Sunday, February 17, 2008

SEX ABUSE AND ZEN or MAKING AN ASS OUT OF YOU AND ME

Assumption is a huge part of reading. It’s impossible for any writer to communicate his or her whole life to you. And anyway you wouldn’t want to hear about their painful bowel movement following last night’s Indian dinner or the new toothbrush they just bought at the 99 cent store. Or maybe you would if the writing was really superb. But even if they told you that, they’d be leaving out a whole lot of other stuff.

When you read someone’s writing you fill in what the writer leaves out either with your own personality or with your imagined version of that writer’s personality. Reading the comments section of my other blog gives me a sense of the imagined version of me that’s coalescing around the things I write. It’s kind of fascinating because it’s so vastly unlike the kind of person I am. Seeing this has caused me to drop my own tendency to imagine what the writers I like to read are really like. I just don’t know. Dropping that imagined voice of the writer has actually allowed me to enjoy a wide range of writing in a much more satisfying way.

Taking the last piece I put up on that page as an example, all I really gave you was a photo and a very brief description of the events surrounding when it was taken. From that little snippet, several people invented fascinating worlds of debauchery, insecurity, infidelity and all kinds of other juicy stuff. None of it was real. Yet our own thought inventions are very compelling to all of us and we often get completely lost in them.

When you see someone taking action that you cannot understand it may be best not to assume too much. It’s a big waste of time, effort and energy to do so anyway.

I decided today to try and explain publicly a very small degree of what’s been going on in my life lately that has led to me doing some things I’ve been writing about. Once you finish reading this, you won’t really know much more than you did before and you will fill in what you don’t know with various assumptions of your own. That’s OK. I only ask you to be aware of the fact.

When I write about going to a strip club or to a party for the Suicide Girls, a lot of people fill in their own details about why I went there. They assume I was there to get my rocks off, to party hardy, to indulge in debauchery and filth. I won’t try to convince you that’s not the case because, I’m really sorry, but I just don’t care what you think. It’s not worth my time, effort and energy. You’ll probably even think that I’m writing this piece because I want to convince you of something. You’ll make a whole lot of assumptions and you’ll believe them absolutely. There’s no point in my trying to change that.

But I would like to start talking about something that’s become very important to me and the little tirades I’ve been seeing in the comments section there allow me a convenient “in” to bringing this stuff up.

My work with Suicide Girls over the past year and a half or so has opened my eyes to a lot of aspects of our culture that I hadn’t been aware of before. One of those things is the prevalence of childhood sexual abuse and its impact. In the past year I’ve heard some truly heartbreaking stories from remarkable women. Not all of them have been SG’s. But the fact that I write for Suicide Girls has made some of these people far more comfortable with telling me their stories.

In fact, the theme of sexual abuse survivors has recurred a number of times in my Zen practice. One of the members of the first sangha I was part of was a sex abuse survivor. But I was too young and full of myself to be of any help to her. In retrospect, thinking about some of the things some of the women I dated in the past told me I tend to assume now they were trying to confess some of these same things but that I was too thick and stupid to pick up on the clues.

I’m starting to think a lot lately about the many issues involving zazen practice as a means of confronting the issues sex abuse survivors have. Of course, zazen is good from pretty much whatever ails you. But there are some specific aspects of the practice that sex abuse survivors might want to be aware of should they get involved in zazen.

One of the interesting issues from my own standpoint as a Zen teacher is how incredibly hard it is for someone with these kinds of issues to talk to a meditation teacher. Meditation teachers are generally very straight-laced, sexually repressed people. Even when a specific meditation teacher is not that kind of person, the aura of holiness that surrounds them can be very off-putting for people who need to talk about unusual aspects of their sex lives. Many sex abuse survivors have rather non-standard sex lives, not just because they've suffered abuse, but that the abuse they've suffered has made it difficult to interact sexually the way so-called "normal" people do. As a result a lot of people who could use a bit of what meditation has to offer will never approach it because of the mistaken impression that they are somehow too “dirty” to be involved in such lofty things. This is sad.

