Frank Zappa’s House

ZappaHouse2Frank Zappa’s house is up for auction on eBay. Alex Winter, Bill S. Preston from the Bill and Ted movies, is making a documentary about Frank Zappa and the Zappa family is giving their full cooperation. As part of their efforts to make the documentary happen, they are letting Alex auction off their family home.

When I heard about this it occurred to me that the former Zappa family home would be the absolute most perfect place in the whole world to have a Zen center. Frank Zappa was one of my early gateways into Zen. I never heard Zappa speak openly about Zen, but I’ve heard a few whispers that he was secretly into the philosophy and may have even practiced. But mostly it was because my first Zen teacher and I bonded over our mutual love of Frank Zappa’s music and no bullshit outlook toward life.

But I don’t have $9,000,000. So I’m not able to place a bid.

I’m just putting this out there on the off chance that someone reading this blog does have $9,000,000. Or that nine of you have one million each you’d like to pool together. Or some combination like that.

Here’s what I’d do if you bought me the Zappa house.

I would live in the guest cottage in the back. I’m not sure exactly what it’s like. But my current apartment is a little under 500 square feet and I manage pretty well with that much space. I figure the cottage has got to be at least that big, which is plenty for me.

Then I’d set the rest of the place up as a Zen practice space. There would be a Buddha hall, a zendo, a library, and all the rest of the stuff any Zen center has.

There might be zoning issues, but we could deal with those as they came up. The center would be fairly low key. After all, I’m no Dalai Lama or Thich Nhat Hanh. I’m not even a Noah Levine. Meaning I am not really all that popular. I’m guessing we’d get between 10 and 30 people showing up for regular sittings. Which wouldn’t put too much stress on the neighbors. And we certainly would not be loud or unruly.

Dogen Sangha Los Angeles is incorporated as a 501(c)3 religious nonprofit. So if you buy me the Zappa house I’m pretty sure you can write off the whole nine million on your taxes. We can check that out easily. So that ought to be some kind of incentive.

I am totally serious about this. I’m not delusional enough to think that it’s any kind of a sure thing this will happen just by my putting it out there. But if I don’t put it out there, it’s a sure thing it won’t.

In the end, karma is the deciding factor. If it’s meant to happen it’ll happen. If it’s not, it won’t. Either way is cool with me.

Thanks for listening!

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Registration is still OPEN for our Spring Zen & Yoga Retreat March 18-20, 2016 at Mt. Baldy Zen Center, Mt. Baldy, California

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Check out my podcast with Pirooz Kalayeh, ONCE AGAIN ZEN!

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I’ve got a new book coming out soon! Stay up to date on its release schedule, my live appearances and more by signing up for our mailing list on the contact page

My publishers are running a contest on Goodreads to give away 2 copies of my new book!


March 18-20, 2016 Mt. Baldy, California SPRING ZEN & YOGA RETREAT

March 25, 2016 Venice, California Mystic Journey Bookstore 7:00pm

April 7, 2016 San Francisco, California Against The Stream

April 8, 2016 San Francisco, California San Francisco Zen Center

April 22, 2016 New York, New York Interdependence Project

April 23, 2016 Long Island, New York Molloy College “Spring Awakening 2016”

June 2, 2016 Los Angeles, CA The Last Bookstore 7:00pm

September 9-11, 2016 Belfast, Northern Ireland 3-Day Retreat

September 16-17, 2016 Dublin, Ireland 3-Day Retreat

September 22-25, 2016 Hebden Bridge, England, 4-Day Retreat

September 27, 2016 – Wimbledon, London, England – Talk and Q&A

September 29-October 2, 2016 Helsinki, Finland, 4-Day Retreat

October 7, 2016 Berlin, Germany Zenlab

October 14, 2016 Munich, Germany, Lecture

October 15-16, 2016 Munich, Germany, 2-Day Retreat

October 23-28, 2016 Benediktushof Meditation Centrum (near Würzburg, Germany) 5-Day Retreat


Every Monday at 8pm there’s zazen at Silverlake Yoga Studio 2 located at 2810 Glendale Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90039. Beginners only!

