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TOPIC: Brad Warner-- "enlightenment porn"

Brad Warner-- "enlightenment porn" 01 Jul 2013 16:03 #13074

" Some people call these experiences kensho, which means seeing into one’s true nature. I once spoke to a Zen teacher who told me that she had only had one kensho experience but that it was enough. She didn’t say this in a way that sounded like bragging, like she’d had the ultimate kensho and didn’t need any more. She said it like you might say, “I ate fried worms once and once was enough.” It was almost — but not quite — like she was glad it was over and she didn’t want to have to go through it again. I can relate."

www.realitysandwich.com/meeting_god_enlightenment_porn

Somebody's got to ask the rude questions; good for him! And yes, the commenters pointing out that he's having it both ways-- are also right.
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Brad Warner-- "enlightenment porn" 01 Jul 2013 16:49 #13076

I always remember finding him very annoying, but I found that piece rather thoughtful and funny.
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Brad Warner-- "enlightenment porn" 01 Jul 2013 17:17 #13077

Yeah, sometimes he's seemed a bit "too clever by half"-- but we're all getting smoothed down in the old practice rock-tumbler, eh?
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Brad Warner-- "enlightenment porn" 01 Jul 2013 17:22 #13078

Kate Gowen wrote:
Yeah, sometimes he's seemed a bit "too clever by half"-- but we're all getting smoothed down in the old practice rock-tumbler, eh?

It's so cute! :D Soon we'll all be patient old codgers being mysterious and annoying to the young bucks with their grand ideas...

As a contributor to the enlightenment porn genre, I must say I think it serves a useful purpose, much like inspirational conversion stories do for Christians. That said, the clever name also points to the slightly "ew" factor, which is apt.
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Brad Warner-- "enlightenment porn" 01 Jul 2013 17:33 #13080

"It's so cute! Soon we'll all be patient old codgers being mysterious and annoying to the young bucks with their grand ideas..." :lol:

-- and one of the most annoying things about us will be how our being annoying ( in spite of a patient intention to be useful) is so damned funny-- to us. And how sweet we think the young bucks with their grand ideas are.
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Brad Warner-- "enlightenment porn" 01 Jul 2013 19:21 #13082

Haha... this morning I had one of those existential moments right upon waking, drifting in and out of sleep, vaguely aware of the impending monday and getting Ivy ready for daycare and then getting into work for staff meeting etc. thinking "oh my god, do you realize, Jake, that *you* are the adult in your life? You are the one who is in charge of all this adult business? There is no one else who will do this shit for you!!!" which reflection wrenched an agonized/amused internal wail of despair/humor from my sleepy prone form... and now to hear you all waxing elder, it's very relieving!

Just to share the flip side of this dynamic :)
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Brad Warner-- "enlightenment porn" 01 Jul 2013 19:43 #13083

I don't think I get any "elderhood" points yet. By the time I'm any kind of elder I'm likely to be ashes and dust, anyway.
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Brad Warner-- "enlightenment porn" 01 Jul 2013 20:57 #13085

Oh, no, you don't-- not so easily off the hook for you, Ms. O! :evil:
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Brad Warner-- "enlightenment porn" 01 Jul 2013 21:12 #13086

Funny, I never feel shame after enlightenment porn...
Kate Gowen wrote:
Somebody's got to ask the rude questions; good for him!

Kate, what did you mean/are you referring to in the quote above?
Last Edit: 01 Jul 2013 21:13 by shargrol.
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Brad Warner-- "enlightenment porn" 01 Jul 2013 21:21 #13087

The blog post/book excerpt revisited the anecdote of his enlightenment experience in Hardcore Zen. Over the years, he's come to regret writing about it, it seems, and to question the effect it has had on readers, as well as why he'd included it in the book.

I agree with the proposition that these things are fraught with ambiguity, and that neither unqualified enthusiasm nor unqualified rejection is really all that helpful.
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Brad Warner-- "enlightenment porn" 02 Jul 2013 07:08 #13095

Ah, got it.

Ultimately, he's doubling down on writing about it. I don't think he regrets writing about it, not really. He just wants to minimize the misinterpretations, if possible, although it is never completely possible.

