ZAZEN TOMORROW (Oct. 7, 2006)

First up, there will be a Zazen Class at the Hill Street Center in Santa Monica tomorrow (Sat. Oct. 7, 2006) morning. Details are to your right at the link that says “Weekly Zazen Classes.”

Today I’m going to go record a commentary track for the DVD of “Zen Noir.” The DVD is supposed to be out in November, I think. I’ll let you know when I know.

I was thinking about my last post. I hope I didn’t come off sounding too evangelical. And if you think I did, too bad. I’ve seen the whole “Bodhisattva Vow” thing, which says “living beings are numberless, I vow to save them all,” being used as an excuse for so-called Buddhists to go out and try to convert people. That’s just stupid. There’s a rule of thumb, which I’m sure I’ve quoted here before, that says you should never answer any question about Buddhism unless the questioner asks three times. What that means is you shouldn’t waste time talking about Buddhism to people who aren’t really interested in it. There’s just no point in doing so.

I oughta write more on this subject, but I gotta get to the recording studio. Maybe next time…

14 Responses

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  1. Chris Bogart
    Chris Bogart October 6, 2006 at 3:49 pm | |

    I caught Zen Noir when it was here in Denver. It was fun. I was expecting a detective movie that happened to take place at a zendo, but really it was more of an intro to Zen that used the noir detective thing as a metaphor. It kinda reminded me of What the Bleep Do We Know. It’s surreal and claustrophobic, and the has the feel of a stage performance.

    The director attached some sexual overtones to kyosaku. I found that a little gratuitous; but maybe it would be funny if you had personal experience with the stick. The zendo I go to doesn’t use it, so I’ve only read about it.

  2. Jinzang
    Jinzang October 6, 2006 at 5:21 pm | |

    I don’t understand the difference between telling people about Buddhism and trying to convert them. The bookstore shelves are groaning with Buddhist books, every Buddhist group has its web site, the Dalai Lama and other teachers are constantly touring, yet Buddhists don’t evangelize, only Christians do. I guess anything short of knocking on peoples’ doors or preaching on street corners is not considered evangelism.

  3. cromanyak
    cromanyak October 6, 2006 at 6:00 pm | |

    I think that what’s different about Buddhism is that it doesn’t tell people they need to become Buddhists or else…

  4. Jordan & The Tortoise
    Jordan & The Tortoise October 6, 2006 at 6:08 pm | |

    “was thinking about my last post. I hope I didn’t come off sounding too evangelical. And if you think I did, too bad. I’ve seen the whole “Bodhisattva Vow” thing, which says “living beings are numberless, I vow to save them all,” being used as an excuse for so-called Buddhists to go out and try to convert people. That’s just stupid. There’s a rule of thumb, which I’m sure I’ve quoted here before, that says you should never answer any question about Buddhism unless the questioner asks three times. What that means is you shouldn’t waste time talking about Buddhism to people who aren’t really interested in it. There’s just no point in doing so.”

    Brad, Please clairify this, it seams to contradict “Don’t begrudge the sharing of Buddhist teachings and other things, but give them freely”

    Gassho

  5. The Very Left Reverend
    The Very Left Reverend October 6, 2006 at 8:54 pm | |

    “There’s a rule of thumb, which I’m sure I’ve quoted here before, that says you should never answer any question about Buddhism unless the questioner asks three times.”

    There’s a similar proverb in the Jewish faith as well. Sound advice.

  6. Lone Wolf
    Lone Wolf October 6, 2006 at 9:12 pm | |

    Converting is just plain stupid.

    I hate when people try to convert me to their religon. I remember how I felt like telling everybody about Buddhism when I first got involved, which I call the Honeymoon stage. Man was I irritating.

    I also got sick of people saying, “You know your going to Hell right” or “Do you know the blood of Jesus”, or “Why don’t you stick with your OWN religon,” (that last one is realy annoying).

    I’m realy glad that Buddhism doesn’t advocate conversion, and I’m glad it doesn’t have a dogmatic blind faith to ramble on about to people and try to get them to believe in my dogma, so I can belive it. Conversion is all about a lack of faith. If you have real faith, there is no reason to try and force your opinion on others.

