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Thread: Bro. Brad Warner's comments on Online Zazen ... and my response ...

  1. #1

    Bro. Brad Warner's comments on Online Zazen ... and my response ...

    My Dharma Brother Brad Warner has expressed some personal criticism of "online Zazen" and online Sanghas ... like TREELEAF! (although he does not mention us by name)

    Bro. Brad states that a camera disturbs and obstructs his Zazen.

    But, frankly, "disturbance" and "obstruction " are self created thoughts, the inability to sit as "what is."

    Brad, 'drop all barriers and resistance from your own thinking, and all barriers and separation drop away. Here and there, now and then, are never apart or in opposition.

    True Shikantaza must not create walls and resistance of one's own mind.

    My response to Brad is here:


    BW's criticism of the possibilities of Online Sangha is here:


    Feel free to go over to his Youtube comments section and offer you honest opinions and experiences, for good or bad, with online Zazen and Sangha.

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    That's disappointing. I like a lot of Brad's work; without exaggeration, if not for his books I would not have gotten involved with Zen as a practitioner, but I stopped reading his blog and watching his videos some time ago. He seems to be, in the last couple years, spiraling into angry cynicism and devoting his time primarily to shaking his fist at the "Zen establishment" and complaining about other Zen teachers' politics. It bums me out a bit to see him decrying a thing so many of us have found so valuable.

    Gassho
    Nick
    Satlah


    Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    I always liked Brad Warner. I've read his books and binge watched his videos. He's brilliant and massively talented. Zen teacher, musician, author....But I respectfully disagree with him here. All these concerns he has here have been addressed and answered to before. As stated by Nickbo, he does seem to be the angry old crank yelling at us new fangled zen kids to get off his lawn. For somebody who's so zen he's always pissed off about something anymore.

    Before I found Treeleaf I sat with a traditional physical zen center and had dokusan with the teacher. He turned out to be a fake. A phony teacher who's people was mostly concerned with how to get $300 out of me. So Treeleaf is OK for me. Although I'm pretty sure that Jundo has been secretly recording us for years!!

    Gassho
    Sat2day
    James

  4. #4
    It's really unfortunate that Brad Warner made this comments. I never read his books, but I have been watching his vídeos for some time and I really like some of his comments, but others, as Nick and James already said, seem to be very anti-something (though I appreciate his anti-drug use comments). I was already considering to stop watching his videos.
    For someone like me, who lives far away from any Buddhist temple (zen or otherwise), the Treeleaf Sangha is my spiritual home, everywhere I am. I'm sure, thare are many people with all kinds of diferente lifes (with or without limitations) that really take Treeleaf and/or other online sanghas as spiritual home.
    Really an unfortunate comment from him.
    Gassho,
    Mateus
    Sat/LAH

  5. #5
    Member Geika's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    San Diego County, California
    Disclaimer: I have not watched the video, but after reading through this thread, I believe I understand the gist.

    After having sat online for a while first, sitting physically with the sangha really felt no different at all. I noticed this very poignantly because I was expecting it to. Bro. Brad obviously feels differently, and this might be because he practiced for years in person before coming across online sittings. I understand his aversion, even though Jundo was classically trained and obviously has no problem with it. Everyone is different, but in the same way I understand his point of view, I wish he would at least empathize with mine, and not view me as any less worthy as a fellow practitioner and student of Nishijima Roshi, by proxy. Nishijima Roshi was quite radical, and I can see why Brad teaches the way he does. Though he may not agree with my opinion, I feel his is no less worthy.

    As for going on his YouTube comments to politely disagree, I feel that it might, once again, look a bit like the Treeleaf "cult" taking up defenses. However, I don't have any issue with anyone saying something when they feel the need to do so. Personally, I don't in this case, preferring to let our sangha's presence and legitimacy speak for itself. We have had many excellent guest teachers who don't seem to have an issue at all.

    Gassho, sat today, lah
    迎 Geika

  6. #6
    Reading the above comments I will state I did not “receive” the talk similar to some of you. My sense he was responding to questions as to why “he” does not do online (other than his You Tube Videos) sits or teacher/student interactions. Both
    at the beginning and again at the end I thought he stressed he was not opposed to it for others or agaiinst it. I left the talk (listened to it twice) thinking it was just not “his” thing. Now I know little about Brad, just watched a couple of his You Tube talks over the years so I may be thick headed and if he was inferring much more than what I took away what can I say? If that is the case and I totally missed his intent then I would refer to the Dude’s teaching “Yeah, well, that’s just, like, your opinion man”

    As I have stated here several times over the years our online Sangha works for me! Though I do prefer talking to folks verbally online or otherwise than typing in the forum. But that is just me. Without online interactions my practice would be much less than it has been under the guidance of a virtual Jundo and the support of all of you. I know Jundo and Jishin are real because I have met them, can’t say the same about the rest of you though

    My thoughts...

