will write you. The past is gone.

    I am sorry if my words to you in the past contained acid or anger, and caused you to have bad feelings towards me in any way. I am sorry if I hurt you too in any way.

    Next year, when I come to the UK, I hope that we can meet for the first time.


  30. Anonymous
    Anonymous October 1, 2009 at 9:44 pm |

    You two really need to share some tea and zazen, and possibly a room.

  31. Anonymous
    Anonymous October 1, 2009 at 10:29 pm |

    Awww, 'scuze me I think I got something in my eye.

  32. Anonymous
    Anonymous October 2, 2009 at 10:50 am |

    Achtung! Time to drink tea and sing


    Disparage this, MUTHAFUCKAAAAA!!!

  33. Stuart
    Stuart October 2, 2009 at 1:18 pm |

    In the school I practice with, we say that you can help people by
    (1) giving them what they need or want. When it's not possible or appropriate to give them something physical, you can help by
    (2) speaking kindly to them. When kind words don't help, you can alternately
    (3) teach them the Dharma. And if that won't work, you can
    (4) act together with them. The main virtue of this option is that it builds trust, so that in the future, if a situation arises where he IS ready to learn Dharma, he'll listen to you.

    Apologies seem to mostly fall into category (2). Perhaps I've underestimated their value. In any case, what's been written here gives me a chance to look at the matter.


  34. Anonymous
    Anonymous October 5, 2009 at 1:36 pm |

    Are you wearing a blouse under you robes?

  35. May Chong
    May Chong October 14, 2009 at 8:03 pm |

    Late and OT commenter is late and OT!

    I grew up on dubbed Ultras, and the court case Mr. Warner details cut me off from Ultraman books for years just as I was getting back into the fandom; it also destroyed any chance I was going to root for That Particular Company. Being reminded that the case is still being fought (still? oy vey) was a little bittersweet.

    It is, however, good to know the guy who had to answer the questions coming from that strange kid over the other side of the puddle is still doing OK. At least, I certainly hope he is! 🙂

Comments are closed.