Today is the final day for the Zombie Bounty Hunter M.D. Festival Fundraiser. I’ve been too mopey about Logan dying and been running around too much to do much promotion on this.
But Logan loved the movie and I do too. It’s the twisted tale of a group of folks who stumble upon a real zombie invasion. Instead of doing something to help, they decide to film the attacks and put them up on the Internet to try to get famous. Then they hire Brad Morningstar, Zen priest and author of Zen Is Hardcore, and Zen Dipped in Butterscotch to help lend credibility to their cause. I play Brad Morningstar.
It’s a commentary of false altruism, phony religious posturing, and the general obsession with fame these days. It’s also really funny and has cool music from Spindrift, the Buzz Clic Adventure (featuring Buzz from Rubber City Rebels), and yours truly.
The fundraiser is to try to get the movie into some film festivals. Film festivals are a total racket. The quality of a movie counts for very little. And major Hollywood studios are infiltrating independent film festivals with product backed by multi-million dollar campaigns. True independent films like Zombie Bounty Hunter M.D. have to compete against all kind of folks with tremendously unfair advantages.
You can also get all kinds of groovy perks for contributing.
Let’s see if we can reach our goal in the next 20 hours. Thanks!
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I’ve been thinking more about what I said last time. I think it’s important in Buddhism to have a teacher. I don’t think it’s important or even necessary to be someone’s student.
There should be no sense of submission involved. It’s not a D/s relationship. One of the many reasons I don’t like the term “Zen Master” is because of the word “master” and all that it implies.
I’m not certain how I would react if someone ever asked me to be their teacher rather than asking to become my student. I suppose I can be anyone’s teacher if someone learns something from me. I often refer to Tim McCarthy and Gudo Nishijima as my teachers, yet I’ve never referred to myself as their student. There is an interesting difference in nuance.
For what that’s worth.
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If you have anything left to donate to me after donating to the movie, I’m always happy to get it. It helps a lot! Donations to this blog account for between 1/3 and 1/2 of my annual income.
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Nov 1-2: Retreat in Utrecht, Netherlands
Nov. 2: Movie screening in Utrecht, Netherlands at ACU
Nov 6-8: Retreat in Hebden Bridge, UK
Nov 9: Noon — 5pm Manchester, UK
Dec. 5-7 Three-Day Zazen and Yoga Retreat at Mt. Baldy (near Los Angeles, CA)
EVENTS YOU ALREADY MISSED
Oct. 1 Turku Panimoravintola Koulu, Finland- Movie screening
Oct. 2 Helsinki, Finland — Lecture Event
Oct. 3-5 Helsinki, Finland Zen retreat at Helsinki Zen Center
Oct. 6 Movie Screening in Espoo, Finland
Oct. 8 Lecture in Munich, Germany
Oct. 10-11 Retreat in Munich, Germany
Oct. 12-17 Retreat at Benediktushof near WÃ¼rzburg, Germany
Oct 18 8:00am — 6:00pm Retreat in Bonn, Germany
Oct. 19 4:00pm 3 SchÃ¤tze Shop Bonn, Germany
Oct 20 Lecture in Hamburg, Germany
Oct 24: Lecture/Movie screening in Groningen, Netherlands
Oct 25: Day-long zazen in Groningen, Netherlands
Oct 26: Movie screening in Eindhoven, Netherlands at Natlab
Oct 27: Evening zazen in Eindhoven, Netherlands
Oct 28: Evening zazen in Nijmegen, Netherlands
Oct 30: Book signing in Utrecht, Netherlands at “De wijze kater” bookstore from 19.00-21.00 ( Mariaplaats 1, Utrecht)
Oh Brad! Sometimes you’re too much of a tetratrichotomist…
I’ve enjoyed interacting with many different Zen teachers, but I don’t think I would want to call myself a ‘student’ of any one teacher. (Except Brad. He’s the bomb.)
Oooh I hope I get to $ee it vvhen you are a famou$ actor. Thi$ vvay of making the broken key$ vvork i$ pretty cool. I make more money than a zen teacher but it $till i$nt that much.
The difference between having a teacher and being a $tudent i$ interesting. I vvould make a crappy $tudent. I don’t $k question, I have conversation. Maybe it i partially that I had a teacher and I did not do everything that he vvanted, he vva$ a great teacher, human, a pain in the rear, and I argued directly. Crappy $tudent, hovvever he vva$ my teacher.