    Gassho
    Doshin
    Stlah



    Doshin
    St
    Last edited by Doshin; 04-13-2019 at 09:56 PM.

  7. #7
    Brad mentions several times that it's ok for people who do online zen like us but just giving his reasons why he doesn't do any sort of thing like that. I think it is important to try and take in all of what a person says rather than a few points. When I watched his video a couple days ago i didnt get angry or anything because he is only referring to himself and why he doesn't and never says at any point that people who do are stupid or something. Maybe I am a little bias because I really connected with his books and of course there is stuff I disagree with. We cant all agree with everyone on every single point, the world would be boring if we did. So, I don't know. Maybe we should all just relax.

    Edit: I read some of the comments and those seem to be a little more directed towards not doing online zen vs finding one in your own neighborhood. It doesn't matter much to me i feel because treeleaf has helped me quite a bit and even if I did start going to a place near me I would still be here as well. There is another teacher in the therevada tradition yuttadhammo bhikku doing the same thing and it helps people out quite a bit. Everyone has their opinions and I guess it is what it is.

    Gassho,
    John
    Sat Today
    Last edited by jgotthart; 04-14-2019 at 07:03 AM.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by jgotthart View Post
    Brad mentions several times that it's ok for people who do online zen like us but just giving his reasons why he doesn't do any sort of thing like that. I think it is important to try and take in all of what a person says rather than a few points. When I watched his video a couple days ago i didnt get angry or anything because he is only referring to himself and why he doesn't and never says at any point that people who do are stupid or something. Maybe I am a little bias because I really connected with his books and of course there is stuff I disagree with. We cant all agree with everyone on every single point, the world would be boring if we did. So, I don't know. Maybe we should all just relax.

    Edit: I read some of the comments and those seem to be a little more directed towards not doing online zen vs finding one in your own neighborhood. It doesn't matter much to me i feel because treeleaf has helped me quite a bit and even if I did start going to a place near me I would still be here as well. There is another teacher in the therevada tradition yuttadhammo bhikku doing the same thing and it helps people out quite a bit. Everyone has their opinions and I guess it is what it is.

    Gassho,
    John
    Sat Today
    I listened again, and see that he speaks about himself primarily. He also says that perhaps others may find value in online sitting. However, it seems to me that his comments then go on to rip into the weakness of online Zazen and Sangha in general, and did not strike me as a fair description of what online Sangha can be when properly approached. The talk went from why he personally does not do so to why there is something wrong with the experience in general.

    I feel that it is good to offer a counterbalance to such opinions which might prejudice the views of anyone considering an online Sangha.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 04-14-2019 at 10:52 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  9. #9
    I definitely feel that your counter balance was great and that talking about not having any obstructions to zazen is something that can never be stressed enough.

    Gassho,
    John
    STLah

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by jgotthart View Post
    I definitely feel that your counter balance was great and that talking about not having any obstructions to zazen is something that can never be stressed enough.

    Gassho,
    John
    STLah
    Well, I suppose that I take the subject seriously for some reason!

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  11. #11
    Hi,

    Ad hominem:

    Troublemaker, antiestablishment of antiestablishment, promoting own brand, narcissist, etc.

    Substance:

    None. Puff.

    He is just amusing. Let it go.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

  12. #12
    I am thankful that an online community like TreeLeaf exists. I am grateful to be able to sit with you all each week. I can see how sitting online wouldn’t work for some people and if they have viable alternatives than I am happy for them.

    Sit Zazen daily. Chop wood and carry water. Online or offline it doesn’t matter.


    Tairin
    Sat today online and lah offline
    泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods

  13. #13
    Member FaithMoon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Southern California
    I'm grateful to Treeleaf for hosting Brad for a talk a couple of years ago. I hadn't been aware of him until then, but was impressed by his talk and Q&A. The purpose of his recent YouTube video was to answer a question someone had posed to him. The questioner wanted to know if Brad would be his teacher remotely. Brad was explaining why he didn't do that. I don't know Brad personally, but I've sat with his sangha. He seems like a sincere guy (but, you know...Internet).

    I was curious about the history of these dharma bros. As far as I understand, Brad and Jundo had the same teacher, but since 2007 have been in different lineages due to a disagreement about succession. http://gudoblog-e.blogspot.com/2007/...and-dogen.html. http://gudoblog-e.blogspot.com/2007/...-of-dogen.html. Both of you seem to be doing well for yourselves.

    Faith-Moon
    st
    sat today!

