Saturday, April 30, 2011
Friday, April 29, 2011
This appears to be Chapter Three of the Edward Sharpe story. For those of you playing the home version of this series, I posted Chapters 1 and 2 back here. Considering this is supposedly a 12-part saga and the videos have been coming out only about one every six months, we'll have to wait a while for it all to unfold.
Oh, yes. Also, this:
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
And here's a pic of the twins themselves, performing a cover (one of many) of The Cure's Just Like Heaven while headlining at Smith's Olde Bar.
But everything hasn't been universally copacetic in the ATL this week. Here's a video of a late-night incident in a Buckhead IHoP last weekend:
I'm posting this here not as entertainment but to document the events in case the videos get taken down off of YouTube for some reason. I feel so sorry for that woman - hurt, scared, humiliated, and, later, incarcerated. This is beyond bullying - this is brutality, this is authoritarianism of the worst kind. Atlanta needs to make some major changes in its police force.
The biggest news, though, is none of this but the weather: tonight, they're calling for "near certain" tornadoes to hit the city. The media are trying their best to inform, or scare the pants off, the public, with a local weatherman saying something to the effect that a rating of "1" indicates a likelihood of tornadoes touching down, and a "2" indicates a near certainty. Tonight rates an 8 or 9, he tells us.
Outside, the hard winds are blowing on and off, but rain hasn't started yet. The lights are also flickering from time to time, and I'm fairly certain I'll lose electricity at some point tonight. I just hope the trees surrounding my house remain upright.
But all of the above isn't even the weird part. In addition to the President of the United States having to release his birth certificate to the press today, an Atlanta-area school teacher claims to have attained a "new level of enlightenment" last week. According to the police reports, "he wanted everybody to be free now that his third eye was open."
The arresting officer explained "the obvious problem with his third eye being opened in public." The officer wrote that "He readily agreed that his decision to remove his clothing posed a problem and stated that he understood why I would likely have to place him under arrest" (he had been caught by another teacher walking naked down the halls of his elementary school). The teacher was reportedly a vegan who had sworn off soft drinks, but had gone to Taco Bell for some reason an hour or so before the incident.
At the officer's request, he put his clothes back on and told the arresting officer that he understood that his career with the school system was probably over, but that he still wanted to teach, "on a new level, with hands in the earth, gathering the essence and learning how to love one another and fully appreciate the spiritual realm."
There's still no word yet as to whether or not he will be installed as the new head teacher at the Atlanta Zen Center.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Monday, April 25, 2011
Students of the Way often say that if they do such and such people in the world will reproach them. This is totally wrong. Even though people criticize you, if it is the activity of the buddhas and patriarchs and in accordance with the sacred teachings, you should follow and practice it. Even if people in the world praise you, if it is not prescribed in the sacred scriptures nor what the patriarchs have done, you should not practice it. This is because even if people in the world, be they intimates or strangers, praise or criticize you and you follow their opinions, when you face death and fall into the evil-realms pulled by your own evil deeds, none of them can save you. Moreover, even if you are reproached and hated by everyone, if you practice relying solely on the Way of the buddhas and patriarchs you will surely be saved. So do not refrain from practicing for fear of being slandered by others. Furthermore, those who slander you or praise you are not necessarily those who have penetrated and attained the practice of the buddhas and patriarchs. How is it possible to judge the Way of the buddhas and patriarchs by worldly values of good and evil?
Therefore, do not depend on the sentiments of worldly people. If an action should be carried out according to the Buddha-Way, practice it wholeheartedly (Shobogenzo Zuimonki, Book 3, Chapter 13).
Sunday, April 24, 2011
– Osho, from Zen: The Quantum Leap from Mind to No-Mind, ch. 3"Life has never been taken with such ecstasy, joy, and bliss as Zen has done."The common religions of the world, Hinduism or Christianity, Mohammedanism or Jainism, are all too serious. And their seriousness keeps them imprisoned in words, in theories, in philosophies. Their seriousness does not allow them to laugh, to sing, to dance, to be merry. They have spoiled the whole of humanity, they have destroyed the laughter of every child who has been born."It seems there is something in laughter of which our so-called society is afraid..."
