Keep Calm and Ban Everyone

sotoposterTwo other friends of mine, Arne Chosfer (cultural critic and bon vivant extraordinaire) and Galley Trot (an accomplished Buddhist scholar and expert in the treatment of Post-Buddhist Stress Disorder) recently joined the Soto Zen Facebook group, offering their perspectives. Hardly surprising, both were banned within a few hours.

Galley Trot
I just joined this site. I havt say: beschizzlefoschizzle, bitches! Good shit. This Tutteji dude and this Erica Sagn are not the site admin in disguise. I mean, everything else here is lame and platitudinous by comparison. Yawww!

Lana Berrington (admin)
Galley – yup.. lame and boring and without drama… that’s what this place is all about. Some people won’t like that.. but you can’t please everyone. ps: please watch your language,

Galley Trot
Oh, forgive me Mother Lana Berrington. “Dude” = “Gentleman”

That final comment apparently made Mother Superior jump the gun, and Galley Trot was swiftly banned from the group. Let’s see what happened with Arne Chosfer:

x-buddhist 1
Like most failed comedians, this “gentleman” [Tutte Wachtmeister Dai Osho] wants to make it about the audience. It’s not. His act flopped on it’s own merits.

Another Voice of Sanity
Your absolutely right Number 1, Whoever posts a thread that does not receive the desired response that the contributor intended, then that group member should be banned.

Another Voice of Sanity
Whoops! Please strike my last post from the record. I accidently used sarcasm AKA lying. Hopefully I don’t receive an infraction or get banned.

x-buddhist 2
Ah, c’mon now lads! Wouldja ever ‘man’ up at all, for Christ’s sake? Ye’re all acting like a bunch of petty-minded schoolkids!

Another Voice of Sanity
Number 2,With all the cursing and name calling you’ve opportunistically added to Tutte’s thread my first impression was that you were the troll everyone was talking about in the deleted threads of his. Then I thought you were his little buddy just joking around with him. When I realized that you were a part of the opposition against him is when I started to not see his threads as trolling. I’m serious. Your comments were the most offensive part of this whole thing. Talk about school kid mentality.

x-buddhist 2
AVoS, I’m neither for nor against anyone, anything, or any one view.
That is clearly confusing for one such as you, which is presumably why you were struggling to work out whose ‘side’ I was on.

But that’s what gives me the freedom to comment as I do. If you feel offended by my neutral comments then I guess you feel offended. Feel free to sit with your offense if you can. :)

Arne Chosfer
So, Number 2, as a good little Soto Zen altar boy, you’re “neither for nor against anyone, anything, or any one view.”

Still, you don’t hesitate to tell someone: “Now fuck off and take your pathetic attempts at trolling someplace else! Ya … twat, ye!” and “My ’associates’ are currently tracking down the ID and physical location of ‘Tutte’ and his supporters.”

What does this say about your character?

x-buddhist 1
AVoS, my friend, here’s how it should go: whoever attempts comedy and fails should be called out for bad material or bad delivery. If they then compare themselves to Lenny Bruce, i.e. a “misunderstood” genius, they should be banned from polite company.

Arne Chosfer
Listen now, Billy boy [x-buddhist 1], and I’ll tell you how it is. First, the ”comedy” worked just fine, and the fact that you and [two other x-buddhists] don’t get this and keep posting your irrelevant (but highy revealing) nonsense, makes it better and better. As for Tutte’s tounge-in-cheek comparison with Lenny Bruce, it was an explicit reference to Bruce’s *late* performances – another point which you completely missed.

x-buddhist 1
Yes, Arne, me wee lad, I did not read the gentleman’s explanation; just as, when I dislike a performance, I don’t buy a ticket for the next. I’m sure it was all quite “tongue-in-cheek” and, for some, may have been hilarious.

Arne Chosfer
I see, you didn’t read, you just quoted. Great performance, Billy boy!

x-buddhist 2
Arses should be firmly and regularly placed on cushions.
They serve no purpose on FB.

Arne Chosfer
May I suggest you go crawl back from under your zafu. And keep your “neutral” comments to yourself

x-buddhist 2
Suggest what you like Arne. I wasn’t talking to you!

Lana Berrington (admin)
Arne and Number 2, will you both just knock it off… !

Arne Chosfer
And now Billy boy’s comments are disappearing, Spooky!

Arne Chosfer
Not with a ban but a whimper.

x-buddhist 2
And so are mine, Arne! Even though my last one was agreeing to knock it off, with a rider!

Lana Berrington (admin)
arne.. please -

Eric Kow (admin)
cease fire, cease fire…

Alas, Arne wasn’t given a chance to show his gentle side as he, too, was banned – without warning or notification – by the apparatchiks.

***

The purpose of this and the preceding two posts is not to fuck with this particular x-buddhist discussion group  and its moderators, and I have no particular interest in humiliating a few individuals who obviously are not the sharpest tacks on the bulletin board (hence the anonymization).

