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


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:

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:

Or here:

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.


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)

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

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.


18 thoughts on “My Argument with Soto Zen, or How I Learned to Fear the X

  1. The following clause is becoming more and more a part of service level agreements (no joke).

    “7.14. For the duration of this Agreement and for a period of three years thereafter, you agree that you shall not publish or participate in any online or print media in which the content is abusive and/or defamatory and/or a parody of us and/or our officers and/or our employees and /or their families and/or in which you impersonate us and/or our officers and/or our employees and/or their families.

    7.15: You acknowledge that a breach of the provisions in clause 7.14 would cause us irreparable injury for which we would not have an adequate remedy at law. In the event of a breach, you agree that we shall be entitled to injunctive relief in addition to any other remedies we may have at law or in equity.”

  2. The beautiful irony is that the definition of “trolling” is also an overwhelmingly effective method of upaya demonstrated by zen masters through the ages as well as our dear brother in Athens, Socrates. The recipients either are forced to accept their limitations or must play an ego game and find a reason to ignore the “troll” and thus ignore the parts of themselves being exposed and excised.
    Furthermore, “zen” “buddhist” “taoist” “non dual” etc groups suffer deeply because the “leaders” are seekers and the few illuminated who try to help are marginalized and ridiculed, and then simply don’t return. They become whirling vortices of ignorance, delusion, hated, etc. The very things the students are trying to “shed” become the only colors painting the walls.

    For seekers looking for better online sanghas, I have found the new-agey “law of attraction” groups can often be infinitely more helpful and supportive for awakening souls.

    Best of luck to you all brothers and sisters.
    With love,

  3. Anyone from AZI, or one of Merzel’s flunkies, pretending that they are anything to do with traditional Soto Zen practice is already in denial. As to these groups on Farcebook, it’s easy to get banned. I’ve been banned for asking posters to not post fake, made up Buddha quotes which flat out contradict Buddhist teaching. Apparently though many such groups are run not by those with any real experience of Zen training but by New Agers, who hide their intolerance and ignorance behind talk of being non judgemental (whilst being the most nasty and judgemental fuckers themselves).

    How that excuses people making up bullshit and posting it as quotes from the Buddha, or, as in your case, not having some basic level of common sense and a sense of humour though is frankly beyond me. I know of only about two or three so called Buddhist groups on FB that are of any merit. The rest are just bollocks for the continued mental masturbation of people who have never sat Zazen, never met a teacher and have no idea what Zen is. In short, they’re a joke which your humour does a necessary task of pointing out. Keep up the good work.

    • Hi John ‘Genryu’, I want to warn you. You are inviting massive amounts of extremely bad karma by your comments. You seem to think that you know “what Zen is”. Let me tell you that only the Grand Master Tutteji himself is allowed to say anything like this. I just want to save your little fucked up x-buddhist ‘soul’, so don’t take it as something against you personal. As you will learn sooner or later – hopefully (I’ll pray for it) – there is nothing personal. There is only the fucked up deluded totally moronated x-buddhist buddhafield with things like “real experience of Zen training”. Let’s hope that The Grand Master Wachtmeister is really keeping up the good work and that he will show mercy for you exposing your extremely perverted view that insults every thinking human being by insinuating that – at last – there still is a true and right buddha quote. I fear you are another example what fucktards x-buddhism is producing. But there is hope man. Just succumb to the Grand Master and shut up.

      I hope this will save you. I pray for it.

    • “one of Merzel’s flunkies” do you even know anything about the person you have commented on here? The article makes a passing reference to one person being part of the lineage that merzel also belongs to, that doesn’t mean they have any interaction with Merzel or agree with his behaviour. I know a lot of people who belong to this very vast lineage who either do not know anything about Merzel or who think he is an idiot or inconsequential to their practice and beliefs. He is one very flawed man, and entire lineage should not be judged on Merzel’s mistakes.

      • Hi Kathyrn,
        First of all, I didn’t call him “one of Merzel’s flunkies”, I merely pointed out that he is some kind of middle manager in the “lineage” of a prominent Zen huckster. And the reason I even mentioned this, was to make it clear that this FB group is managed by representatives of institutional Soto Zen, and not simply some random, flaky new agers. (Something which is not obvious to the casual visitor, who is met with a flood of imbecile “Buddha quotes” and pictures of sunsets.)

        If people belong to this lineage without knowing who Merzel is, that says a lot about the ignorance and need for open discussion within this stream of x-buddhism, don’t you agree?

  4. Pingback: News and Updates (2 new items) « Speculative Non-Buddhism

  5. I was replying to John ‘Genryu’ ‘s comment who as you can see, did say that in reference to you mentioning that he was part of the same lineage. I think, personally, that you made the reference about him being part of the same lineage as Merzel so that people may possibly draw the conclusion that he is to be tarred with the same brush.