    Christians who whine and gripe about being ridiculed for their religion, and not being able to put the 10 comandments on every block of the U.S., also get on my nerves. Some of these Christians talk about not being able to practice their faith in schools and how they are being opressed, but it wouldn’t be a problem if they were not always trying to cram the Gospel of Christ down everyones throat.

    Conversion causes many problems, I would even go far as to say converts cause useless wars.

    I never talk about Buddhism to hardly anyone, unless they ask, and even then I am a bit reluctant.

  7. Dan
    Dan October 7, 2006 at 6:54 am | |

    if anyone asks me about buddhism i just describe the act of zazen and basically just tell them how to do it if they want to. not that they will of course but i feel more comfortable and less preachy just sticking to talking about the literal act of zazen than any of the buddhist philosophy.

  8. Dan
    Dan October 7, 2006 at 7:01 am | |

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  9. Matt
    Matt October 7, 2006 at 2:36 pm | |

    I dunno, I recall a time or two when I’ve been coaching some kids and they had problems focusing on something, so I basically settled them down and had them work on their breathing, told them not to think so much, and try the technique again in a few minutes, but in the meantime, just sit there and don’t worry about stuff so much. I didn’t say “y’know in Buddhism we have this thing…”

    That’s my understanding of how that works. The kids needed the help, I was out of options, so I tried relating a Buddhist technique/concept to them. If some day they become attracted to a meditative system such as Buddhism, so be it. In the meantime, I think I helped them. In THAT sense, I felt they were “asking” about it. But I would never say “y’know if you were a Buddhist you wouldn’t have this problem…” I don’t think you can talk in those terms realistically anyway.

    Peace!
    matt

  10. kshingo
    kshingo October 7, 2006 at 6:26 pm | |

    “Conversion is all about a lack of faith. If you have real faith, there is no reason to try and force your opinion on others.”

    Yes, I see this too. Lately tho, I’m feeling very frustrated with the world and wishing I could somehow effect change… open minds and hearts. I feel pretty helpless about it and remember in the Diamond Sutra where it talks about Bodhisattvas not seeing a bunch of screwed up beings… so I guess I still have a lot of sitting and opening of my own heart and mind to do. But it’s painfully hard to be quiet sometimes and let things unfold naturally.

    P.S. Has anyone looked at the sky tonight? Awesome!!!

    kshingo

  11. oxeye
    oxeye October 8, 2006 at 6:17 am | |

    lonewolf, read So Daiho Hilbert’s post “the hard work” at the zen living blog. there is a link to the right. it speaks to some of the issues that people, christians and buddhists, have with emotional attachment to their particular beliefs.

  12. oxeye
    oxeye October 8, 2006 at 6:19 am | |

    the link is on the flapping mouths blog.

  13. yudo
    yudo October 8, 2006 at 2:17 pm | |

    A couple of things.
    Brad, a few months ago, you wrote to me in answer to a query “why would anyone want to read such crap”.
    I’d say, one ought not to be proud of oneself and devalue others, yet, I’d also say, one ought not to devalue oneself, and be proud of others… Middle Way…
    About conversion, it is true that people want the more to convert oghers because, at an unconscious level, they feel non-believing to be a threat. The believing process is generally one of “wanting to” believe, because, “if it were true” it’d be so great. But the doubt that keeps creeping in is so gnawing that those try to erase it, by either erasing any recall of that doubt, or, eventually, erasing any recallER of that doubt.

    The better approach, I think, is to tell them that, as Christians or whatever, they can benefit, at least in part, of the buddhist teachings, ’cause you don’t need to be a buddhist to make good use of them.
    Finally, i think we ought not begrudge the sharing of Buddhist teachings and other things, but give them freely, and yet at the same time, exercise some necessary prudence.
    For that reason, I use a lot an approach very similar to that outlined by Matt. Especially if the kids do sports: I outline to them the sate they’re in when they’re at their best in sports, which they also can reach in their other activities.

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