This should be obvious, but as I just read a comment by another apparatchik, Alasdair Gordon-Finlayson, stating that he doesn’t want to continue “a discussion that’s only been hurtful … while he [me] casts neatly anonymous aspersions on our lineages and moans that we won’t let him muck about in one particular not-at-all-important FB group”, it seems some clarification is needed.

These long excerpts were chosen because they are exemplary cases of how (online) x-buddhism functions.

The practice of banning participants from boards like this (or label them “trolls”) have been discussed at length elsewhere, just as the sly condescension and passive-aggressiveness, sometimes exploding  into open hostility.

Tom Pepper recently mentioned how, in defense of Thich Nhat Hanh, “a man claiming to have been a long-term resident of Plum Village emailed me that if he could find out where I lived he would come and burn my house down and murder my children,” and “a follower of Thannissaro Bikkhu, more restrained, only promised to ‘kick my ass’ if he ever met me.”  And here are some examples from a recent, private conversation I had with a Soto Zen devotee, after I was kicked out from another Zen Buddhist discussion group (the third this week, I think):

You just got booted from another group DICKHEAD Ha HA I win again luzer.

Who got booted asshole….eat shit and die..

Your performances   will earn you a trip to hell for the suffering you and yours cause….

I’ll be watching for you…hopefully you can get your meds adjusted or do some self admitting for a few weeks to your local Psych unit…

When telling outsiders about the way compassionate, wise and open-minded x-buddhists respond to criticism, or that subversive, un-American practice known as “irony”, one is often accused of exaggeration, so providing some typical examples could, at least, serve as a warning.

The long and exasperating  “dialogues” at the Soto Zen forum are exemplary  in other ways as well. A number of well-known x-buddhist moves  are on full display here, and the excerpts posted here would be suitable for a Speculative Non-Buddhism 101 course. So why don’t you apply the SNB heuristics on this material and show us your critical and analytical chops in a comment.

Update

Erica Sagn, PhD

Erica Sagn, PhD

Earlier today, another good friend of mine, the tremendously talented and beautiful Erica Sagn, PhD, posted a link to the previous post on the Soto Zen board. The reactions to this were … Well, see for yourself:

x-buddhist 5 I read the authors post. I don’t know if it’s Zen, or Buddhist, but it is sarcastic and negative. I’ve come across similar trolls on other social media platforms, who seem to delight on playing devils advocate on every issue, just for the schadenfreude. I suppose their existence is as much a part of Buddhism as anything else is, but I’m not terribly interested in such intellectual masturbation. I vow to be one with all things (anyway).

Erica Sagn The author of the blog post would like you to know that the conversation can continue over at his place when this thread is deleted.

x-buddhist 5 Referring to any forums moderators as repressive political apparatchiks is juvenile. Your blog post author is more than welcome to take his hungry ghost party wherever he likes. Zen is like any other institution comprised of flawed humans. Expecting perfection in all things is delusion.

x-buddhist 3 Keep in mind that Erica and Matthias [Eng] are soldiers in Mr Tuttles (sic) army of sewage…and beware of the traps they will try to set for unwary travelers…..

Matthias Eng I am no ones soldier

x-buddhist 3 You follow Tuttle (sic) and support him … Or … You are Tuttle.

x-buddhist 6 it is only the Truth within ourselves that we can ultimately know and perceive. or at least…so it appears to me…

Matthias Eng I don’t follow anyone either, but I will support those who point out the truth …

This is not a battle – its rather an invitation to think …

… I know thats got a bad rep in zen.

x-buddhist 6 In a Witch-hunt… we should only be hunting ourselves…

Erica Sagn Having seen some of the deleted threads, I now believe that x-buddhist 3 is Tutte.

x-buddhist 3 Sorry to disappoint…trying to reverse who’s the troll will only work with very ignorant people and the Admins here know the nature of what is going on..thus the other deletions…If you play nice they may let you stay.and if you don’t I will be here to remind them of All the trolls trying to disrupt the nature of the room North…chose wisely…

x-buddhist 3 If you read the link at the opening post..it condemns this group and its admins…that in and of itself is call for complete deletion of this troll and possibly two others….

x-buddhist 5 I only recently joined this group. I can’t say I’m impressed by the level of discourse. This demeans the spirit and the institution of Soto Zen. What would your teacher think? What would Suzuki Roshi or Kobun Chino think? What would Dogen think?

