Brad Warner’s Hardcore Zen: Buddhism – A Religion Based On Not Giving A Fuck?
Jul 2012 16

Brad Warner’s Hardcore Zen: Buddhism – A Religion Based On Not Giving A Fuck?  

Posted In Blog

by Brad Warner

This picture (above left) got posted on my Facebook wall last week (why is it called a wall?). Apparently it’s one of those things that’s been making the rounds on the Internets lately judging by the number of comments it had attracted even before it reached me.

I don’t even want to get into the implied racism of choosing to illustrate this idea with a photo of a bucktoothed, bespectacled Asian with his head bowed submissively. Instead I’d like to focus on the caption.

First off, Buddhism is definitely not a religion based on not giving a fuck.

Someone posted a comment on this photo correcting it to “doctrine based on not giving a fuck” and someone else said, “Not a religion idiot.” But the problem isn’t whether or not Buddhism is a religion. That really depends on how you define the word religion. No, the issue here is about whether or not Buddhism is about not giving a fuck.

I’ve been doing some soul (or lack of soul) searching to try to figure out how exactly it got to the point where so many people imagine that Buddhism is about not giving a fuck. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

For one thing, Buddhism actually doesn’t give a fuck about a lot of the things that are considered by most religions to be extremely important. For instance, in Buddhism it doesn’t matter what you believe. I have to qualify this, though. Because there are Buddhists out there who do think it matters very much what you believe. Stephen Batchelor writes about his struggles with these kinds of Buddhists in his book Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist. Batchelor was once part of a Tibetan-based Buddhist organization who cared very much about what he believed. Indeed, I was called an anti-Buddhist by some who thought that my non-belief in what they called “literal rebirth” made me a heretic. But those Buddhists were confused and wrong.

Buddhism is not a belief system. It has a cosmology attached to it. But it’s not crucial to the practice that you believe any of that stuff. Gautama Buddha was concerned with relieving human suffering. He didn’t see any reason to think that belief played any great part in dealing with the pain he saw as inherent to existence.

Nishijima Roshi likes to say, “The only thing I believe in is reality.” That kind of belief is important to Buddhism. But that’s not what most religions mean when they talk about belief. Those other religions (or doctrines or whatever) want you to believe in things that you can’t verify for yourself. Deepak Chopra articulated this recently in one of his Twitter postings. It said, “Only the invisible is truly real.” That’s the complete opposite of Buddhist belief. We believe in reality, not in invisible stuff whose existence is found only in ancient books.

Buddhism also does not give a fuck about worship. There are no gods up there in the sky who demand compliments and gifts. We do sometimes bow down in front of statues. But we don’t do this because we believe the statue craves our praise. We bow to something higher within ourselves that the statue represents.

Buddhists also don’t give a fuck about certain behavioral issues other religions think of as terribly important. For example, I don’t know of any Buddhist organizations who oppose gay marriage. The Dalai Lama famously said that he thought homosexuality was a violation of the Buddhist principle of not misusing sex (I happen to disagree). But even Mr. Lama said it was not a very great violation and that if people were happy in their homosexual relationships he didn’t see any terrific harm in them. Abortion is not a major issue to any Buddhists that I’m aware of. The teaching of evolution in public schools doesn’t matter much to most Buddhists. In fact, unlike most other religions, Buddhism has no fear at all that science will one day come along and disprove its basic tenets. On the contrary, Buddhism embraces science.

But I’m not sure this is quite what the caption on the photo of that bucktoothed monk was referring to as not giving a fuck. I think whoever made that image may have perceived Buddhism as having a very casual attitude toward pretty much everything in life. He probably perceived Buddhism as a religion that had enshrined the attitudes of stoners like the guys from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure as its ideal.

But that’s not really it. Or maybe it is. But it’s not quite the same, I think. I actually like Bill and Ted and have quoted them as people (albeit fictional ones) whose philosophy is worthy of respect. “Be excellent to each other” is a great sentiment. But the real world people upon whom Bill and Ted are modeled are usually people whose system is too full of THC for them to be able to care about much of anything. They’re so unfocused that nothing can possibly matter because they’re too numb to their environment to care much about it.

Buddhism is about being extremely aware of everything that’s going on. By becoming more aware of reality, you also become aware that your own thoughts are not so important. This means that you can have as many fears, worries, neuroses and so forth as you want. You just don’t really care very much about them because, after all, they’re just thoughts.

It seems to me that for most people “giving a fuck” means being intensely wrapped up in your own thoughts. Buddhists don’t learn how not to worry. They learn how not to worry about being worried. It’s not that we don’t care. We care a lot. But we also see what our real role is in the things we care about.

Buddhism is not a philosophy of complacency.

There is a huge difference between accepting things as they are and being complacent or apathetic. I definitely want to change the world. I seek nothing less than to completely overthrow the current society, which is sick and depraved and headed for disaster. I give a huge fuck about that. But I’m not going to do it fast and I’m not going to do it alone. In fact, I will be dead and gone long before things change in the way I know they must.

But that’s not enough to make me simply lie back down and say, “fuck it.” I take action. But my action doesn’t seem like much. I meditate every day and I teach others how to meditate. I write. I give lectures. I devote all of my life to making the world better. But I do it in ways that probably seem small and ineffective to those who have a different definition of what “giving a fuck” ought to look like.

