Archive for September, 2010

What the F*@%!

Posted: 09/30/2010 in Karma, Mindfulness

Have you ever had one of those days where you just wonder what the fuck? Stressful situations, like all things, as the Buddha taught, is impermanent. But have you ever wondered when the hell that impermanence will kick in? Well for me, this has been one of those weeks. Here is a short anecdote:

A couple days ago, I went out to leave for work at 4am to find a flat tire on my truck. This isn’t usually an overly stressful situation. However, me being the supervisor at my job, it is a major issue. I was scheduled to be at a jobsite an hour away, where there was a crew of 5-6 people waiting for the information I have in my possession before they could do anything at all. Even worse is that I found my spare was flat too, so I was going nowhere. Long story short, I had to borrow a vehicle and I rolled up to my jobsite a half hour late, and sure as shit I see all these people standing around waiting for me with nothing to do. I was mad because I was late, but I was also mad that my company has to pay these people to stand around and wait for my ass. On the drive there, I had time to think about how I would go about handling the situation, and just had to get through the work day. I tried to keep in mind that it’s a problem, but there is a solution, so there’s no point in worrying about it too much. This is stress that is impermanent. I got through the work day, and rearranged the schedule to get my son so I would be able to handle the issue. The problem got fixed, yet I had to buy a new tire and ended up spending twice the amount of money that day than I made working, extra money I definitely don’t have. But it got taken care of, impermanence kicked in, and I was sort of stress-free after paying the bill.

The next day on a break at work, I noticed a nail in a different tire. It wasn’t flat, but still needed to be fixed. At this point I asked myself when the hell this is going to end, and wondering why can’t a guy just catch a break? Luckily, this one was able to be fixed for free, but I was still pissed and wondering “what the fuck?” What did I do to deserve this, for karma to shit all over me? I actually asked myself (in not so eloquent terms) “when the hell is the impermanence of this stressful situation really supposed to kick in?” Because this just fucking SUCKS. It’s all I can do now to resist the paranoia to walk around my truck to make sure all the tires are inflated before I go anywhere, and if I do that I’m just going to drive myself bat-shit crazy. I’m talking like Mel Gibson crazy.

I just have to focus on this damn principle of impermanence, because in the midst of a stressful experience, no matter how much I ask myself “what the fuck” I know that this too shall pass.

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I’m Not Dead

Posted: 09/28/2010 in Uncategorized

To all three of you who actually read this blog:

I know I haven’t posted in a long time, but work has started back up again full-force and it’s all I can do to get enough sleep. The only positive about being off work for a couple of months is that I had the leisure of writing on my blog more frequently, and more time to study and meditate. Now that time has been cut immensely. I’m taking on a second job this month on weekend nights until Halloween as well.

I feel practice is more important than writing on the blog, so writing will have to suffer a bit and my spare time will be devoted to meditation and study, yet I will probably check in with something short and sweet like this from time to time. I haven’t completely “unplugged” from the internet, as I still read Twitter sporadically, and check in with the Online Meditation Crew whenever I can. I do think this is good for me, though. I’ve wasted many hours on social networks that could have been better spent on practice.

So that’s it for now, I’m not dead. Now it’s time for bed, as I have to get up at 3am.

Meditate and destroy!

-metalbuddha

When I started exploring Buddhism, Brad Warner was one of the first authors I read. The reason being is that he is a musician and played in hardcore punk bands, so I was drawn to him right away.  Being a metalhead, I was able to relate with that hardcore attitude, yet innate and practical discussions of Buddhism. I’ve enjoyed Hardcore Zen and Sit Down and Shut Up, so when I was contacted by the publisher to review Warner’s new book, Sex, Sin and Zen: A Buddhist Exploration of Sex from Celibacy to Polyamory and Everything in Between, I jumped at the chance.

Sex, Sin and Zen is much of the same attitude and humor that he displays in his other books, and although I’m sure many readers may feel that the puns and sex jokes got old after the first chapter, I didn’t. I have a weird sense of humor, so I thought it was hella punny, and he had me chuckling out loud more than once.

Warner breaks down sex, celibacy, masturbation, porn, BDSM, etc., subjects which – even though there is a precept dedicated to misuse of sex – seem to be a very taboo subject in Buddhism. Warner attempts to define “misuse of sex” but then really, who can define that? What is misuse to one person is just fun for another. The issues of attachment, desire, karma and mindfulness came up of course. What good Buddhist book wouldn’t have those in the discussion?