x-buddhist 6 when someone insults me…i bow and say thank you…

x-buddhist 3 Then help us get rid of these two and maintain the quality that this site has had for quite some time….if you see something that you feel is wrong Jim..please report it to an Admin…Usually it is quiet and peaceful around here with some well experienced members…:)

x-buddhist 3 … I am just pointing out Trolls and warning others before shit hits the fan again…

x-buddhist 7 The F’d up thing about it is apparently many of us didn’t see any reason for the banning and did not see him as a troll, so in consequence, we see people like yourself and your comments as trolls and trolling his thread; and I find it offensive. It was clearly a matter of opinion and perception as to the verdict on Tuttes, and as Buddhist, we should have treated it as such. People that reacted, and posted negative things about a person as though it is concrete fact so its OK to troll and name call because “its so”; those names you called him, and attributes you ascribed to him, is that so?. .Watching yourself and others becoming very opinionated, angry, and extreme to say the least, was all very upsetting at a “Buddhist forum” Not all of us who think it was not OK to ban him were necessarily in support of what he was doing, but could accept it. Some people might of even blocked his posts. But administration took sides with the people who cast aside the path in favor of a lynching. You and the others who share a similar opinion, and disposition as you, were not even mindful of the fact that you had completely given yourself over to your opinion, allowed it to incite anger (in some), and then gave yourselves to the anger by rationalizing it and calling the causes of it real, then took action on some one else calling him bitter an resentful (as though there is such a thing as self and other), and banned him; what is most disgusting is that the administrators chose the side of the people who were not displaying the qualities of a buddhist, but of an angry mob caught in wordly delusion, and this is Buddhist forum! Any of you could have blocked his threads, I’ve done it before, it’s easy.

x-buddhist 3 Did you read the link posted at the top of this thread or are you just one more of his conscripts…looking for disruption, division, anger and deterioration in the room…is that what you seek Number 7????

x-buddhist 7 Number 3, you were told that pointing out the troll and saying things like dont feed the troll and posting that pic was trolling by admin, you said “are you admin?” they said yes, and you apologised. Im not making things up, and yes it is true that my first and lasting impression of you is that you are kinda a troll for the most part. Your activity in this thread has fortified that impression. Im surprised you get away with this kind of disruption given the trigger finger on the mods in this group. Im surprised you dont get banned.

x-buddhist 3 Stuart…are you related to Erica?

Erica Sagn Yes, Number 3, we are all avatars of Tutteji Dai Osho. Isnt’t that obvious?! We’re also trying to gaslight you out of this thread.

x-buddhist 3 Most likely..let’s let the admins decide how to go..I trust them…how about you?

x-buddhist 3 I know..others don’t…at least now you are admitting it for others to see…thank you and god night..

x-buddhist 8 (admin) Apologies if the comment thread is looking a bit disjointed, folks. I’ve tried to cut out the bickering.

Things which I will tend to remove: abuse, troll speculation, admin enlistment, public calls for this or that user to be banned… (take it up with us on PM), basically anything that makes it personal

(Editor’s note: At this Point x-buddhist 9 decided to start his own thread on the same forum)

x-buddhist 9 “If you feel a sense of social responsibility, first of all keep working on yourself. Being peaceful yourself is the first step if you want to live in a peaceful universe. Have you ever noticed how many angry people there are at peace rallies? Social action arouses righteousness. Righteousness ultimately starves you to death. If you want to be free more than you want to be right, you have to let go of righteousness, of being right.”  ~ Ram Dass

I posted this as a result of the donnybrook going on here the last while. I’ve come to agree that the trolls are not the problem. It’s my self righteous reaction that is the problem. I can’t change them, but change from within is possible. I’m still saddened by these beings who feel the need to spread negativity, who seem actually to revel in it. But they exist and I will have compassion for them, will pray for their enlightenment as well. But I will not allow myself to be baited into any more dialog with them. Doing so will only help prolong their suffering and mine. Gassho.

x-buddhist 9 … I don’t suggest sitting by. And I DO desire to improve the negative conditions. I know I’m new to this group but right now it’s all I have in the way of a sangha. I’ve enjoyed interacting with other Buddhists for the first time in my life. But in real life, were someone like T[utte] W[achtmeister] and his cohorts to cause disruption, the last thing I’d try is reasoning with them. They’ve got fixed mind and are impervious to any logic that disagrees with theirs. I know who I am and what I stand for and it needs no defense. No, in the physical realm, if they caused enough disruption they’d be asked to leave. If they refused it would be appropriate to call the authorities to have them removed. Yet in a forum like this, most see nothing amiss with engaging them. I made that mistake before and luckily came to my senses. This isn’t a contest to see who’s more adept at an ideological debate. This is about practicing the middle way. It pains me to give these parasites any power, either by arguing with them or by leaving the group, as many have done. So my actions will be confined to reporting egregious posts to admin and trusting their judgement. I don’t think any of us want to see this page become one that routinely shuts down all differing views. But when they cause harm, as these have, I support their removal. I believe that everything we take in affects our spirit, including the sounds and images we choose to absorb. As I try to explain to friends all the time, I cannot erase negativity in the world but I can sure as hell decide to not participate in it.

Erica Sagn Number 9, I don’t get this … Who caused harm? When? How?

x-buddhist 9 Now see, why did Erica’s comment disappear? It was fine sitting there being let go by the true members of this group. Letting go doesn’t mean suppressing. Letting go means having the perspective to see what is relevant and what is not.

