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Thread: The Good, the Brad, and the lucky.

  1. #1

    The Good, the Brad, and the lucky.

    I have to say the Brad Haters and the Brad Bashing Fests have been a bit odd for me.
    You see, I like the guy, I like the man. I sit with him. I've been sitting with him weekly (I think I missed one Saurday out of all of them). He's my teacher.
    As luck would have it, I've had several teachers. So I actually have others I could compare him to. He's beyond compare. I feel very lucky, at this stage in my practice to have met such a person--a person of no rank--

    He is completely unassuming, he is humble. He is funny, he is respectful, he in person is not his writings, but his person. Having met the person, the writings assumed a different perspective for me. Kind of like hearing a radio personality, meeting them in person and then hearing them on the radio again: once you've seen them in person, you can't go back to the way you imagined they would be from only hearing them.
    Brad's writings are like that for me now--I don't remember what I thought he would be like from his writings....but they didn't put me off. He put things in a way that was refreshing to me. Actually Brad's style at its core is not dissimilar from my own.
    The latest article which caused so much ruckus--all I could say was meh, I've read other things I've liked better--but what he wrote I had a clear understanding for--there was nothing shocking to me.

    Of the different sangha's I've sat with, the group at Hill Street Brad leads is my favorite of all. I enjoy each and every member--it is quite a special group, kind of like this group, here at Treeleaf, only live and in person.

    So I count myself quite lucky. Here in my own town, within walking distance (if only my foot would fully heal), my favorite sangha, and a truly wonderful teacher.
    Just this last Saturday, after sitting, 14 of us went out for lunch together and took a walk back along the beach. Brad and I walked together for a while, he, asking me how the week had gone...we chatted a bit, at the light someone wanted to ask him something...there is nothing about him to dislike...he is a thoroughly likeable person.

    Strange so many people here who have never met him, never heard him give a lecture, never sat with him, have so much to say about him--sure, responses to his books/articles are valid--but that's such a narrow slice of the whole.

    Oh, well, I don't understand it, but it does leave me an 'outsider' here because I am not a Brad hater, and Brad hating crops up on a fairly regular basis here.

    I've been sitting with him weekly just coming up on a year in a month or so--so I barely know him but all in time, zen time, zazen time. This is a slow practice, this zazen. I do know that there is no other way for me.
    I do know that Brad's excellence as a teacher for me is as evident to me as my legs carrying me forward (bad foot or no).

    I'm sorry there is so much bad feeling here for my teacher. I see no point in defending him, as I do not, could not, and would not speak for him.
    I feel protective of him--as if he were a rare sighted bloom of an endangered plant. I'd like to put a fence around him, a glass globe over him--but that won't do at all. His very fragility must find its own way in this world exactly as it is, after all isn't that how he (we all) got here in the first place?
    The world is a small sangha, after all is said and done.

    in deep gratitude to all teachers, past, present and future,
    keishin

  2. #2

    Re: The Good, the Brad, and the lucky.

    Quote Originally Posted by Keishin
    I feel protective of him--as if he were a rare sighted bloom of an endangered plant. I'd like to put a fence around him, a glass globe over him--but that won't do at all. His very fragility must find its own way in this world exactly as it is, after all isn't that how he (we all) got here in the first place?
    The world is a small sangha, after all is said and done.

    in deep gratitude to all teachers, past, present and future,
    keishin
    Hi Keishin,

    I am glad you feel protective of him. He needs you. I am glad.

    Nobody hates him here.

    I also know he is the sweet, quiet guy you describe.

    However, also, his writing is his writing, and he can be not quite so easy going (in my trying to reach out to him) as you describe. People are complex, and the side you see on Sundays in person and the side in his written persona are both Brad and the side I have encountered in trying to talk with him the last few years (not so easy to talk to) .... ALL true and all sides of Brad.

    But nobody hates him.

    It is wonderful that his teaching style and manner resonates with you.

    Take care of him. Please offer him your Wisdom.

    Gassho, Jundo

  3. #3
    and please give him a big ol' kiss from me.

  4. #4
    Keishin,

    I have been promising myself that I will lay low around here for a long awhile. I just don't think posting here (or anywhere else) has really helped my practice lately, and sometimes I ruminate much too much on the stuff I read here. But, to quote Michael Corleone in Godfather III, "Every time I try to get out, they bring me back in!" That's how I feel about this post.

    I certainly don't hate Brad. I will always be grateful for Hardcore Zen and how it inspired me to get my ass on the cushion after years of just reading about it. I've emailed him a few times to thank him, and he has always responded in a cordial manner. I even bought one of his Godzilla toys on eBay to help him out (I'm really not into monsters and all that - but my son dug it). I even told him that if I lived close to him, I'd sit with his group.