    As for people not knowing who he is, I don’t think it is relevant as all. A faith is a personal thing, belonging to a faith does not mean you need to know about every person who was ever prominant in that faith. If someone joined after the last Merzel scandal do they need to be taken aside and told “by the way, this guy who practiced in a different country to you in the same practice messed up a lot and is a bit of a tool”. Also for people who are aware who he is within the lineage, I don’t see how that should reflect their practice, except maybe “Well I don’t want to be like him”. Buddhism and even this lineage of buddhism is not the problem, but obviously there will always be people in any lineage or faith or organisation who use their position for no good.

    Also I would appreciate it if my words were not twisted for your convenience, there is a lot of open discussion in this lineage about anything people want to talk about, people are not ignorant of Merzel because of some secret hush up, but people do not sit around gossiping about it either, there are better things to do, including getting on with your own practice. i’m pretty sure that gossip is against the values of Buddhism as well.

    So to clarify, if people want to know about the controversies within the lineage, no one is stopping them nor will they withold information and let’s be honest, there is enough information on the internet if anyone did! Also, if you want to show that some group is “managed by representatives of institutional Soto Zen, and not simply some random, flaky new agers” you could always phrase it in a less inflammatory way such as “and a member of the White Plum Sanga / lineage”. Oh look, that also shows that it is a group with people who are actively involved in “institutional Soto Zen” but maybe you are just looking for something to back up your view of how terrible all these people are!

    • Hi Kathyrn,

      Fair enough, I missed Genryu’s comment. But, yes, in a way I guess you could say that I tar Alastair with the same brush. I also noted that the Stonewater Sangha is peddling Genpo’s snakeoil in the form of “Big Mind”, which seems to be a good reason to issue a serious warning.

      I’m sure you don’t think it’s relevant to know who Genpo is, but we’re talking about a congregation where he was a major player until he was forced to resign, a congregation that obviously didn’t find his behavior problematic enough to get rid of him until 50 or so of his colleagues issued a public condemnation. This is also a congregation tainted with numerous scandals I won’t bother to list here. Interested readers could check the Sweeping Zen website.

      Of course, faithful x-buddhists will always call critical comments “gossip”, and will always prefer comatose zazen to thinking. But this project is not intended for you. It is for people willing to do some actual thinking – and have a good laugh at the clowns in robes.

      Another thing, Please don’t come here and lecture me about my choice of words. I don’t give a fuck about x-buddhist right speechism. And I think the correct name is White Plum Asanga.

    • Yet another thing, Kathyrn,
      As people are complaining so much about my cynicism and negativity, I shold probably end this with something cheerful: There is hope for you. Or, as Patrick Jennings eloquently put it:

      Decrying critique for its negativity almost always turns out to be a symptom of the affective dimension of decision or, if the person has begun to question the validity of the x-buddist discourse, the onset of dissonance. In both cases an extra dose of criticism is what the Buddha doctor ordered in order to shake the foundations and as a prelude to leaving the house in ruin. Nothing else will do! Its slash and burn brothers, and take no prisoners!


  6. Wow you do get angry when people disagree don’t you!

    I do a lot of thinking for myself, that is why I see comments painting the whole of a lineage with the actions of a few fools as absurd!

    Merzel was a major player in some parts, others knew him for the fraud he was and steered clear, but maybe you are not interested with that. It doesn’t conform to your rigid views! As for faithful x-buddhist… sorry you have the wrong person, I just know a some people in various roles in that sanga/asanga whatever you want to call it, and I know they have a good laugh at themselves in their robes! Then again I don’t expect to change your mind, although if you don’t want people to lecture your choice of words you maybe shouldn’t have a section of the internet where you show them. Some people will always disagree.

    As regards to gossip, I am pretty sure most people view it as not very good no matter what their beliefs.

    Again I am pretty any religion or organisation has a list of controversies as long as a piece of string… and you really going to judge everyone by that? Is that something a thinker would do? It doesn’t seem logical to me at all.

    The Stonewater website may show they are “peddling” Big Mind, I’m pretty sure they are not charging $10,000 for it and I haven’t seen any of the monks running around on flash motorbikes like Merzel or even having anything they haven’t earned from their real jobs.

    Well I will leave you to your small views and bid you a good night.

  7. Hi again,

    I am not angry, at least not with you. But, as I told someone over at the Soto Zen board the other day, I admit that I find pretentions of knowing the moods and motivations of others to be quite annoying.

    I am sure you do a lot of thinking (we all do), but that doesn’t mean you have shown yourself to be a particularly good thinker. For example, I wasn’t exactly “painting the whole of a lineage with the actions of a few fools”, if by “fools” you mean the well-known, prominent predators of that lineage. What I was trying to point out was that this cult sangha accepted their behavior for decades. If, for example, if people knew Merzel for “the fraud he was”, why didn’t they speak up? Why didn’t they warn others? What kind of cynicism was at work here? You don’t need to respond – I’m not interested in having a discussion about this topic here, it’s been going on ad nauseam at other places. Also, I’m sure most people would say that gossip isn’t a great thing, but what I was talking about was how dissenting voices are labeled that way.

    Re: The “Big Mind™” nonsense, it doesn’t really matter how much people charge for it, does it?