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Friday, April 22, 2011
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Dear Mr. Merzel,The letter was signed by 66 Zen teachers from Centers across the country.We are a group of Zen teachers, affiliated with all of the major schools of Zen in the west. We write as individuals, however, not as representatives of any group. We are deeply concerned at your apparent turning away from your own stated intention of stepping back as a teacher in order to take care of your habitual abuses of power with students and others. We are addressing this letter to you with the heartfelt wish that you read and heed our counsel. We are also sending this letter to various Dharma journals and websites because we have deep doubts that the letter will convince you and we feel that the greater sangha needs to be made aware of the problem and our views.On the 15th of February forty-four teachers sent you a public letter, in response to your admission of serious misconduct, expressing deep concern both for you and for the sangha you serve. The letter recommended that you take a leave of absence from teaching and enter into counseling with people qualified to work with clergy sexual misconduct. We know others including close colleagues and friends offered similar counsel. On February 6, you published a confession of unethical behavior, adultery and sexual misconduct with students. You called this statement, “Owning My Responsibility: A Personal Statement from Genpo Merzel.” In it you say you will disrobe as a priest, “as just a small part of my response.” You describe yourself as having engaged in “dishonest, hurtful behavior as well as sexual misconduct.” Earlier in the year, in at least two meetings, you acknowledged having engaged in a long affair with one of your students. You claim you will no longer give the Buddhist precepts, that you will spend the rest of your life integrating the precepts into your life and practice so as to regain “dignity and respect” and characterize yourself as having missed “the mark of being a moral and ethical person and a decent human being.” Finally, you stated that you have entered therapy and plan to continue indefinitely. A copy of the entire statement is attached to this letter.This was not the first occasion such behaviors were revealed. Your response this time was to disrobe as a Buddhist priest and to resign from the White Plum Asanga, the only organization that may have had sway over your future actions. We write again because you seem to have decided to ignore your own best impulses and to return to your path of denial. The page on your website that contained your statement a few short weeks ago now reads: “This page does not exist.”On February 6, you said you would spend the rest of your life “integrating the Soto Zen Buddhist Ethics into (your) life.” Many of us read this and understood your intention was to cease representing yourself as a Zen teacher and instead to give future energy to the Big Mind project you’ve developed. In fact, you continued to use the titles of a Zen teacher (Zen Master, Roshi) and to act in every way as a Zen teacher, just no longer as a priest or as a member of a larger Zen organization. Initially, your Kanzeon Board of Directors committed to a process of separating from your “Big Mind” organization and to bringing in new leadership for the Center. You were to take an indefinite leave from leadership at Kanzeon, of at least one year. Yet, a few weeks later, your Board at Kanzeon now says you have “retired” as a priest only and that they will sell off the assets of Kanzeon. Your Board’s statement also says that you will now teach nearby and offers your teaching to all members of Kanzeon, in the new location. The statement reads, in part, “The sale will also allow Kanzeon to pay off its obligations and sustain its existence, with Genpo Roshi continuing as its Abbot, outside Salt Lake City at Solitude in Big Cottonwood Canyon.”We sincerely hope you will eventually find in your heart a way to genuine repentance, and out of that follow a course of remediation that may actually lead to healing. Others have acknowledged misconduct and have made appropriate amends in the past, and been rehabilitated within the mahasangha. May you be encouraged by their example?However, at this point we see no evidence of good faith action on your part. It seems you continue to hold yourself out as a religious leader, a Zen Master and that the Kanzeon Board has turned and followed your lead. We are concerned for people who may come to you as a Zen teacher. Those among your current students who choose to continue with you have made a conscious decision, aware, we assume, of all the facts regarding your repeated history of exploitative behaviors.Therefore, as members of the Zen teaching mahasangha deeply concerned for the wellbeing of anyone to whom you present yourself as a Zen teacher, we feel we cannot remain silent. We need to state publicly our belief that you are not acting faithfully within the bounds of our tradition. We reiterate our call for you to enter treatment with people qualified to diagnose and address your repeated unethical and exploitative behaviors. And, we call on you to honor your commitment to step aside from Kanzeon and allow a remediation process to happen there as well.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Monday, April 18, 2011
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Saturday, April 16, 2011
"All of you here! Believe that your own mind is Buddha. This very mind is buddha-mind.When Bodhidharma came to China from India, he brought the text of the Lankavatara Sutra with him, allowing people like us to attain awakening. He feared that our views would be inverted, and we wouldn't believe the teaching of this mind that each and every one of us possesses. The Lankavatara Sutra records the Buddha's own words stating that mind is the essence and that there is no gate by which to enter Dharma.Those seeking the truth should seek nothing. Outside of mind there is no buddha; outside of buddha there is no mind. Do not cling to good nor reject what is bad. Lean neither toward purity nor pollution. Understand the empty nature of desire, that nothing is gained through continuous thoughts, and that because there is no self-nature, the three worlds are only mind. But mind is not independently existent - it is co-dependent with form. The myriad forms of the entire universe are the seal of the single Dharma. Whatever forms are seen are but the perception of mind.You should speak only of those things that you encounter, for each matter you encounter constitutes your existence, and your actions in each matter are without hindrance. The fruit of the bodhisattva way is just thus, born of mind, taking names to be forms. Because of the knowledge of the emptiness of forms, birth is non-birth. Comprehending this, one acts in the fashion of one's time, dressing, eating food, upholding the practices of a bodhisattva, and passing time according to circumstances. If one practices in this manner, what more needs to be done?