Every Saturday at 10:00 am (NEW TIME!) there’s zazen at the Veteran’s Memorial Complex located at 4117 Overland Blvd., Culver City, CA 90230. Beginners only!

Plenty more info is available on the Dogen Sangha Los Angeles website,

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One of the main ways I maintain my lifestyle while not living in the cottage behind Frank Zappa’s hosue is through your donations to this blog. I won’t get any of the recent Angel City Zen Center fundraiser money. I appreciate your on-going support!

48 Responses

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  1. senorchupacabra
    senorchupacabra March 17, 2016 at 11:54 am |

    In hip hop, Brad, there’s a common phrase that goes: “Real recognize Real.” In case it isn’t clear, it means the authentic person is able to acknowledge when another person is also authentic. The unspoken corollary is is the inauthentic/disingenuous people recognize others who are inauthentic/disingenuous. However, these recognitions occur on a mostly unconscious level.

    I bring all of this up because you are simply too authentic, Brad. And your efforts and ideas are too authentic. Too genuine. And most people are fake as hell. Yes, most Buddhists are fake as hell too. It’s about “branding” which is the exact opposite of authenticity. You suck at branding. You made an honest effort with the whole “Hardcore Zen” thing, but then when people actually read your books or listen to your interviews, you’re “just” a normal, genuine person. I like people like Noah Devine, but even he’s pretty cognizant of his branding and he does a swell job of playing up to that redeemed troubled, tough guy act whenever he needs to.

    This is not a criticism. On a purely personal level, it’s what I appreciate about you. It’s why I keep giving you (admittedly small) sums of my own money. However, nobody’s going to buy you a $9,000,000 home any time soon, even though the world would greatly benefit from your vision. And it sucks.

    It’s no consolation, but I hope I’m wrong about that last part.

    1. Mark Foote
      Mark Foote March 18, 2016 at 7:45 am |

      Trucks: [The record company] did not want to put it out. They fought with us and fought with us and fought with us… “You gotta get Gregg out from behind that keyboard, stick a salami down his pants, and make him jump around onstage like Robert Plant, then maybe you got a chance.”

      (from “Allman Brothers Band’s Legendary 1971 Fillmore East Run: An Oral History”, March 11 2016)

      Wishing you the best, Brad. Will likely miss you at “Against the Stream” (fine old place, saw it Wednesday), as I am leaving the Bay Area v. soon. Enjoyed the part of your book Cygni posted a link to; thanks for that, maybe when the dust settles for me I’ll get a copy.

      It’s all about the fun: that’s what got you into Zen (and punk), didn’t it!

      1. Cygni
        Cygni March 19, 2016 at 6:01 am |

        Good tune, for the record I’m not the Newf who complained and got it briefly banned from Canadian airwaves.

        1. Cygni
          Cygni March 19, 2016 at 7:35 am |

          I’m going to try sitting for half an hour before work today, after I play some bass.

          1. Cygni
            Cygni March 19, 2016 at 7:47 pm |
          2. Cygni
            Cygni March 23, 2016 at 5:40 am |

            Mountains and water naturally produce sages and saints.


  2. Shinchan Ohara
    Shinchan Ohara March 17, 2016 at 12:11 pm |

    Yeah. But nice try all the same. Necessity is the mother of invention.