My Argument with Soto Zen, or How I Learned to Fear the X

soto

Warning: This is a long and heavy-handed post, and it’s not funny (or, if it is, it’s funny in the same way as a late Lenny Bruce routine). I will offer some recent examples of online interactions with x-buddhists, without analysis or more comments than necessary. Feel free to add your own.

I was recently kicked out from a Buddhist discussion board, this time a Soto Zen group on Facebook. It’s a fairly large group, with close to 5000 members, monitored by seven political commissars admininstrators. Although the group itself is not affiliated with any particular Soto Zen cult sangha, one of these politruks, a self-described ”Zen chick and computer geek” is also a ”nun” in the infamous AZI organization, and another one is some kind of middle manager in the lineage of our favorite Zen huckster, Genpo Merzel ”Roshi”.

(There are a couple of reasons why I offer this information. First, I suspect quite a few people would imagine that folks wasting their time on Facebook can’t be representative of x-buddhism as a whole, and this is a good example of how the opposite is true: x-buddhism thrives in environments like this.I also know that many people are under the mistaken impression that x-buddhism is significantly different than other cults, and that the numerous scandals involving Buddhist teachers are nothing but tragic exceptions, concerning disturbed individuals who just happen to be Zen Masters. If, on the other hand, these problems really are systemic, the words and deeds of the middle-men should be of considerable interest if we want to understand the strange world of x-buddhism.)

This wasn’t the first time I was banned from a Buddhist online forum. (I don’t know who holds the record here, Tom Pepper, Glenn Wallis, or me, but never mind.) Still, I have to admit that I was a little surprised as I hadn’t done anything more offensive than posting a few images, like the one below, with links to this webpage. In fact, several of the politruks administrators sent me private messages, assuring me that they thought this kind of satire was both pertinent and to-the-point. At the same time, they were concerned by the hysterical responses these posts seemed to provoke.

Herbie Trashman Roshi. Click to read an article to offensive for Soto sensibilities.

Herbie Trashman Roshi. Click to read an article too offensive for Soto Zen sensibilities.

I was a little taken aback myself, both by the stupidity and the vitriol in these responses. A small sample should be enough to give you an idea:

x-buddhist 1
Tutte, You’ve been sussed! Now fuck off and take your pathetic attempts at trolling someplace else! Ya … twat, ye!

x-buddhist 2
Tutte, lying is actually against the Precepts in Buddhism. Even if you are doing it for satire, or humor, it’s still breaking the Precepts and is inappropriate in a Soto Zen Board, where the purpose of our practice is Preceptual behavior. Specifically, when you say something like ”Herbie Trashman Roshi, a fully transmitted Soto Zen teacher”, and no such person actually exists, or is Dharma Transmitted, that’s actually lying … Even if it’s done for humorous purposes, it’s still breaking the Precepts. Right speech is also part of the Noble Eightfold Path, and it includes things like sarcasm … We’re trying to learn to become gentler in our speech, not harsher …

A Voice of Sanity
If you think that humor is unbuddhist, well then that explains a whole lot of things …

x-buddhist 2
Humor is not un Buddhist. Lying is. Are you saying that to have a sense of humor requires one to be lying?

x-buddhist 3
Admins have the final word. He is a threat to this page and much of it is not appropriate humor or satire … Stating death camp practice is not funny. It is sick and offensive.

A Voice of Sanity
Death camp practice is actually done by a Soto teacher. That part is not fiction.

x-buddhist 2
But the didn’t refer to a specific Soto Teacher. He invented one up. That’s very different. It’s perfectly valid to talk about critique and problems of an actual situation. But simply adding harsh speech on top of it is not Right Speech.

x-buddhist 1
My ’associates’ are currently tracking down the ID and physical location of ”Tutte” and his supporters.

x-buddhist 2
I just spent the last few minutes scrolling through the blog. There is a mix of what is both valid criticisms in there, (for instance, criticizing the monetization of the Dharma, teacher abuses, etc), along with a very real undertone of grief and anger. There is a considerable number of posts there. This isn’t simply someone’s funny comment, someone has put considerable time and effort into this project. They have been at it for some time, and given the amount of inside references of knowledge of Zen and Buddhism that are sprinkled throughout the blog, it tells me that this person is either a current or former Zen teacher themselves, or someone who is or was formerly a student of a Zen teacher.

After a couple of hundred comments like the ones above, I posted a quote from German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk that I’ve used as an image header on this blog from time to time:

How much truth is contained in something can be best determined by making it thoroughly laughable and then watching to see how much joking around it can take. For truth is a matter that can withstand mockery, that is freshened by any ironic gesture directed at it. Whatever cannot withstand satire is false.

Within a few minutes, this comment was deleted by the commissars. Thinking that the words of a contemporary, western thinker might be too hard to digest for an audience used to a diet of fortune cookie platitudes, self-help books, and fragments from the Shobogenzo I posted the following image:
dogen

That, apparently, was the final straw. When I logged on again, I had been banned from the forum. In good Stalinist fashion, all my previous posts had also been deleted.