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by FaithMoon View Post
    I'm grateful to Treeleaf for hosting Brad for a talk a couple of years ago. I hadn't been aware of him until then, but was impressed by his talk and Q&A. The purpose of his recent YouTube video was to answer a question someone had posed to him. The questioner wanted to know if Brad would be his teacher remotely. Brad was explaining why he didn't do that. I don't know Brad personally, but I've sat with his sangha. He seems like a sincere guy (but, you know...Internet).

    I was curious about the history of these dharma bros. As far as I understand, Brad and Jundo had the same teacher, but since 2007 have been in different lineages due to a disagreement about succession. http://gudoblog-e.blogspot.com/2007/...and-dogen.html. http://gudoblog-e.blogspot.com/2007/...-of-dogen.html. Both of you seem to be doing well for yourselves.

    Faith-Moon
    st
    Hello Faith,

    Yes, in 2007, I separated Treeleaf from Dogen Sangha in part because Brad refused to institute rules to prevent teachers from sexual relationships with students. It was the time when there had been the several scandals involving Zen teachers sleeping with students or abusing the Dokusan room. Nishijima Roshi did not understand the whole situation and turned the decision over to Brad, who refused to act and even seemed to say that the victims are at fault as much as the teachers. You can read more here from Nishijima Roshi's blog and the nice and positive way I tried to phrase things ...

    Announcement regarding 'TREELEAF ZENDO'
    https://gudoblog-e.blogspot.com/2007...ZHdGBTTPqmF4EY

    Our Treeleaf ethics code is here.
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...plaint-Box-%29

    Ethics codes are important, and I hope you agree Faith.

    Gassho, Jundo
    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  15. #15
    Anyway, my apologies. I just take this whole "online Sangha" adventure very seriously.

    Soon, we will all be sitting inside shared hologram spaces anyway, as real as real can be to all the senses, so the discussion will be moot.

    The world is virtual, this sangha is real

    With Gassho before a body scanner, sitters will enter the 3-D Holographic Zen Hall from wherever they are. Instantly, a high roofed room, Manjusri Bodhisattva at its center, fills the senses and the 10 directions encircling them. Lifelike images of a hundred others who have sat that day (some hours earlier in distant time zones) occupy projected Zafus all around, and the scent of incense perfumes the air. A young priest walks through the room straightening slippers (all made of photons), guiding newcomers to their places. Biosensors in the sitter’s clothing adjust posture with a touch lightly felt at the small of the back. A teacher in far Japan, as if a few feet away, offers a talk and responds immediately to questions. Rising from Zazen, all recite as one the Bodhisattva Vows, prostrating toward Manjusri now seen hovering midair as vast as a mountain. The identical scene appears in Holospaces in every sitter’s home or private place, including for one fellow sitting zero gravity on the long voyage to Mars.

    Though sounding like Isaac Asimov meets the Lotus Sutra, researchers at the holographics lab of one of Japan’s best science universities tell me it is just a matter of time now. The ‘HoloZendo’ is not a figment of the imagination, and may be available to carry in one’s pocket.

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...sangha-is-real

    Gassho, Jundo

    SatTodayLAH
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  16. #16
    It sounds like Brad's reaction is based on an early attempt at online practice. Practice has evolved to accommodate the idiosyncrasies of connections via online video. Treeleaf is obviously a trailblazer here, but I'm seeing online options offered more and more. It's wonderful.

    Maybe it's not for everyone. Maybe it's not for Brad. But his reaction seems incredibly close minded and un-Zenlike. (The "empty your cup" story immediately came to mind.)

    Maybe Brad just misses the fart oder. He could get some practical joke spray?

    Gassho. Sat today.


    No merit. Vast emptiness; nothing holy. I don't know.

  17. #17
    "Religion loses its vitality when people simply follow fixed doctrines and maintain religious institutions. Only when we seek the truth of our selves and create our own spiritual life can we give birth to the potential that can point the way for our time."

    -- Kosho Uchiyama in "The Zen Teachings of Homeless Kodo"

    Gassho
    Meishin
    STlah

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Meishin View Post
    "Religion loses its vitality when people simply follow fixed doctrines and maintain religious institutions. Only when we seek the truth of our selves and create our own spiritual life can we give birth to the potential that can point the way for our time."

    -- Kosho Uchiyama in "The Zen Teachings of Homeless Kodo"

    Gassho
    Meishin
    STlah
    Wise words indeed, thank you Meishin. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    Sat/LAH
    RINDO SHINGEN
    倫道 真現

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Meishin View Post
    "Religion loses its vitality when people simply follow fixed doctrines and maintain religious institutions. Only when we seek the truth of our selves and create our own spiritual life can we give birth to the potential that can point the way for our time."