  3. Dogen
    Dogen March 17, 2016 at 12:13 pm |

    Official soundtrack for this blogpost:

  4. mb
    mb March 17, 2016 at 12:26 pm |

    Interesting that Tim thought Zappa might have “secretly” been into Zen. However, in the public arena, this is Zappa’s very public opinion about gurus and the spiritual supermarket in general:

  5. Thudstick
    Thudstick March 17, 2016 at 12:37 pm |

    According to Zappa’s “official” biography, he dabbled in zen for a short time during the 60s. Never heard it went beyond that. However, as a champion of free thinking and questioning the dogma of society, his previous abode would be a dynamite place for a zen center. If only I had fat stacks of cash under my cushion…

  6. shade
    shade March 17, 2016 at 2:27 pm |

    If someone gave you nine million dollars, wouldn’t it be a lot smarter to set up nine Zen centers in nine houses of comparable size but minus the dead celebrity aura? Which I assume explains the inflated price tag. That and location, maybe. I’m just saying, the same house in Nowheresville, Iowa would probably cost much, much less. Or do you really think that practicing Zen in a house formerly occupied by someone whose work you admire will somehow improve that practice? Because if you do…

    Jeez, please tell me you don’t believe that. I thought the whole point of Zen was to cut through that sort of delusional nonsense.

    I won’t say it’s impossible someone might actually take you up on your request. Stranger things have happened, especially in California. The question is whether Brad Warner, Zen Buddhism or humanity in general would benefit in consequence. Me, I doubt it. Seems like it would attract the kind of person who pursues a given spiritual practice in the hope of siphoning some sort of hipster cred off it.

    1. Cygni
      Cygni March 23, 2016 at 7:49 am |

      You could get a special place in Hell for 900 000, there’s even a mini golf course, I love mini golf.

  7. Cygni
    Cygni March 17, 2016 at 7:09 pm |

    Im not sure what would be cooler, someone giving you 9 million dollars or 9 extremely massive stars going supernova simultaneously…

  8. drocloc
    drocloc March 17, 2016 at 7:30 pm |

    Jesus’s balls! Hire the best financial manager. Use them. Fire them. Get what’s needed. Stop being retarded.

  9. Mumbles
    Mumbles March 17, 2016 at 8:04 pm |

    Dynamo hum, dynamo hum where’s that dynamo comin’ from? Saw Frank and crew once at a small theater waaaay back when, So much fun. Good luck on the house acquisition and zendo. Keep hope alive.

    Meanwhile, check out a new long interview with yours truly w/accompanying artwork from bk in the day when I was an underground cartoonist type via Copy This # 25, (send a couple dollahs to)D. Blake Werts, 12339 Chesley Dr., Charlotte, NC 28277.

  10. Cygni
    Cygni March 18, 2016 at 5:25 am |

    I could live for 1000 years on 9 million, if there was no inflation and I had a roommate to split rent and internet. That would be a long retreat…

  11. Me
    Me March 18, 2016 at 1:22 pm |

    Brad, good luck with your big dream! But if you don’t get that house, come to my country; you can buy a house in the capital as cheap as for 10 000 $! Not many people have ever heard of Zen (yes, there is no Zen center here), but we DO NEED it. I promise this will be the place you can really make a difference.. and sure, you will get at least 10 people showing up at your retreats 🙂

  12. Dogen
    Dogen March 18, 2016 at 4:03 pm |

    I used to give donations to ZCLA whenever they asked via mail. But after they sent a letter asking that I bequeath my house to them I stopped. It struck me as kinda creepy greedy, even though I don’t own a house and never will.

  13. tuberrose
    tuberrose March 19, 2016 at 6:12 am |

    Strange things do happen and someone might pony up the nine million for you and throw in extra to cover maintenance for a few years until the center gets on its feet. You just don’t know. And it never hurts to ask.
    Anyway, best of luck.

  14. Mumbles
    Mumbles March 19, 2016 at 12:38 pm |

    9 mil for Zappa’s house? How much would you pay for this?

    1. Mumbles
      Mumbles March 19, 2016 at 1:10 pm |

      Talk about documentary fodder, father…

  15. Khru 2.0
    Khru 2.0 March 19, 2016 at 1:00 pm |

    The best locks cannot be opened
    because they use no bolts or bars.
    The best knots cannot be untied
    because they use no ropes or cords.

    the sage guides
    by giving no direction;
    And leads
    by following.