    But, I really only "know" him via his books and blogs. I am happy to hear how you describe him. I'm glad he's such a nice guy/good teacher in person. But he does come across quite vitriolic sometimes in his writings - at least to me. And I'm unsure why a "nice" guy needs to do that. I'm all into the iconoclastic things about Zen. But, one can be iconoclastic and powerful, and even critical and angry, in their writings without being vitriolic and rude. Listen, Brad can do whatever he wants. I'd never say he doesn't have the right or anything like that. More power to him and God bless him. But sometimes I think he's full of shit. Sometimes I think Nishijima, Seung Sahn, and Jundo (all teachers I am somewhat familiar with) are full of shit. And I am most aware that I am sometimes full of shit.

    That still doesn't mean I hate Brad. No sir! I'd still love to meet him, and if he were ever in my neck of the woods, I'd certainly attend a lecture.

    For whatever thatís worth - not much, I think - that's my stupid and not-very-informed take on the Brad matter.

    Now, if I can only lay low around here........

    Best,
    K

  5. #5
    Double post (damn).

  6. #6
    Senior Member Martin's Avatar
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    Keishin, All

    Like Keith, I shall always be grateful to Brad for Hardcore Zen. It was the right book at the right time for me. It set me on the path to Soto Zen and without it I wouldn't be "here" at Treeleaf, where I'm very happy to be.

    Some of what Brad writes now (ok, most of what Brad writes now) doesn't work for me. Probably that just means that I've become an old fart. But nobody makes me read it, and nowadays I mostly don't. But I can see that Brad's voice may still be the right teaching at the right time for others. I have a fifteen year old son with long hair, whose only interests are X Box war games and snowboarding, who drives me, my wife and his teachers equally to distraction who won't listen to anyone - but who reads Brad and thinks he's cool.

    I think there's a koan about how can imperfect Zen teachers manifest the perfect teaching?

    Gassho

    Martin

  7. #7
    Now, Keith, who actually lives down the road and breaks bread with me about once a month or so, knows me pretty well and has said the truest thing. Please, everybody, keep this in mind (and ask my wife for further confirmation) ...

    Jundo ([along with] all teachers I am somewhat familiar with) are full of shit

  8. #8
    Aww, Keishin, I was one of those people who bad-mouthed Brad. I'm so sorry if anything I said made you uncomfortable.

    Actually, I like some of Brad's writing. But I still think he tries a bit too hard to be cool. I'm surrounded by colleagues just like Brad (actually, I'm one of them - heh). His dirty talk really doesn't faze me at all as long as I can get the point he's trying to make. Sometimes I don't get what he's rambling on about. Hey! Maybe that's the point he's trying to make! :idea:

    And I was drawn here by the smell of Jundo's shit. A combination of incense and green tea. :shock:

  9. #9
    And I was drawn here by the smell of Jundo's shit. A combination of incense and green tea.
    Ah, and I thought it was something I'd stepped in!

  10. #10
    Bla bla Brad Warner bla bla bla bla. Bla bla.

  11. #11
    Stephanie
    Guest
    You know what Brad is?

    He's a Pisces.

    'Nuff said. :lol:

  12. #12
    :lol: :lol: :lol:


    ...incense and green tea. Classic.

  13. #13
    Nah...Brad Warner doesn't matter. Nobody cares about Brad Warner. nobody pays attention to Brad Warner. Brad Warner is wrong. Brad Warner... etc. etc.. etc...
    Now we have a whole Brad Warner thread on here.
    Awesome.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Now, Keith, who actually lives down the road and breaks bread with me about once a month or so, knows me pretty well and has said the truest thing. Please, everybody, keep this in mind (and ask my wife for further confirmation) ...

    Jundo ([along with] all teachers I am somewhat familiar with) are full of shit
    And Jundo knows better than anyone (except my wife) that I am often full of shit! This is why I love Jundo. He and his family have a big place in my heart. I feel blessed to know them.

    Deep Bow, Teacher,
    Keith

  15. #15
    I agree with Skye:

    Blah blah Brad Warner blah blah blah Brad Warner blah blah


    Anyway, it was a surprise to find so much here, much ado about nothing, really.

    keishin

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Keishin
    I agree with Skye:

    Blah blah Brad Warner blah blah blah Brad Warner blah blah


    Anyway, it was a surprise to find so much here, much ado about nothing, really.

    keishin
    Hmmmm... I am somewhat put off by your response here, since you're the one who began this thread (pretty passionately I'd say); and we were all responding to you. I now feel a touch insulted.