There pretty much has to be a confession, like david chadwick who will often quote, about himself:
"Years of expensive Zen training gone to waste" - Zentatsu Richard Baker Roshi
But when someone takes this joke too literally and suggested he was the "zen failure" he joked about being, he says, "~I got what I was looking for in Japan."
Last Edit: 02 Jul 2013 07:22 by shargrol.
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Brad Warner-- "enlightenment porn" 02 Jul 2013 10:28 #13107

p.s. I'm not trying to be contrary... it's just that Brad's modus operandi is to protest too much and then go straight ahead into it. Sometimes it's contrived and too cute, sometimes it's like this excerpt where he articulates the limitations of talking about this stuff, but it's usually an "I'm an idiot and don't know anything... and here is something that isn't idiotic and something I know about."
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Brad Warner-- "enlightenment porn" 03 Jul 2013 09:17 #13149

jake wrote:
"oh my god, do you realize, Jake, that *you* are the adult in your life? You are the one who is in charge of all this adult business?

This nearly induces hysterical laughter (knowing you, and knowing me)
That's dawned on me repeatedly over the last 6 years of having children. I'm like "Wait... I'm the grown up now?! ... crap."
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Brad Warner-- "enlightenment porn" 03 Jul 2013 09:42 #13152

lol right? total mind-bender
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Brad Warner-- "enlightenment porn" 03 Jul 2013 10:01 #13153

Kate Gowen wrote:
"It's so cute! Soon we'll all be patient old codgers being mysterious and annoying to the young bucks with their grand ideas..." :lol:

-- and one of the most annoying things about us will be how our being annoying ( in spite of a patient intention to be useful) is so damned funny-- to us. And how sweet we think the young bucks with their grand ideas are.

I can't wait to be mysterious and annoying about this stuff. I'm already practicing for that:) My current favorite response to "spiritual" questions from peers is "Hmph." nod and smile. :)
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Brad Warner-- "enlightenment porn" 14 Jul 2013 17:42 #13522

After having many internal rants about Brad's new book, There Is No God and He Is Always With You-- the title was enough to have had me grinding my few remaining teeth-- I broke down and got a copy and have been working my cranky way through it. With many breaks to pace and rant.

Finally hit pay dirt when he got into some good stuff on Dogen, and admitted why he was taking such a provocative approach. I was not surprised that he was willing to offend both the atheists and the Buddhists who are unwilling to prioritize a shared background in the "religions of the Book"-- we know he likes to be a bad boy. I was a bit surprised to see that the real targets are "updated-for-the-21st-Century" Buddhists and the way they've vulgarized and co-opted the Buddhadharma he's put nearly 30 years into studying and practicing. I'm pretty sympathetic to that critique, myself.

"Zen Buddhists often don't like the word God. But they do like the word satori (and its cousins, kensho and enlightenment). But to me, the word satori is as problematic as the word God. No one knows quite what satori is. But those who use the word have a lot of vague ideas about it. For all the imagery they surround the word satori with, they might as well be talking about a giant white man on a throne in the sky who rules the universe.

On the other hand, God is a loaded word-- and that's precisely why it's so useful. I know it's a stretch to think of the Buddhist idea of enlightenment in terms of the Christian concept of seeing God. But we need to get a handle on what we're talking about here before going on.

To get a grip on what Buddhism is actually about we need a word that's bigger than enlightenment, that's bigger than satori. We need a word that evokes something more than a method of reducing stress, like everybody's new favorite word, mindfulness. We need a word that points to something grander than the kind of "essential secret of the universe: that you can get in a few minutes, even if you're only mildly interested.

God demands a lot more of you than that. He hasn't got time to hang out with someone who only wants to see him so that he can tell his friends he met somebody famous. The paparazzi can't get a photo of God going out to buy kitty litter and showing a bit of cellulite on his legs. He's a lot more difficult to reach than that. You've really got to want to see him, and you've got to be willing to put in the effort it's going to take.

In other words, seeing God is anything but quick and easy."

I may think that Brad has got a bit of unfamiliarity, "grass is always greener" going on in this comparative analysis-- but I respect the fundamental premise.

On beyond that part of the book, he got into the abidharma a bit-- reminding me just what I find wanting in our idea of what "psychology" is, and that I'm overdue to really plunging into the book that Steven Tainer recommended as an intro.
Last Edit: 14 Jul 2013 18:02 by Kate Gowen. Reason: typo
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Brad Warner-- "enlightenment porn" 14 Jul 2013 18:36 #13524

I was just looking for something new to read on my Kindle, so that will be my next purchase. Thanks for your review!
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