* * *

A few hours later, Bjarne Rydhielm (a good friend and a skilled transntegral coach) joined the Soto Zen group and posted a few questions. Read on, and see what happened:

Bjarne Rydhielm
It seems as if the ”idiot poster” Tutte Wachtmeister Dai Osho has been
banned. As I found his comments more enlightening than the fortune cookie
plattitudes and passive-aggressive rants normally found on Buddhist boards, I’d
like to know why. Perhaps I have misunderstood the purpose of this group, and
it is really a hangout for fundamentalists and consumers of Buddhist kitsch. In
any case, a clarification from the moderators would be appreciated.

I wonder,for example, if there is a taboo against satirizing North American Soto luminarities, like here:
http://tuttejiorg.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/herbie-trashman-roshi/

Or here: http://tuttejiorg.wordpress.com/2013/12/18/ronin-corn-cob-tyrant-roshi-this-stick-never-fails-a-zen-memoir-by-a-fully-transmitted-soto-zen-master/

Lana Berrington (admin)
If you have a question, you are welcome to message the administrators privately.

Bjarne Rydhielm
No, I think you’ve made it perfectly clear what kind of group this is.
The fear of responding to questions and critique in public, the practice of
deleting comments and entire threads, and the banning of members without
previous warnings are very revealing.

Matthias Eng
What a stalinist zen group.

Heather Hutchinson
Come on, you guys. It’s more important that we see posts of the
“Make me one with everything” cartoon we’ve seen a dozen times
already. Much more useful.

soto2

Bjarne Rydhielm
Let’s see how long it takes before this thread is deleted.

Alasdair Gordon-Finlayson (admin)

Bjarne, you’ve been invited to ask this privately. Please don’t insist on a public blame game – can we get back to being a Soto Zen group now?

Bjarne Rydhielm
Actually, Lana Berrington,why don’t you tell us why Tutte’s posts were deleted and – especially – why he  was banned from this group. If you don’t want to discuss this in public, please explain why.

Heather Hutchinson
Why not publicly discuss this issue? Seems it could be a good discussion.

Alasdair Gordon-Finlayson
I get that you want to discuss it – and in principle I’m all for allowing discussion – but right now it’ll just pour petrol on the embers. Can I suggest we allow the dust to settle and moods to settle and come back to it in about a week or so?

Heather Hutchinson
The only thing is, I don’t see a different attitude being present in a week or two.

Jaime McLeod (admin)
lol

Alasdair Gordon-Finlayson
Perhaps, perhaps not,Heather. Can’t hurt to try.

Heather Hutchinson
Actually, it’s just dismissing those of us with questions.

Bjarne Rydhielm
OK – Another question for the ventriloquist and the dummy: What are you so afraid of? More people leaving this group in disgust? Having Soto celebritites exposed? Anything else?

Alasdair Gordon-Finlayson
I’m genuinely not dismissing you, Heather. Actually, I agree it’s right to talk about these issues – not to do so would be to buy into the same sort of authoritarian nonsense that Tutte was satirising in the first place. But please – can we first allow a short time to pass while people get a chance to re-centre themselves on this, and reflect on their own actions as well as what’s passed here. And I include myself in this too – we are none of us blameless. Even those who watched and chose not to post on either side were making a decision.

Bjarne Rydhielm
And why do you presume I’d be interested in a “blame game”?

Heather Hutchinson
The fact anyone would need a week to calm down over all of this is kind of the problem, no? Someone posted some satire. People are that upset that need a week to settle? I just…I don’t get it.

Jaime McLeod
Look, none of the admins have any problem with satire, but we all agreed that Tutte crossed the line into trolling one too many times. We held back on this for a long time, respecting his obvious intention to hold up a mirror to some of the uglier parts of Zen culture, but the aggressiveness just got to be too damaging. Our guidelines clearly state: This is not a group for discussions about ‘general spirituality’, nor is flaming, trolling, flooding, spamming, or any other anti-social web behaviour tolerated. Speaking of which, Bjarne’s name-calling, above, crosses that line. Consider this a warning.

Alasdair Gordon-Finlayson
Look I pulled “a week” out of thin air. But some time is obviously needed… or this thread wouldn’t exixst.

Heather Hutchinson
I don’t think it is. I think time will pass, someone will ask this again, and some will freak out again and demand the asker be banned.

Bjarne Rydhielm
How do you define “trolling”, and where, *exactly* did Tutteji Dai Osho cross the line?

Jaime McLeod
Bjarne, most of those posts were deleted.

Heather Hutchinson
Which is a shame.

Bjarne Rydhielm
That was not what I asked.

Alasdair Gordon-Finlayson
I see anger rising in me, so I’m going to take break.

Bjarne Rydhielm
I’m perfectly calm, and waiting for a response from Lana Berrington.