I did enjoy his rant about the overuse of the word “mindfulness” as it seems to have become a pop culture buzzword. But in discussing being mindful about sex, my favorite quote was “When you’re fucking, just fuck. When you’re not, just don’t.” He also included a chapter-long interview with Nina Hartley, who is a porn star, but also grew up Buddhist. She had some very insightful things to say in this interview and it was really cool to read that and learn from her. And yeah, I think she’s still hot. I’d hit it.

One theme that runs throughout Warner’s books is the stressing of the fact that doing zazen is the best way to answer a lot of these questions for yourself. Toward the end of the book, he gets more serious and discusses AIDS and STD’s, dating and relationships, and relationships between zen masters and students. There’s not a whole lot of footnote jokes in the last 1/3 of the book, but this is where he busts out the Dharma teaching.

Overall, I enjoyed Sex, Sin and Zen. I didn’t want to get too specific because I think it would be good for you to read it for yourself. This is a topic that isn’t really covered much, even though there is a precept devoted to the subject, so it’s worth a read just to get a different perspective on sex and everything that comes* along with it.

*Yes, I said comes.

SLAAAAYERRR!

Posted: 09/03/2010 in Metal, Music, Social, Thankfulness

On September 1, 2010, I was blessed with the opportunity to see legendary thrash metal band Slayer live for the first time in my life. Now all you metalheads may be asking “WHAT?! You’ve never seen Slayer live? You can’t call yourself a dedicated metalhead!” Well, let me explain:

I grew up in a Christian home, basically born on Saturday and in church on Sunday as the saying goes. I was never allowed to listen to secular music, which was known as “the devil’s music.” When I was a tween, I heard Stryper for the first time. This was right around the time I had inherited my grandfathers guitar when he passed and got interested in playing. There was something about the sound of a distorted guitar that really spoke to me, so that’s where my love of metal started. Hair metal is not quite “metal” in the real sense, but I digress. Using Stryper as a starting point, I was able to explore heavier Christian metal bands such as Whitecross (Rex Carroll is the shit!), Believer, Deliverance, Bride, Tourniquet, etc. I found that thrash metal was the style that I liked the best. In learning to play by reading guitar magazines, I found out about a whole new world of metal. Bands like Metallica, Slayer, Exodus, and Testament really caught my interest. I ended up sneaking around to listen to these bands and watch Headbanger’s Ball and it all went downhill from there. So if my mom ever reads this…sorry mom. You never knew I was such a rebellious kid, huh? Due to this situation, I never had the chance to see any of these bands live. Although I’m still pissed at my sister to this day for sneaking out to see Type O Negative and Queensryche when we were in high school and telling me after the fact. I could have at least taken them and been a chaperon, dammit!

There are plenty of years since then that I had opportunities to go see these bands live, but the ability to follow through hasn’t happened, for time or financial reasons or whatever. Yeah, I saw Testament at a small club here in town, and that was fuckin’ awesome, but seeing them in an arena was MUCH different. When the American Carnage Tour was announced with Slayer, Megadeth and Testament coming to the arena here, I thought this might be my chance to finally see the legends live. My friend Travis contacted me in March asking if I was going, and due to my job issues, I just told him that I was hoping to have a good job to be able to buy a ticket from someone around the time of the show if they were unable to make it. Little did I know that he had already bought a bunch of tickets, including one for me. I talked about this in Metta is Metal, about how metalheads stick together. Travis demonstrated the brotherhood of metal by buying me a ticket to this show so I could experience them live for my first time. Here’s a pic of us after the show. He has a metal face on, yet I have a really goofy smile because I was so stoked to have just experienced SLAYER!

I won’t go into a full-on review of the show, because this has already turned into a long post. But I wanted to share a little bit:

I walked in while Testament was playing and it was so awesome to see Alex Skolnick up on stage with them again. Last time I saw Testament, it was during his hiatus from the band doing his jazz thing. They played my favorite song “Into The Pit” and I went nuts.

Up next was Megadeth. I’ve never been a huge fan of the band, but I’ve liked them, and there are a bunch of songs I like, so it’s all good. That lead guitar player is no Marty Friedman, but it was awesome to see David Ellefson back in the band on bass.

When Slayer got onstage, I was really excited. I hadn’t looked online for any setlists of what they’ve been playing on the tour but I was hoping to hear my favorite songs, and I was not disappointed. Toward the end of the set I got to hear “South of Heaven,” “Raining Blood,” and they closed out the evening with “Angel of Death.”

And finally, here is a video of “Angel of Death.” Please excuse the slight shakiness, I was headbanging and singing along. And the sound sucks because it was taken with my phone.

I am very thankful to my friend for giving me this opportunity in which he demonstrated heavy metta! \m/