    Regards,
    Keith

  17. #17
    Good time for some Shikantaza-ish advice ...

    Let's drop all thought of this and all things.

    In other words ...

    Let's just drop it!

    And if our heads have to be thinking something, let's fill our pretty little heads with a useful and peaceful something.


    Gassho, Jundo

  18. #18
    A couple of appropriate gems from the Dhammapada ....

    ``He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me,'' in those who harbour such thoughts hatred is not appeased.

    ``He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me,'' in those who do not harbour such thoughts hatred is appeased.

    Hate is not overcome by hate; by Love (Metta) alone is hate appeased. This is an eternal law.

    The others know not that in this quarrel we perish; those of them who realise it, have their quarrels calmed thereby.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    A couple of appropriate gems from the Dhammapada ....

    ``He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me,'' in those who harbour such thoughts hatred is not appeased.

    ``He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me,'' in those who do not harbour such thoughts hatred is appeased.

    Hate is not overcome by hate; by Love (Metta) alone is hate appeased. This is an eternal law.

    The others know not that in this quarrel we perish; those of them who realise it, have their quarrels calmed thereby.
    Dichotomies is my favourite chapter.

  20. #20

    The good the Brad and the lucky

    Hello to all who posted (and didn't!) post here:
    I apologize for starting this forum and then not having the time to stick around and respond to it, but let it tend to itself. I can see my reply (in agreement with Skye) may not have been fully formed.
    Anyway replies:

    Jundo: I don't think Brad needs protecting. Thank you for thinking I might have some Wisdom, every now and then I think so too, usually just before the banana peel! Life has a way of keeping things real.

    Keith, Martin: I liked hearing your take on the effect of Brad's writings. You both have shared some of how you believe your practice has benefitted from him in positive ways on other threads here, as i recall. I wasn't fishing for testimonials in his behalf, but it was nice to hear.
    My original post was simply the puzzling in my mind: experiencing a person directly one way, (understanding that their writings might strike various cords of responses in various readers), and the strong reactions others here have posted--(based on an emotional place, not his writings per se or his person, (they've never even met the guy!). So that was it really--my seeing these strong responses, of others and holding them up to my own reactions to Brad's articles and books and what little I know of him in person (just from sitting with him for a little under a year now and going out to lunch with 'the group'). These two are poles apart--my direct experience and their emotional response--it just had me puzzled, is all. It continues to puzzle me. Most people don't like the way something tastes, they don't heap more of it on their plate and keep putting spoonfuls in their mouth saying "God, this stuff is awful!"


    HezB: I liked your comment 'in the real Sangha there are no outsiders.'
    I hooted when I read your comment 'I bow down to all the strutting idiots of the past, present and future,' I almost choked on my tea and had to mop up my keyboard!.

    Stephanie, Jun, and Kelly M, thank you for your levity.

    KvonNJ and Skye: I very much appreciate your reminders to me of the futile and the absurd--which brings out a different vein of humor in me.

    Keith, my state of mind in saying, "I agree with Skye: it's all blah blah blah, Brad Warner, blah blah" would better have been worded--it's all 'blah blah blah, blah blah, bla bitty bla bitty blah blah.' In other words, all words --this thread, all threads -- all words everywhere, just a collections of fricatives, plosives, long and short vowels, dipthongs (sp? what are they, anyway?), etc.
    just the water fountain I talked about in another thread (I believe the one Will started with regard to those strange 'zennish' feelings of 'really getting it,' and then the banana peel, or the pile of feces, whichever the foot connects with first).

    While I was puzzled by the strong responses others have to this quiet, mild mannered guy I sit with, I have to say, in no way was I harmed by what others were saying and posting--I just couldn't fathom the full spectrum difference, nor did I or do I feel any need to 'rush to Brad's defense' Brad doesn't need defending. All I was putting out there was my own experience, based on my own direct contact with this person--limited, I'll warrant--but valid nonetheless.
    Isn't this true of so many things in life? "I loved the movie," "I hated it," "I adore .. I detest"
    "The way is not difficult for those who give up all likes and dislikes, who abandon preferences" (badly misquoted here, but I don't want to get up, go find the book, get sidetracked by something else and not finish this post!!!."

    It touched me very deeply to see those posting here, each in your own way, assisting me with this 'bepuzzlewilderment' of mine by your kind words, your various forms of humor (all of which I relished).

    to all of you: thank you!

    keishin

  21. #21
    KvonNJ and Skye: I very much appreciate your reminders to me of the futile and the absurd--which brings out a different vein of humor in me.

    Glad you take it that way. I have a penchant for the futile and absurd.

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