I need a nevv keyboard,
There’s a misconception that “Master” cannot also be “Sub” and vice versa. In fact, one can, for example, be one who pours the drinks and is Toastmaster, who simply raises a glass and makes a short speech, and also simultaneously be the Toastmaster General, with full rank and privileges.
Seriously, its all perspective and labeling and if you get caught up in all that, as Brad has, you are exhibiting the inner conflict of thinking you are one thing or another when there is neither/both to (not) consider.
A “Student” is one who has not realized that he/she is also “Master.” One cannot learn from or “Master” anyone but oneself. Once that realization occurs, if the labels still hold “meaning” there will still be no satisfaction (hence conflicted Brad) until the whole illusion of a dichotomy is dropped.
What was it Dogen said about that “dropping” part again?
“Master” is a mere deformation of the latin “magister” which in turn merely means “teacher”. Why has the word assumed the meaning of “dominus” (which I hardly need to explain) ?
Because in the Roman times, a teacher was practically always a private one. The “domini” (householders) who sent their children to a magister would give those total power of coercition upon the children, including (and recommended) beating them whenever they were either disobedient, unruly or not attentive. Pictures of teachers caning a pupil, the latter held by other pupils, have come through to us, and pupils are still treated thus in North Africa in the Coranic schools.
This is how, progressively, the meaning of authority has passed from “dominus” to “magister”.
But that doesn’t mean, in my mind, that one has to drop the word, just because a parassitic meaning has come to adhere to it.
We just have to be very clear that the binomial set is NOT “master/slave” but well “master/student”.
The idea of being a student is in no way derogatory. What I find really “cool” with my trade, is that, at 66, I get to learn things just as if I were 16.
Maybe that, being a student WITH someone is not the same as being a student OF someone. But I remember that Zen sergeant of some Zen “uncle” of mine who, as I mentioned that in 2005, I lost, over a period of six months, one relative or friend per month, scolded me saying: “They were not yours!” Of course they were not “mine”! Damn foolish woman! But they were people I knew, and that was the meaning of “mine”, not that they were my personal possession.
Speaking of movies, I watched this http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/witching_and_bitching/ last night and LOVED it!
what about the idea of just being a ‘mentor’ and getting over this teacher-student concepts?
This thread could use some mentors.
But Mentor is just the personal name of Telemachus’ teacher! (in the Odyssea)
In the U.S.A, we call ’em all “roshi”. My understanding is that “roshi” is not used so pervasively to describe a Zen teacher in Japan. I wonder why its use became “de rigueur” in America; my guess is that it’s a way for people to put distance between themselves and someone else whose mojo is particular strong.
I took up the guitar and learned to dance, to channel the attraction I felt toward rock and roll into my own theater of discovery. I think my sitting practice came about largely in response to the same kind of attraction with regard to the teachings of Zen.
In the U.S.A., Soto Zen teachers offer dokusan. My understanding is that dokusan is not offered in Soto temples as a matter of course in Japan, but an interview with the teacher can be arranged by request. This is to me a reflection of the fact that everyone must teach themselves, and for teachers to offer dokusan as a matter of course in the West is likely to result in a confusion on the part of those who come to sit with such a teacher. Maybe a disclaimer along with the offer is in order!
Maybe it’s all the stoners:
“Jesus said to His disciples: Make a comparison to Me and tell Me who I am like. Simon Peter said to Him: Thou art like a righteous angel. Matthew said to Him: Thou art like a wise man of understanding. Thomas said to Him: Master, my mouth will not at all be capable of saying whom Thou art like. Jesus said: I am not thy Master, because thou hast drunk, thou hast from the bubbling spring which I have measured out. And He took him, He withdrew, He spoke three words to him.
Now when Thomas came to his companions, they asked him: What did Jesus say to thee? Thomas said to them: If I tell you one of the words which He said to me, you will take up stones and throw at me; and fire will come from the stones and burn you up.”
