Monday, 2 June 2008

Taking It Personally -- ERRATA

Gudo's thesis is that the essence of his true Buddhism is to do something -- to keep the spine straight vertically in order to balance the autonomic nervous system.

I have been endeavoring to clarify the anti-thesis that the liberation Gautama Buddha experienced under the bodhi tree was an undoing, and you cannot do an undoing. You cannot do an undoing. But you can point yourself in that direction, by thinking -- by thinking into that no thinking zone.

Philosophically speaking, Gudo has presented his thesis against which I have posited my anti-thesis. Simply that.

But the antagonism between Gudo and me has got many more dimensions to it than the philosophical.

That I chose to dwell on them when I originally wrote this post was not only a waste of valuable time: it was also symptomatic of a very wrong tendency within me.

That I followed this wrong tendency was not in accordance with the teaching of Gautama Buddha (viz. Not to Do Harmful Things) or the teaching of Master Dogen (viz. The Ten Directions, viz. Deep Belief in Cause and Effect; The Beggar in the Fourth Dhyana; Karma in the Three Times et cetera).

It was my mistake. I apologize for the error.


gniz said...

Here is where i wonder about the value of something like therapy...

I mean, you talk about trying to sit in a way that you dont stir up emotions, so that you wont take it all personally...

Sometimes it seems to me that so much of Buddhism is about people trying not to feel emotions...not to deal with things that are clearly having a real impact.

Someone said "reality is that which resists."

It seems to me that the reality which appears to resist for you, Mike (based on your writings), is the betrayal you feel over Gudo's treatment of you.

So maybe really dealing fully with all of those emotions, feeling the pain, and hurt, and sadness, and then hopefully coming to a place where you can truly forgive Gudo and let it go...

That sounds like "New-age" bullshit, but in fact aren't those painful emotions really incredibly difficult to face?

Dealing with emotions, in my life, has been the most difficult and yet rewarding stuff I've come across.

Anonymous said...


I have to concur with gniz on this. You do seem to spend a lot of time running away from things. Whether physically or in zazen or by externalising and projecting.

When I sat in Zazen the problem I had was how to DEAL and ACCEPT the things that came up not how to avoid them.

I find it difficult to conceive of how it is that a father with two kids can leave his family to run off alone to france during exam time.

Today, I know that I am constantly finding ways of learning how to not run away from things. The things which I fear. The things that I find difficult. That is what I do. I don't always succeed. I just keep at it. My progress in dancing is limited by how fast I can come to terms with the things that I fear, the things that are undealt with. I don't run away, I face them; just as fast as I can.

By your own admission you are not supporting your family financially and I guess that you are spending (based on your blog) at least 3 months a year in france staring at the forest.

If you strip away the Zen veneer you could claim that you are a hippy or a bum.

You are trained in and promote AT and yet you don't seem to do much that would build a viable business doing this. Equally, you are an expert in English/Japanses translation and yet don't write about any work doing this commercially either even though it could pay quite well. At the same time, you seem to avoid getting a real job and also turn down money from Gudo Nishijima based on some idealistic principle. You seem to do everything that you can to not earn money.

You claim to want to teach Buddhism and yet as it stands today your own life looks to outsiders like a complete fucking disaster.

You are not acting much like a husband, or a father, or somoene who can hold down a job, or generally behave like an adult.

My own life is far from perfect. I've freely written about it. But I'm covering the basics - earning my living, growing a business and laying away capital for my retirement, building relationships, following hobbies and so on. Living. I'm building a life that tries to overcome the past, I'm working with what I have. I'm not claiming it as an excuse for sitting on my arse and whining.

You may only have one ball but that still means that you are a man. Most of the time you seem to behave like a whiny teenage girl.

I've been reading your self-indulgent "Gudo fucked me up" shit for many years now. There has been a little about "I allowed Gudo to fuck me up" and a little about "I can unfuck myself" but not much.

You also seem determined to give yourself some sort of title - it was Dharma Heir of Gudo Nishijima, Non-Buddhist, now it's Mr Wrong. You seem to want to cling to some single definitive identity. I've no idea why.

You are clearly less fucked up than you were five years ago (from what I've been reading) but that is a pretty low bar.

If you were to put a "Donate" paypal button on your website your self-righteousness would be complete.

If you spent 3 days a week doing Samu at Tesco's "beep... beep.... beep..." you'd at least be living in the 'real' world and taking some of the pressure off your wife to pay the bills and showing your kids what obligations and responsibilities mean.

Dunno why I'm ranting at you today. I guess I'm just tired of reading your fucking whining and just want you to get off your self-righteous lazy ass and DO something about it.

Harry said...

Mike h,

Thank-you very much for that sobering and practical set of observations. I am a selfish prick and so find much to consider in your message.

In your post you mention that you write a lot. What do you write?



Will said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike Cross said...

Thank you, Mike H, for noticing me going in the right direction -- albeit very slowly and from a very low starting point. I would like to give the credit to sitting-zen. I have never ran away from sitting-zen, and sitting-zen has never ran away from me. In that sense, I have been truly blessed. I don't know why.

In future when advocates of professional psycho-babble, or of reliance on Buddhist precepts, pester sitting-zen devotees, maybe those devotees can use my example, saying: "Look at Mike Cross. He neither resorted to psychological counselling, nor bothered about precepts, and yet he still managed, relying just on cheap and simple old sitting-zen, to go in the right direction -- albeit very slowly and from a very low starting point."

Still, I am not very good at jumping high bars, like the drone of light aircraft over Aylesbury vale. The reason I come to France is just to enjoy jumping over a very low bar...

bah, black sheep
have you any wool?
yes sir, yes sir,
three bags full

RAY, RAY, DO....

Anonymous said...


I said "written". I used to write a blog. I don't anymore.

gniz said...

Mike Cross,

That you take pride in never trying things such as therapy or other avenues, is sad to me.

Your singlemindedness seems to be more of a hindrance than a help.

Many people could benefit from having more of a single-minded attitude. Many people jump around too often from one thing to another without mastering anything.

You are not one of those people, i dont think. You seem to be somebody whose singlemindedness has become an obsession, and i reckon if you did therapy you'd be a much better person for it.

If for no other reason than you could no longer have your high minded, "I'm better than those namby pamby psycho babblers" attitude.

Will said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...


"Look at Mike Cross. He neither resorted to psychological counselling, nor bothered about precepts, and yet he still managed, relying just on cheap and simple old sitting-zen, to go in the right direction -- albeit very slowly and from a very low starting point."

But that's not all you do. In this blog you identify failings from the past. In "Nothing But the Lifeblood" you work through the Shobogenzo and gain something from it.

So your own actions already show that you don't think Zazen is just enough.

So it might be that people eventually say:

"Look at Mike Cross, he pissed away the best 40 years of his life to fail to prove a point. What a waste of great potential. Maybe I'll just do whatever works regardless of what it's called and then I can just get on with my life."

Mary Had a Little Lamb
Its fleece was white as snow
Everywhere that Mary went
The Lamb was sure to go

Anonymous said...

...and you don't even rely on cheap and simple Zazen. You require external circumstances to be just right. If you really were relying just on cheap and simple Zazen there would be no need for France. You could sit in your garden or in your house or on the train into London or whatever.

This of course doesn't even include all the benefit that you claim to have gained from AT and Marjory.

So at the most fundamental level you are not even being honest with yourself let alone anyone else when you claim "Zazen is all you need".

Why not just be honest and admit that you use a range of things including AT, Zazen, Translation work, studying the Shobogenzo and other things.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall;
All the King's horses and all the King's men,
Couldn't put Humpty together again.