    TTC 71

    1. Khru 2.0
      Khru 2.0 March 19, 2016 at 1:01 pm |

      Please shut your yap, Khru. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

  16. The Grand Canyon
    The Grand Canyon March 20, 2016 at 3:02 am |

    This former Frank Zappa residence might be closer to the Anger City Zen Center budget.

  17. zacharythax
    zacharythax March 21, 2016 at 8:59 am |

    I can’t think of anything that could possibly be more awesome. I will buy a lottery ticket today. Frank Zappa was a HUGE influence on my childhood. I had an older brother who was a Zappa fanatic. when I was in 3rd grade they had a day when you could bring a record into school, so I brought in THE GRAND WAZOO.

    The teacher refused to play it.

    1. mtto
      mtto March 21, 2016 at 10:24 am |

      Of all the Zappa albums to refuse to play in class… why an all-instrumental album with beautiful melodies like Blessed Relief?

  18. Alan Sailer
    Alan Sailer March 21, 2016 at 9:52 am |

    The worst thing that could happen in Brads life would be to have someone actually buy him the Zappa home.

    I own a house that originally cost about 125K$. A rough estimate of my total yearly cost of that house (taxes/utilities/maintenance) is about 8K$. If I scale that up to a 9M$ house I’d estimate that you are talking about 576K$ a year.

    And LA taxes are going to be much higher than Ventura County.

    So if Brad hosts about a hundred zen students every day and each one gives him a 15$ donation he gets 547K$ a year. Close but I don’t think that’s going to happen.

    And imagine how thrilled his very rich neighbors would be with all the cars parked in their street every day.

    When I was a car obsessed 18 year old I used to dream about someone giving me a shiny new Ferrari. At some point I realized that I couldn’t even afford to buy a carburetor for a Ferrari and moved on to better dreams…

    Better pray it doesn’t happen Brad.

    1. mb
      mb March 21, 2016 at 10:13 am |

      Not to mention that the $9 million price tag is the Kickstarter fundraiser price for the house to raise money for the documentary. Not that that’s not a good cause! I love Zappa too! But even though it’s a large 9-bedroom 5.5 bathroom estate, still the actual sale value in the current real estate market would probably be around $4-5 million. And the property taxes would be exorbitant either way.

    2. Dogen
      Dogen March 21, 2016 at 12:17 pm |

      Yeah no property taxes for religious folk, but Brad will have to baptize a lot of babies.

  19. mtto
    mtto March 21, 2016 at 10:22 am |

    Do 501c3 nonprofits pay property taxes?

    I love Zappa, too, but Laurel Canyon is a horrible place for a non-residential zen center. If you want a residential center, it would be a good, if overly expensive, place. I’m going to go make a non-$9 million donation to help make the documentary happen.

    1. mb
      mb March 21, 2016 at 10:28 am |

      Do 501c3 nonprofits pay property taxes?

      According to this article:
      a nonprofit’s property must be irrevocably dedicated to religious, hospital, scientific, or charitable purposes, so seeing how a Zen center would probably fit the “religious” definition, then the answer is probably no…

      1. Mark Foote
        Mark Foote March 21, 2016 at 2:48 pm |

        Wait, wait!- you left something out.

        a nonprofit’s property must be irrevocably dedicated to religious, hospital, scientific, charitable, or blatantly political purposes…

        livin’ in the USA, good dog.

  20. Fred
    Fred March 21, 2016 at 2:42 pm |

    ” and moved on to better dreams ”

    1. Alan Sailer
      Alan Sailer March 21, 2016 at 7:58 pm |

      Thanks Fred.

      I may buy that bands album. Since I don’t follow music I never heard of them.

  21. Anonymous
    Anonymous March 26, 2016 at 9:28 pm |

    9 mil? Will you accept a post-dated third-party check?

Comments are closed.