Jaime McLeod
I am not interested in in combing through the entrails. You asked for an explanation. I gave one. No one is saying Tutte’s social commentary is not valid, but his persona was causing too many problems here. If you enjoy it, you can still go enjoy it on his site. That’s the beauty of the Internet. And, I’m with you on the fortune cookie posts and the cartoon. We’re working on that.

Bjarne Rydhielm
Do practitioners of shikantaza normally need two weeks to “re-centre” themselves before posting a comment on Facebook?

Alasdair Gordon-Finlayson
Yes, Bjarne, practitioners of shikantaza are just like other humans, and sometimes moreso.

Matthias Eng
Did you ban these people?

Jaime Mc Leod
Many of them banned themselves

Matthias Eng
Jaime, the flaming was all done by members of this board opposing Tutte.

Matthias Eng
I have one basic question now: What is it you are trying to achieve with this board? Posting of ancient quotes and flowery pictures is fine, but actual discussion of actually existing Soto Zen teachers and practitioners is not? What is the benefit of this?

Bjarne Rydhielm
Matthias Eng: You forgot to mention the cartoons.

Matthias Eng
The troll members of your board were causing problems.

Heather Hutchinson
That’s your prerogative. But, I posted a question here yesterday and was “told on” for my trouble. I haven’t posted satire (which is obviously too harsh for some here), and yet was treated as a troll, which I don’t think I am. It seems this group has some members that are very touchy and will seek to ban those they disagree with. That doesn’t seem very “zen” to me.

Matthias Eng
You did not answer my question: What is the purpose of this board? I am honestly interested.

Bjarne Rydhielm
Well, I asked you two questions, neither of which you’ve responded to:
1) How do you define “trolling” (of which TW was accused)?
2) Exactly when did TW cross the line into this forbidden territory?
If a handful (out of 5000) members were annoyed by a satire which you and other administrators of this group admitted was “to the point” and relevant, do you think it’s reasonable to ban the person posting it? (ie shooting the messenger)

Lana Berrington
yup, me too. for those of you still mourning the removal of Tutte’s posts and of the persona behind them, please, I encourage you to go to his website. Bjarne – I don’t feel the need to respond to demands at this point. As Jaime said above, none of us had a problem with the satire in and of itself. Though several of us had a problem with the underlying vitriol and bitterness inside of it. This is a group with clearly posted guidelines. Also, Bjarne, perhaps it’s not the middle of a work day where you are, but it it is in my time zone, so forgive me for not responding quickly.

Bjarne Rydhielm
Well, I noticed you found the time to “like” Alasdair’s comments rather than responding yourself, hence the “ventriloquist” comment.

Lana Berrington
turns out it’s easier to hit like and agree, than to type a long paragraph…

Bjarne Rydhielm
Indeed. But you have no problems reading others’ minds, detecting “vitriol and bitterness”. And this is not about “blame games” or “mourning the removal of Tutte’s posts” or whatever you mind-reading wizzards imagine. All the questions raised in this thread have to do with how this group is managed. Questions which the administrators continue to evade in their need to retreat for a couple of weeks to re-center themselves.

Lana Berrington
Bjarne, I grow weary of this. I’m sorry you’re terribly upset about the decision to remove these posts and the poster. But frankly, we’re all just volunteers here, and your accusative tone is not appreciated. Next time I’m in Stockholm I’d be happy to sit down and have a coffee with you and discuss this. But right now , I have work to finish. Enjoy your day.

Bjarne Rydhielm
I am not at all upset, but your habit of ascribing moods and motivations to others is a bit annoying. And why would I be interested in having a cup of coffee with you? All I am doing is asking questions about this group.

Jaime McLeod
The dictionary definition of trolling is to “submit a deliberately provocative posting to an online message board with the aim of inciting an angry response.” Tutte’s initial posts did not seem to have that intent, in most cases, – as an aside, I enjoy some of his satire very much – but many of his comments after the fact (ones that were deleted by other admins, so I cannot quote them just now) did cross that line in the collective opinion of the admins. As Lana stated, we are all volunteers. If you dislike this group, you are welcome to start one that would better suit your tastes.

Bjarne Rydhielm
What does your volonteer status have to do with anything? And, again, I’m not suggesting you should change anything – only that you make your policies transparent. And, judging from PMs I’ve received, there isn’t much of a “collective opinion” among the admins.

Jaime McLeod
*crickets*

Bjarne Rydhielm
I’d like to suggest a couple of things:
1) That you stop guessing the intentions and mindstates of people you interact with here.
2) That you focus, instead, on the effects of their contributions.
3) That you at least consider the possibility that anger and confusion are not necessarily bad things, and that having a few flower-image posters and fundamentalists leaving the group in disgust is not a disaster.

Jaime McLeod
Suggestion noted.

(Editors note: At this point the conversation was interrupted by a fundamentalist troll.)

Matthias Eng
Fine example of who is really trolling here.