***

Brad Warner is the author of Sex, Sin and Zen: A Buddhist Exploration of Sex from Celibacy to Polyamory and Everything in Between as well as Hardcore Zen, Sit Down and Shut Up! and Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate. He maintains a blog about Buddhist stuff that you can click here to see. You can also buy T-shirts and hoodies based on his books, and the new CD by his band Zero Defex now!
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Got Problems? Sex, Love and Relationship Advice From SuicideGirls’ Team Agony
Jul 2012 16

Got Problems? Sex, Love and Relationship Advice From SuicideGirls’ Team Agony  

Posted In All Things SG,Blog,Love,Relationships,Sex,Society

by SG’s Team Agony feat. Kurosune

Let us answer life’s questions – because great advice is even better when it comes from SuicideGirls.


[Kurosune in Apollo]

Q: I’ve been married for seven years to my high school sweetheart – if you can call him that – I just call him my legally bound roommate. During our marriage I was faithful for the first 6 1/2 years. Him? Well that’s a different story. He’s cheated on me 3 times that I know of. The worst was when I found out about the first two 6 months after my mom died. The last one was about a year ago.

I forgave him so quick the first time when I found out just because I didn’t want to lose him, but this last time has taken longer because I don’t know what I want anymore. Since I found out we’ve done the marriage counseling thing. It seemed like it was working, but he had to stop because he travels for work. He’s only home for about 5 days out of the month and over the summer he went to Australia for 3 weeks.

When he got back I told him that in my mind he hooked up with someone while he was gone and whether he had or hadn’t I didn’t want confirmation because it would just make things worse. While he was gone, I kind of took it upon myself to do what I wanted when I wanted. I mean, he did it, so why couldn’t I? And in all honesty, it felt nice – and still does.

I don’t want to loose him but I don’t know if I really want to stay married either. The idea of an open marriage sounds appealing but I know in all honesty that would probably be the first step of the demise of us. I know I love him, but I just can’t seem to figure out if I’m still in love with him.

A: Seven years is a long time, I commend you for staying in a relationship so long. I speak from personal experience when I say I know exactly what it is like to fall in love and then move in with your high school sweetheart. Me and mine were together for over six years before we finally broke it off. However, your situation…well, it’s a toughy, isn’t it?

I will just cut straight to the chase: A CHEATER IS A CHEATER IS A CHEATER. Very rarely do cheaters change. And for him to have abandoned you when you needed him the most for some nookie – that’s even worse.

I truly empathize with you, because when my mother was in the hospital, all one of my guy friends was trying to do was fuck, so I can appreciate how incredibly insensitive he is as well. Under the circumstance, the fact that you stayed faithful for so long is even more commendable. I’m slightly reminded of the song, “I Shoud’ve Cheated.” You should look it up – a little music therapy for you.

And honey, those are the three times THAT YOU KNOW OF. Again, I wouldn’t have forgiven him after the first incident. But when you say, “You did what you want to do,” that implies that you cheated as well, and, sweetheart, two wrongs certainly do not make a right.

I have a personal philosophy when it comes to cheating: If he loved you, he would have never cheated in the beginning. The opposite side of that, as I see it, is that the minute you had sex with that other guy while in a committed relationship it meant you were basically admitting to yourself that you were no longer in love with him.

Truly, this is your decision, but in reality, however subconsciously, it seems like you’ve already made it. I can understand that you love him, but are you in love with him? And how deep does that love run? Will it cost you your dignity? Your heart? This may just be a relationship that has run its course and that is emotionally healthier to let go. But, ultimately, only you can know what path you need to take.

If it were me, I hope I’d have the strength to take the path away from a man who cheats, who will continue to cheat, and who will break your heart again and again and again. Stay strong and stay focused on what makes you happy. Remember, YOU COME FIRST.

Best of luck and all my love,

<3 Kurosune
XOX

***

Got Problems? Let SuicideGirls’ team of Agony Aunts provide solutions. Email questions to: gotproblems@suicidegirls.com

From The Archives: Gordon Moakes of Bloc Party
Jul 2012 16

From The Archives: Gordon Moakes of Bloc Party  

Posted In Blog,Entertainment,Interviews,Music

by Keith Daniels

“You have people pressed right up to the stage, and that’s nice.”
- Gordon Moakes

London’’s Bloc Party play danceable indie-rock with an unusual sense of urgency, like the band is striking up a merry tune on the deck of a sinking ship. They’’ve been lumped in with others of the new so-called “post-punk” revival: Franz Ferdinand and all that, but Bloc Party have perhaps a bit too much fire to fit in comfortably with their chilly, artsy, deadpan brethren — so it’’s perhaps no coincidence that bassist Gordon Moakes led off our recent conversation with a complaint about NYC’s low temperatures…

Read our exclusive interview with Gordon Moakes on SuicideGirls.com.

Tease of the Day
Jul 2012 16

Tease of the Day  

Posted In Blog,Tease

Tangerine Suicide in Fifties Love

  • MAKES ME HAPPY: Having fun with friends, going against the current!
  • MAKES ME SAD: Jealous people.
  • HOBBIES: Playing the guitar, designing clothes.
  • 5 THINGS I CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: I can live with essential things like love, freedom and music !
  • VICES: Buying clothes and eating delicious things like candies, chocolates!
  • I SPEND MOST OF MY FREE TIME: Being with my boy, making clothes listening to some cool music, drinking a beer and smoking some herb =).

Get to know Tangerine better over at SuicideGirls.com!