(The Gospel According to Thomas, coptic text established and translated by A. Guillaumont, H.-CH. Puech, G. Quispel, W. Till and Yassah ‘Abd Al Masih, pg 9 log. 13, ©1959 E. J. Brill)
Of course, Jesus lost it in the temple and was subsequently hung out to dry, and all Thomas ever left us was a parchment (and some enclaves in south India), while Peter went on to build a great church whose bishops even today guard the knowledge of good and evil as though it were their own.
Just goes to show,
I’ve been following the back and forth between Jundo Cohen and Brian Victoria over at Sweeping Zen for a while now, and I must say that I think Jundo has done an admirable job in picking through Victoria’s misrepresentations.
I have not been Jundo Cohen’s greatest fan over the years, but in this area I really feel that his efforts deserve the widest possible audience.
Especially his more recent examination of Mr Victoria’s misrepresentation of kodo sawaki. http://sweepingzen.com/zen-at-war-brian-victoria-throwing-bombs-at-kodo-by-jundo-cohen/
From a quick perusal over at Zen Forum International, where Jundo Cohen no longer posts, I get the distinct impression that these efforts have been, and may yet will be, dismissed too readily. I think in part this is due to a perception of Jundo from how he has expressed himself on this (and maybe other) issues in the past.
In 2010 in “Brian Victoria and the Question of Scholarship” by KemmyÅ Taira SatÅ in collaboration with Thomas Kirchner (Pdf over at Zensite), the author has these things to say about Victoria’s scholarship:
From the intro (my bold)
“The point of my article was not to excuse Japanese Buddhism’s record during this unhappy period, but to set the record straight on what Suzuki, as an individual, actually said and did at that time, as well as to point out questionable arguments and techniques Victoria used in his critique. In his response Victoria not only fails to address most of the major issues I discuss, but also ignores substantive questions concerning his scholarship. I understand why Victoria might desire to avoid discussion of such issues, but they reflect on the credibility of his entire attack on Suzuki and must therefore be dealt with. The most basic of these issues, and the one most disturbing to readers I have heard from, concerns Victoria’s use of sources.
How a scholar employs quoted passages and other data is not a minor issue that will go away if ignored. It is indicative of a scholar’s integrity, providing a gauge of his or her attitude toward the academic endeavor as a whole. Since few readers can take the time to check a scholar’s sources, especially those in foreign languages, readers depend on scholars to accurately represent the passages they cite in support of their arguments, arguments that are trustworthy only to the extent that they are true to the material upon which they are based. The scholar’s responsibility is especially great in a case such as this, which involves an attack on a person’s reputation. What is a reader to conclude, then, if the evidence on which the attack is based turns out to have been seriously misrepresented?”
And from the conclusion:
“I can only conclude that Suzuki has been similarly treated. Victoria’s attack on Suzuki, if I may be permitted to conclude this article with a personal opinion, has taken on the character of an obsessed holy war of Victoria’s own, in which Suzuki, as the best-known proponent of Zen, must be discredited by any means possible. True, Victoria forthrightly admits that his present article presents a negative view of Suzuki. However, so do Zen at War and every other article Victoria has written on the subject. Victoria questions Suzuki’s intentions, but what are his? Why the determination to see only the negative in Suzuki, even in the case of passages that reveal the man in a very positive light when read in their entirety? Why the refusal to consider the full context and complexity of Suzuki’s work on subjects like Bushido? And why, I find myself asking, the contemptuous tone of so many of Victoria’s comments on Suzuki and his writings? If there is a sound case against Suzuki, then it can be made with solid scholarly arguments; there should be no need to resort to repeated and unexplained misrepresentations of Suzuki’s words, attempts to lodge capital charges against him for “crimes” like having dinner with an aristocrat friend, or claims that he should have subjected himself to imprisonment and execution. Suzuki’s work, let alone the greater issue of why the Zen establishment went so far in supporting the militarist government during WWII, deserves far better, balanced treatment.”
It seems that with Kodo Sawaki, the same criticisms against Victoria and the same non responses by him to the central points of those criticisms are continuing. People may point to some things that Victoria has since corrected about Suzuki, and yet the major points of contention about his methodology have not and he has gone on to make claims about Suzuki being some kind of Nazi collaborator.
I’m glad that David Loy has since reconsidered the backing he gave to Zen at War, and I’m sure Robert Aitken would have had a few extra things to say on the matter too, had he still been alive.