Bjarne Rydhielm
Now, Jaime McLeod, here is a prime example of trolling. Will you please remove NN from this thread?

Bjarne Rydhielm
Of course she won’t do that. In about 45 seconds, I will probably be issued a warning and/or be banned from this group, and this thread will be deleted.

Jamie McLeod
Now who is “guessing the intentions and mindstates of people you interact with here.”

Lana Berrington
even better.. I’m closing this thread. Bjarne, you need to drop this, it’s becoming kindergarten stuff. If you want to delete this thread, you can delete it yourself. But since you are the one being childish, yes, you are the one getting the warning. By closing this thread I mean I WILL delete anything further posted.

Matthias Eng
What a beautifully edited world. Who cares about what really happens? What sort of Zen is THAT?

As it turned out, Bjarne Rydhielm’s guess was quite accurate. A minute or so after the final comment, he was indeed banned from the Soto Zen group, and the entire thread deleted.

Last Call

 

transintegral

Attention all Buddhists, It’s Cancellation Day
Yes the Big Adios
Is just a few hours away

It’s last call
To do your shopping
at Master Tutteji’s

You’ll need the tools for enlightenment
And Mindfulness for the blues
Stuffed zafus and great teachings
For the little buckaroos

It’s last call
To do your shopping
At Master Tutteji’s

We’ve got a sweetheart Sunset Special
On all of the standard stuff
‘Cause in the morning – that gospel morning
You’ll have to do for yourself when the going gets tough

Roll your cart back up the aisle
Kiss the old Dai Osho goodbye
Ride the ramp to the freeway
Beneath the blood orange sky

It’s last call
To do your shopping
At Master Tutteji’s

The Alternative Zen Teachers Association

The Alternative Zen Teachers Association (AltZTA) is an international peer-group organization founded by Tutteji Wachtmeister Dai Osho, and representing the cutting edge of inventive, entrepreneurial and transintegral Buddhist teachings.

newrobesAltZTA offers support and exchanges among radical, free-thinking and genuinely awakened Zen teachers operating outside the suffocating vallations of stagnant, mainstream, politically correct Zen. It has been called ”The Tea Party of Spirituality”, and, despite its non-conformist stance, has already made a lasting impact on the spiritual scene in North America.

The AltZTA Membership Committee has formulated an application process based on specific criteria to determine prospective members’ eligibility. So, all of you Zen teachers reading this,  if you think you have what it takes, feel free to send in your application. The organization also issues honorary memberships and awards to individuals and organizations contributing to the the evolution of a transintegrally informed Zen Buddhism.

.
seal-of-approval-w-logo_edited-2AltZTA is also an authorizing and credentialing body, so look for the ”AltZTA Approved” seal when evaluating Zen teachers.

While AltZTA represents a new and daring spirit of spirituality, it also honors the efforts of the first and second generations of North American Zen teachers to commodify and market the teachings of the Buddha. Many of these teachers transmitted their entrepreneurial spirit and skills to their disciples, and AltZTA now consists of one hundred members from all major lineages.

Once an applicant has become a member of the AltZTA (becomes a  ”made roshi” or a ”wiseguy without rank”), he or she is given a hand-made, impressive rakusu, and may attend our annual meetings.  Discussion topics and presentations – some by members, some by outside professionals – at past meetings have included:

  1. Enlightened Despotism
  2. Mass Marketing Spirituality
  3. Online enlightenment Services
  4. Legal Issues and the Precepts
  5. Fundraising
  6. Coaching
  7. Trans/Integralism
  8. Sex with Students who exhibit Psychological Problems
  9. Zen and Quantum Neurology, Chrystal Healing, and Other Profitable Superstitions
  10. Why Not Only Laypersons should get Laid
  11. Stylish, Impressive Robes

MEMBERSHIP
The AltZTA wishes to maintain itself as a peer group, so it can provide an opportunity for mutually beneficial contacts. Therefore, the group seeks to insure that the backgrounds and activities of prospective members are similar to those of current members. To insure these aims, the AltZTA has instituted the following procedure for determining membership eligibility.

People wishing to join AltZTA are encouraged to consider the criteria listed below. If they feel they satisfy a significant number of these criteria, they are encouraged to contact us and request a detailed membership application. Completed applications will be evaluated by the membership committee, a standing committee created and empowered by decision of the AltZTA membership as a whole.

The major criteria are:

  1. Has the candidate shown sufficient entrepreneurial skills? Is s/he a regular attendee at Buddhist Freaks/Buddhist Geeks/Integral, and/or Transintegral conferences and other events? Has s/he received a hyperbolic endorsement from Ken Wilber or Jack Kornfield? Has s/he exchanged scarves with Tibetan lineage holders? Has s/he been made fun of at any SNB websites?
  2. Does the candidate devote a significant portion of time developing and promoting web services or DVD:s?
  3. Before authorization, did the candidate appear on the cover of Tricycle/Shambhala Sun/BuddhaDharma magazines?

