Monday, May 15, 2006


S wrote:
> Hi,
> I'm new to the group and I'd like to jump right in and
> ask some questions to the Scurrilous Monk, but also to
> the group in general.
> What are your views on practicing alone? Practicing
> without personal access to a teacher, for
> transmission? Practicing without a zendo to attend and
> a community to practice zazen with?

Practicing alone is not having a Zen practice.

Practicing without a teacher is not having a Zen practice.

Practicing without a community to practice with is not having a Zen

I take refuge in the Buddha (the teacher)
I take refuge in the Dharma (the teachings)
I take refuge in the Sangha ( community of believers)

These are basic precepts of Zen Buddhism. If you do not have all do not have a Zen practice.

A Zen practice is a specific thing (or things as there are both Rinzai
and Soto zen practices).

Zen is a transmission outside words and are you going to
get the transmission without a teacher? are you going to get
something outside words and letters by reading words and letters. Now it
is possible to download something from the ethers by
could call it a transmission in the same way that tv is
transmitted....but it is not a Zen is not even a
standard it is not an automatic might not even been a
sane transmission.(I have seen some pretty out there claims in my time).
The transmission of the authentic Buddha seal is and can only be
accomplished by someone who has it authenticated.

There is no tradition that says "do whatever you like". ....period.....
There is no anarchy tradition.....what an oxymoron. ....there are even
standards for what Unitarianism is....and there are standards for
Ordination and membership. You are welcome to stop by a Unitarian Church
for a Service.......but It is not proper to call yourself a Unitarian
unless you subscribe to the standard they is also not proper
to call your self a "Zen" person unless you subscribe to the standards
the Zen traditions set as standard.

Metaphysically speaking, is it better to do something rather than
nothing?.....yes, but it is better to do any one thing the correct way
then to do everything incorrectly.

It is better to have a real practice in your real life then it is to
have hours and hours of pretending you have a relationship with some one
on line. Sex with a real partner is different than cyber sex no matter
how good an imagination you have. (how many ways can you type Oooh ooooh

No Zen teachers in your community? are not able to travel to
visit one even for a day or a few hours?......then perhaps Zen is not
for you. Rather than having a fantasy relationship with Christy might be more rewarded by asking out a local
girl....rather then practicing your fantasy of Zen, you would be better
off connecting with whatever real tradition is available to you in your
local community.

Sitting around having cyber sex or imagining you are in love with
Christy Brinkley can indeed be life changing experiences. It is my
contention that mowing your lawn or breathing each breath are also life
changing experiences....what makes breathing and mowing lawns Zen
experiences is if they are done in the context of having a Zen teacher
and practicing with a Zen community. They are community Service if they
are assigned to you by a judge, or Christian activities if you are
baptized. They are a form of spiritual masturbation if you do it all for
and by yourself as you yourself envision good things to be.

Ok then, what if what is locally available is not your cup of
tea?....maybe it is not exotic enough for you?....maybe it is too
common?...maybe the people are a bunch of hypocrites?.....or you were
personally hurt by someone associated with them?...or they are too
authoritarian for you?.....hmm....maybe there is something wrong with
you? None of the girls or guys about town "good" enough for you?.....

I am sure Christy is just waiting to go out with someone who can't get
a date at home. I am sure Zen teachers , like Christy Brinkley, are
sitting around looking for yet another know-it- all with a cup already
full to show up at their door too. Might I be so bold as to suggest you
fix your problems before you get into a relationship?....maybe if you
had something to offer the local girls, you would not have to head off
to New York in search of the next available super model. It is possible
that the girl you are cybering with looks like Christy is
not too likely though...girls who look like Christy have better things
to do with their time. It just might be a better use of your time to go
out and be nice to the local girls, be polite, make a little nice
conversation, listen to them, make them smile. Zen might look better to
you then whatever is around the corner......but if the Zen teacher on
line were indeed a super-model....he or she would not be sitting around
cybering with you either.

Ahh ha! you have me!!! How come I am sitting around offering
advice on the internet?...(why do I say I am not teaching Zen
here?).....because I am a crappy monk (see the title of the blog). I am
a bad one bothers to come to me for teaching because I do
not really sound like a monk (I don't really look like the stereotype
either)...I am not exotic...not even cool......I am certainly not a
Christy Brinkley like monk. (no matter what others might imagine me to
be). I am not worth much...but perhaps by sitting around this imaginary
sangha I can point someone to what is real....after all...I have nothing
better to do with my time.

There are no shortage of folks who will tell you how great they are as
they sell you something over the internet...(their latest book for
example)....or who will be your guru over the net.......but believe me
...they are not Christy Brinkley.....girls like Christy do not spend
their time cybering with guys like you....neither does any Zen teacher
worth their salt. It is possible to imagine a Christy Brinkley look a
like who waits for guys like us to type ooh ooh with her.....but it just
does not happen in real life. Guys like Narasaki Tsugen Roshi or Akiba
Roshi...or even plain old Shoken Winekoff Roshi.....just are not
available to any old Joe or Jane on the does not

Please, what ever your practice, make it a real practice in your real life.

Be Well,