I Kid. I like Brad’s blog and his writings. The comment section can annoy the hell out of me sometimes but I read them anyway. So don’t moderate the comments, let people talk and bitch and be themselves.
Something that Brad recently posted and Arun (from Angry Asian Buddhist) commented on.
(From Brad Warner) I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, I don’t keep this blog as a way of teaching Zen. Zen cannot be taught via the Internet or on a blog. Same as you couldn’t teach someone how to play basketball via the Internet or on a blog
Sure you could teach a lot about basketball via the Internet, its history, its major players, statistics, descriptions of playing techniques. You could even put up some helpful videos or give advice to people who emailed questions. But you couldn’t really teach basketball that way. You would need to be face-to-face in the same gymnasium. No two ways about it.
People imagine you could teach Zen via the Internet because they imagine that Zen is an intellectual philosophy, they imagine that the words are the philosophy. But they aren’t, not anymore than the words in a blog about basketball are the real act of playing basketball.
Basketball and Zen are hardly the same thing and I’m not surprised when a Roshi insists that they are necessary to the study of Zen when for the most part they aren’t. I do agree that practice requires some face-to-face at times to deepen the experience but it is hardly necessary for that face to face to be with a “Roshi”. My small group of practitioners aid in my practice twice a week and I push myself daily. Zen is not a team sport. It is more like wrestling (to continue with silly sports analogies). The only way to really learn is to throw down.
I do agree that Zen is not primarily an intellectual process – it is a process of doing. So Fuck the Roshi and Fuck the Blogs! Just sit when you can and if you need help with it go to what resources are available. If those are only online then go there. If you have a teacher to focus your practice then fantastic. Use what you have but don’t attach to it.
You see, Brad, the ACT of Zen does not require you or me or Jundo or Junko or anyone else. While just reading about Zen (say….in one of your books) or on a blog post is worthless without us actually practicing it. All that is needed is a person and a desire to practice, nothing else. Everything else is supplementary – helpful but supplementary.