    -- Kosho Uchiyama in "The Zen Teachings of Homeless Kodo"

    Gassho
    Meishin
    STlah


    Gassho, Shinshi

    SaT-LaH
    What's so funny 'bout Peace, Love and Understanding.

  20. #20
    Soon, we will all be sitting inside shared hologram spaces anyway
    Ha, I've been virtual my entire life

    potty time.jpg
    Potty time will never be the same again!!

    gassho, Shokai
    stlah
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    May we all grow together in our knowledge of the Dharma

  21. #21
    Different folks have different views, even in the same family. At some point, we have to settle on what route we chose to take us from the base of the mountain.

    SAT TODAY LAH
    Shozan

  22. #22
    If it weren't for TreeLeaf and all this "online stuff" -- I would not have a sangha or a calm, welcoming community to participate with that allows me to be as I am.

    I would be isolated and alone.

    But I am not -- thanks to TreeLeaf's existence in cyberspace, and this forum -- that I visit often, even if I don't speak often. That's just my way. Even Zazenkai -- I watch, I don't speak. I know you are all there, and that is enough.

    Thank you, TreeLeaf, for being here. And, if I am feeling brave and able to handle it, I may comment to Mr. Warner why online sanghas are so vital and real in this world.

    gassho
    kim
    st/lh
    "Not all those who wander are lost." (J.R.R. Tolkien)

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Meishin View Post
    "Religion loses its vitality when people simply follow fixed doctrines and maintain religious institutions. Only when we seek the truth of our selves and create our own spiritual life can we give birth to the potential that can point the way for our time."

    -- Kosho Uchiyama in "The Zen Teachings of Homeless Kodo"

    Gassho
    Meishin
    STlah
    Thank you Meishin

    Gassho
    Washin
    st
    Wa (和) Harmony
    Shin (心) Heart-Mind

  24. #24
    I think, as many have said already, that Brad was just stating his own personal dislike of online Zazen. That said, it was beautiful response and explanation of what we do here and why.

    Gassho,

    Neil

    STLah.

  25. #25
    Member tomodachi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Hendersonville, North Carolina USA
    I’m new to TreeLeaf and unfamiliar with Brad Warners work, so please pardon my ignorance. I only watched one of his videos on Utube.
    Also, I must admit upfront that I am a dinosaur, an actual living fossil. It was only last week that I surrendered my flip phone and got a Smart one.
    What this all means is that I don’t tweet, don’t use Snapchat and rarely use Facebook for that matter. I don’t normally feel comfortable putting my thoughts online, so nearly all my communication is with email or banging rocks together.
    But I am not exactly a Luddite. I’ve taught computer training for years and I know that the iPhone is pure genius. I’ve just never gotten into the social end of it, although everyone around me has.
    Personally, I’m very appreciative that I discovered TreeLeaf and Jundo’s work and I’ve learned a tremendous amount even in the short time I’ve been here, although I have not actually interacted or figured out how to sit while online. So I can’t say for sure how the experience will develop.
    So I can relate to the strangeness or shortcomings of interacting online, although I know enough to understand that if I were “here” enough, I could interact online or anywhere else for that matter and not be distracted by it. For those comfortable with the medium I think it’s a great way to communicate.
    Gassho,
    Dave
    I sat today.

  26. #26
    Member Getchi's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Between Sea and Sky, Australia.
    For me; I can only say; "just this will pass too".

    Br.Warner is special, not cause anyone said but because we can feel it, and I believe Jundo is completely correct in his approach too.

    (if anyone cares , it hurt saying the above in cyber space space """someone ELSE might be right too""". )



    Siddhartha Boddhi said ;

    "it's good in the beginning,
    it's good in the middle;
    It's good in the end."

    This is how we know its true.



    Gassho,
    Geoff.

    SatToday
    LaH.
    Nothing to do? Why not Sit?

  27. #27
    Online? Offline?
    When we sit zazen, the whole universe sits zazen.

    Gassho,

    Daitetsu

    #sat2day
    no thing needs to be added

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Daitetsu View Post
    Online? Offline?
    When we sit zazen, the whole universe sits zazen.

    Gassho,

    Daitetsu

    #sat2day
    Deep bows.

    Gassho
    Kim
    St lh

    Sent from my SM-G930U using Tapatalk
    "Not all those who wander are lost." (J.R.R. Tolkien)

  29. #29
    Saw this today ...



    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  30. #30


    Gassho
    Byōkan
    sat + lah
    Please take my words with a big grain of salt. I know nothing. Wisdom is only found in our whole-hearted practice together.

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Saw this today ...



    Gassho, J

    STLah


    Gassho
    Kim
    stlh

    Sent from my SM-G930U using Tapatalk
    "Not all those who wander are lost." (J.R.R. Tolkien)

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