    Sorry, but if you want to comment here you should at least make the effort of reading the things you respond to.

  8. Kathryn.

    I know they have a good laugh at themselves in their robes!

    I wonder if you realize to what degree this passing admission of yours reveal the rotten core of lineages, Zen, and x-buddhism as a whole. Exactly, what are they laughing at. And don’t be too quick to answer. Why do they continue to wear the robes anyway? And don’t be too quick to answer. I can think of at least ten similar questions that help to dissect what is going on with this “laughing at themselves.” Can you? And don’t be too quick to answer.

  9. tuttewachtmeister
    You in your first response claimed that you mentioned Merzel merely as a point of reference to the calibre of people in the group, then admitted that you maybe did it to tar Alasdair with the same brush. You also call him Alasdair in your article and Alastair to me. Also “Please don’t come here and lecture me about my choice of words. I don’t give a fuck about x-buddhist right speechism.” sounds like I ruffled your feathers a little… maybe you should read your own posts.

    Glenn Wallis I don’t even care, your answer sounds as pretentious as the vague posts I dislike myself from some buddhist and zen forums! Stop trying to look clever. You see the difference is that I am coming to you with an open mind and clear intentions and my whole reason for starting these posts is that someone in the original article was judged for something he was not a part of. Merzel’s corruption. However, all of you seem to be very blinkered that you just want to find more ways to twist everything to your point of view, whether it fits or not.

    I am not interested inn twisting anything, merely pointing out that you should not be quick to judge one person who no one posting on this knows in real life. You have nothing to compare but the actions of a very flawed man who was part of the same lineage. In a different country!

    Maybe by remark about them laughing at themselves suggested that they do not take themselves too seriously and therefore are different to Merzel who thought he was untouchable through his postition. He definitely took himself too seriously, don’t you agree.

    I am of the opinion, as I always am, that in all places there are people who are genuine and people who are not. In a vast group of people spread accross continents and am willing to admit that some will be in the lineage for their own devices and some are very genuine. You cannot assume that the person you referenced is not genuine. Surely it is very similar to saying “I met someone who was Italian and they were not nice, all italians are not nice! It just makes no sense.

    Take a step back from your hatred of “institutional zen” and admit that a lot of people in all of these groups are genuine, and that their practice works for them. Can you do that? I am not sure you can, you are so wrapped up in your own ideas. I am sure the people in this lineage will be the first to admit that not everyone who has been/is a member is honest and tru. They are all human and made up of good people and idiots like anywhere else.

    I can see though for what little interaction I have had with you all that I am probably wasting my time, the only things that are real to you are what back up your own views. So do not expect me to keep replying as I don’t see the point in the futile exercise of trying to make you all think outside of this blinkered view you have. I would be wasting my time, instead I will just leave you all to your own argument.

    • Kathyrn,

      That’s an awful lot of text after “I’m not interested.” Rather than make vague, somewhat natty remarks, why not just answer the questions I asked–but not too quickly!

      Also, what does “pretentious” mean?

      I am appealing to your bodhisattva nature to help me open up my blinkered view! Gassho!

    • Kathyrn,

      If you want to keep commenting here, you need to follow a couple of simple rules:

      1. Carefully read comments before posting a reply.

      2. Avoid ad homs and speculations about other people’s motives.

      Critical comments on this blog or the SNB project as a whole are welcome here, but I have very little patience with laziness, stupidity and nonsense (if it’s not funny, and your comments are boring as hell).

      As for Alasdair, he is welcome to comment on his choice to associate with the “lineage” of Genpo Merzel and the Big Mind™ scam if he so desires, but that is really not what the original post is about.

      It’s too bad you didn’t care to think about Glenn’s question:

      I know they have a good laugh at themselves in their robes!

      I wonder if you realize to what degree this passing admission of yours reveal the rotten core of lineages, Zen, and x-buddhism as a whole. Exactly, what are they laughing at … Why do they continue to wear the robes anyway … I can think of at least ten similar questions that help to dissect what is going on with this “laughing at themselves.” Can you?

      I know that quite a few x-buddhist teachers read and enjoy this blog (or so they say).

      “Ha-ha! This guy really nailed it!”

      “I actually asked around other Zen folks if they had heard of this guy before realizing it is a farce. A so so … sadly, sometimes too close to home … bitingly funny satire.”

      “It’s important that we can laugh at ourselves, and Tutteji helps us to do that.”

      … and so on. Clearly, x-buddhists can laugh at their own folly (and, no doubt, the folly of their naive students). Some people even find this laudable.

      Well, I don’t.

      Instead, I see this as a perfect example of what’s been called “cynical reason” or “cynical distance”. We know damn well that we’re part of a deluded, harmful system. We’ve “seen through” it, but if we maintain an ironic distance, and have a good laugh at ourselves every now and then, at least we don’t have to feel so bad about it. Quite a few people will even admire this cynicicsm, and see it as a sign of maturity.

      Forgive them for they know not what they do?

      No, I don’t think so.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s