Before being inducted, a potential made roshi is required to carry out an enhanced seduction of a disciple. Any seduction/rape of a female student committed for personal reasons does not count. However, under certain circumstances it is sufficient for a candidate to have particiated in a cover-up operation in order to fulfill this requirement.

Questions on the membership application are designed to give a detailed picture of the ways in which a candidate meets these criteria.

EDIT: Read the enthusiastic response from the Soto Zen Community here.

Online Dokusan with Tutteji Wachtmeister Dai Osho

Dokusan, or private instruction from a fully transmitted Teacher is an opportunity for serious, dedicated Zen students to deepen their practice. For centuries, this kind of interaction has been an integral and essential element of authentic Zen practice. During dokusan, the student may bring up questions relating to practice, may demonstrate his or her understanding, or simply absorb the enlightened vibrations of a realized Master.

Tutteji Wachtmeister Dai Osho, award-winning spiritual teacher and generally acknowledged as one of the greatest Zen Masters alive, is now offering  ONLINE DOKUSAN. Click here, simply submit your question and you will receive expert guidance from a living Master.

newtutte1How we react to people who are good at what they do and  make  more money than ourselves,  is very revealing of the beliefs underlying our own unhappiness and with that the unhappiness we create our planet with.

I generally don’t do private sessions (because they don’t excite me) but I have decided to help a few, highly motivated individuals by offering one-on-one guidance, in order to give them an opportunity to support my work and the work of Transintegral Institute.

I have decided to charge $300 for every dokusan. Why 500 dollars? Simply because this seems to be the optimal fee for a one-pointed and truly beneficial interaction.

When I felt into possibly doing $100 sessions, it didn’t excite me. When I felt into doing $200 sessions, I started getting more excited about the idea. Myunique self warmed up to it. Energies started to align more, but not enough yet to actually offer them.

When I then thought of charging $300, the idea suddenly clicked into place and now felt in alignment (read: healthy, inspired, and beneficial to my being and the world) with my Heart-Mind.

I could see how, in addition to it allowing me to help Transintegral Institute, it would also serve as a beautifully potent and catalytic experience for those who choose to commit to paying $300 to something they truly believe will advance them along big time.

I never felt like a fraud since I am 100% confident in my ability to help anyone from any spiritual background achieve any goal or realization they desire, as well as save them many many hours, even years of living a mediocre life of depression, compulsive seeking and self-doubt.

I know therefore that I can help them save tons of money as well, but also help them generate a living and more with doing what they love; by being who they are.

In other words, I feel that what I offer is worth so much more than what I charge. Hence I never feel like a fraud even if I would charge a million dollars. Besides I keep my information open through many ways for free, and for less money than $300 as well. No one is forced into a session with me. But yet, people insist I am a fraud.

This perfectly illustrates the perverse, pervasive nature of limiting beliefs in our culture. You see, while those 5% of the world’s population firmly rooted on 4th tier understand the non-duality of Market and Mind, the vast majority is still stuck in pre-transintegral stages.

So considering the fact that I felt I could be of true benefit to both Transintegral Institute,  my work (my joy to be of service), the one person receiving dokusan with me, and the many people I can continue to reach by supporting my team who in turn support me by taking some work load off of my shoulders, this all felt like a perfect package, at least temporarily until it no longer resonates or serves to do so.

 

Complete Ayn Rand Altar

Through our safe and secure webshop, Transintegral Institute offers spiritual supplies of the highest quality, hand-made in our hygienic factory in Bangladesh. Whether you’re setting up a contemplative corner in your bedroom or plan a total makeover of your temple or meditation center, we can help you find exactly the right items. Upgrade your sanctuary now with our extensive selection of offerings, including fine altar supplies, bells, and malas as well as exquisite, sumptuous meditation outfits.

Complete Ayn Rand Altar
Setting up an altar to our transintegral matriarch does not need to be an expensive or elaborate affair. Something as simple as a small statue may be a perfect reminder to practice diligently. For those wanting to make their spiritual commitment manifest in the world, however,  we strongly suggest that you consider investing in a complete shrine. Not only will it add an impressive spiritual ambience to your home or office, it will also generate huge amounts of karmic merit to yourself and your loved ones. We can’t honestly think of any better, or more compassionate gift to the world.aynrandaltar

We are now offering a stylish, traditional altar, made of high-quality, laminated fiberboard with exquisite rose-wood finish, complete with light-emitting diodes and practical shelves and a drawer. (46cm x 36 cm x 67 cm)

The altar comes with a complete set of offering bowls, vases, and a candlestick holder, as well as an authentic bell, and museum-quality bronze bust of Ayn Rand. This statue was made by hand using the lost wax method and then painstakingly hand-patinated  – a process that takes several highly gifted artisans several months to finish, resulting in a one of a kind, totally unique and expertly made masterpiece, capturing the serene calm and emitting the empowering radiance of enlightenment.

Price upon request