To receive my teaching, listen to this verse:
The field of mind responds to conditions,Bodhi is only peace.When there is no obstruction in worldly affairs or principles,Then birth is non-birth."
Friday, April 15, 2011
Born in Pittsburgh to two blind parents, both of whom were living-room musicians, [Fitzsimmons] began playing piano and trombone in elementary school and taught himself guitar as a junior high student. Over time, he also learned to play banjo, melodica, ukulele, and mandolin. While pursuing a master's degree at Geneva College, Fitzsimmons began tracking some of his songs on home recording equipment. These self-produced recordings were compiled together and released as 2005's When We Are Ghosts, a strong debut album that appeared during Fitzsimmons' time working as a mental health therapist. . . His songs started showing up on various television soundtracks, including Grey's Anatomy, General Hospital, Life of Ryan, and Army Wives. A second self-produced album, Goodnight, appeared in 2006, influenced heavily by his parents' divorce during his childhood. By this point, Fitzsimmons had settled on a distinct sound: a gentle mixture of folk-rock and electronica applied to carefully written (and often autobiographical) songs that, at their best, delivered a quiet emotional punch. He carried the theme of divorce into his first official studio album, The Sparrow and the Crow, which dealt with a recent split with his wife. Released in 2010, Derivatives lightened things up by focusing on electronica remixes of his past work (as well as a cover of Katy Perry's I Kissed a Girl), and 2011's Gold in the Shadow found Fitzsimmons confronting his demons with help from guest artists like Julia Stone.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
And thus begins this year's Atlanta visitation by the iconoclastic Brad Warner, author of Hardcore Zen and numerous other books. He'll be signing books in Little Five Points Friday night as well as participating in an informal panel discussion, and speaking at the Atlanta Soto Zen Center (ASZC) at 10:30 Sunday morning.
Monday night, he'll be speaking at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta, and on Tuesday night, he'll be returning to the ASZC for zazen and a talk. After that, I understand he's off to Nashville and they can worry about him up there.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
k.d. lang has an impressive vocal command. Her voice truly is an instrument and she's surrounded herself with a new group of talented players on her upcoming full length. The Grammy Award-winning singer sounds as strong as ever on Today's Top Tune, the title track from Sing It Loud.Om Muni Muni Maha Muni Shakya Muni Ye Swa Ha
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Baso said, “The mind here and now is buddha.”
Hearing these words, Hōjō attained the great state of realization.
nothing is hidden.
Yet if you are not intimate with it, when it's revealed,
you'll think about it for the rest of your life.
- John Daido Loori
Monday, April 11, 2011
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Saturday, April 09, 2011
Friday, April 08, 2011
Thursday, April 07, 2011
A man is hanging over the edge of a cliff. His only hold on life is by his teeth, which are clenched on the branch of a tree. His hands are full and his feet cannot reach the face of the cliff to hang on. Another man happens to come by and leans over the cliff to ask him, "What is Zen?"
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
Monday, April 04, 2011
Sunday, April 03, 2011
Saturday, April 02, 2011
What: Buddha’s Birthday Celebration
When: Noon to 6 p.m., Sunday, April 10
Where: Barking Legs Theater, 1307 Dodds Ave., Chattanooga
How Much: $5 suggested donation
For more information: (423) 622-2862 or http://www.aszc.org/zgc/index.html
12:00 Meditation Instruction (Zen)
12:30 Dharma Talk: Who Was Shakyamuni Buddha? Thanissara: Theravadan
1:15 15-minute sitting (Zen)
1:30 Reading of Ginsberg's "HOWL"
2:00 Buddha's Birthday Cake Cutting/Chanting
2:30 Tara Mandala Sangha (Tibetan)
3:00 Meditation instruction (Zen)
3:30 15-minute sitting (Zen)
3:45 Dharma Talk: Shokai
4:15 Three short Buddhist plays
4:45 NADA sacred music/chanting
5:45 15-minute sitting (Zen)