This might not be as juicy as the Sasaki affair, but considering how Mr Victoria’s ‘passionate’ book Zen at War has been used by a wider audience, I feel this is not only an important issue, but one in which some similar dynamics might be at play.
On the comments section to Brian Victoria’s latest attempt to cobble together some PR and evade the core criticisms ‘(The End of a Zen (Buddhist) Myth’), I noticed this exchange:
Genjo Marinelli (friend Of Brian Victoria):
“I am certainly not a scholar, but I think both Brian and Jundo bring valuable information and translations to light. I am immensely grateful to them both. I find where they do agree to be very telling and where they disagree to be very thought provoking. ”
Judo Cohen (not my friend!):
I respect you very much, but do you think your comment shows sufficient respect and appreciation for the ethics of misrepresenting information, taking quotes out of context and hiding information from readers? Does one have to be a scholar to consider that wrong action?”
In this seemingly innocuous exchange, I was left wondering at Abbot Marinelli’s reason for posting in the first place, and to be honest I’m very suspicious of all this cuddlesome buddhisty rhetoric of showing how we’re so very grateful and respectful to all and sundry and can see both sides etc etc. Never mind the ‘I am certainly no scholar’ cop-out.
But beyond the mates of Brian thing, I’m starting to wonder if the Buddhist community have become a little too cowed by the core issues presented in Zen At War, and have since turned into enablers for Mr Victoria’s persistent desire to rubbish the reputations of teachers in highly suspect ways.
The notion that Victoria’s efforts in this area are simply errors or that this is just a matter of healthy scholarly debate between reasonable and rational protagonists no longer washes with me at all.
There are only so many times that someone can evade very pertinent criticisms and in a way already predicted by those making the criticisms, due to the persistence of the means of evasion and distortion.
Mr Victoria insinuates that Jundo Cohen and others criticizing his writing are only doing so to protect those who were connected to Sawaki and in doing so ropes Nishijima into his crooked PR.
Now, I understand that this is just not important to a lot of folk. But if it is, I hope – if you haven’t already – that you check out Jundo’s detailed summary critique, the comments sections, and then Brian’s response.
correction Jundo Cohen – not Judo! (although perhaps that’s a better name at the mo).
It is unfortunately a common thing that people get carried away by something they have discovered. Glory comes, and it is exceedingly difficult to let go of glory. All those who have known some ephemeral glory will repeat the same: it is a drug, and you’d do anything to get it again.
So you make a book about something which deserved to be said, it has some wild success, and you’d do anything to repeat that. But that often entails not being very careful, and if someone tells you that, you resent it, and just go forth, harder and harder.
It’s always a bit sad.
No, it’s all cardboard. The sense forms that is. Then there’s this misty gump of a mental nature. It’s in relation to the cardboard, bound by a ligament of pleasure or displeasure. The ‘I’ is in that gump. It’s so easy to hold. But it’s the same as the cardboard, just occurring. Thinking it shouldn’t be present has propped the I. It occurs. What is that word translated as ‘fermentations’?
Oh no! The zombies have taken the Senate!
Waking Up: Sam Harris and Dan Harris, The Flying Vipassana Brothers.
Sam Harris is very outspoken- I enjoyed his exposition until he tried to describe how it’s possible to see yourself as having no head. He’s missing what Blanke and Mohr hypothesize, that the feeling of a self is actually a function of the vestibular, proprioceptive, and ocular senses. I emailed him.
“When we find this place, this action is inevitably realized as the Universe. When we find this way, this action is inevitably the realized Universe [itself]. ”
When you realize that the universe is realizing itself, does it matter if you have
no head, or neuroreceptive feedback, or it’s all cardboard, or a student or a teacher?
I believe the feeling he was describing occurs with the distinction of the function of the vestibular sense, the proprioceptive sense, and the gravitational sense from the function of the ocular sense. The rest is as he described, but the specifics of what’s involved in that experience that he gave were not sufficient, as far as I’m concerned.
And everybody who hasn’t read my last write will say, how can that have anything to do with the practice of Zen, that’s a total head trip! Well, yes; but if I add that where you feel you are right at this moment, you might have no head, you would really think I was– Sam Harris.
Oh you’re way ahead of me then Fred :o) I think I was just having a dim insight that my not liking people or things is a phenomena that’s not me.
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