Of course, this doesn’t just apply to sex abuse survivors. I, myself, would have found Zen utterly unapproachable if I hadn’t come across someone like my own first Zen teacher who was not afraid to curse and fart and offend nice people. Though I’m not an abuse survivor myself, I too had assumed I was far too “dirty” for the kind of purity required to do what I saw as pure and holy activities like meditation. I will be forever grateful to Tim McCarthy and all his vile jokes.

I’m going to try to start writing about these issues in the form of a blog in the hope that it will generate material that I’ll eventually be able to digest and put into the form of a book. Because I’m taking this approach, the blog will be pretty experimental and I expect I’ll find myself taking some wrong steps and following a few blind alleys. But I believe this is necessary.

Since this stuff is a little different from what I established the Hardcore Zen blog to do, I’ve started this blog to address these topics. Who knows if I’ll be able to keep two blogs going at once. We shall see…

65 comments:

Jared said...

Digging the pink, Brad! I like the spirit that you've stated for this blog, and I really think it's something that needs to be addressed. Good luck!

-Jared

P.S. I have heard that some therapists use different forms of meditation as treatment for various things. Do you think zazen is better or worse for this sort of thing than say, counting the breaths, or any other sort of meditation?

bazaarofdreams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
aumeye said...

Jared, I can't help but smile that the very first words ever in the comments section of a blog called The Porno Buddhist are Digging the pink . . .

I'm excited about this new venture, Brad.

Brian Jones said...

As someone who has worked in the adult entertainment field and someone who practices zazen, I look forward to following how you develop this line of thinking. I can't wait to exchange ideas with you. Brian

Filip said...

Great idea! I'm looking forward to the articles you'll post on this blog! Good luck from me too...
and I also love the fact that the comment section starts with 'Digging the pink'! Pretty funy :-)
Dig on!

Mysterion said...

You might look into this, if you have time...

I once wondered about how many transgenders had similar youth issues.

Mike Doe said...

Pink Letterbox Zen

tehgeekmeister said...

Far too lazy to look up a real statistic, however, I have read that more than half (by some estimations) of american youth have been sexually abused. Might be worth researching for future posts. The statistic, if I remember right, was in a slightly related book (about dissociative disorders), called the myth of sanity.

Jared said...

Aumeye said: "Jared, I can't help but smile that the very first words ever in the comments section of a blog called The Porno Buddhist are Digging the pink . . ."

Hahaha! That was unintended, I promise! Freudian slip, perhaps? Let's analyze :-D

Imperatrix said...

Thank fuck for this blog!

Mysterion said...

It's more like 14.7% or 17.4% over the last decade... (Still, 1 in 6 or 1 in 7 - is not ideal parenting!)

The further back in history one goes... the more likely children are to have been abandoned, beaten, terrorized, sexually abused and killed. SOURCE

survivors first

odds and ends

An organization worth looking into: Silent Lambs.

A week before Jones’s trial began, relatively few people understood how any former care worker could possibly be facing more than twenty counts of physical and sexual abuse, all of which were false. But, by the time the trial collapsed on Tuesday, practically every national newspaper knew the explanation. David Jones was a victim of ‘trawling’ – a new form of police investigation which has evolved only in the last ten years.

This has become the newest form of witch hunt for the 'moral majority.'

These republicans should be in JAIL.

HezB said...

Good luck with this project.

Regards,

Harry.

Anonymous said...

could just as easily call it sex and zen abuse

I don't know anyone who hasn't got some kind of
oddity in the sexuality department. Our culture sure does shape us in strange ways.

There are so many great films out there with regard to the subject--Whole New Thing; Mysterious Skin come to mind.

It's good for you to start this venture.

I for one, would like all the Walt Disney cartoon/films to be removed from my brain. Walt Disney ruined all relationships I would ever have with men before I even finished elementary school.

I'd like to start completely fresh, with absolutely no expectation.

Kind of like this blog, fresh, with no expectations.

Thank you for starting this up

DB said...

Wow, I feel almost prophetic now. On Brad's original blog I wrote: "I'm beginning to wonder how much his writing really is representative of who he is and what he's teaching." And then boom, proof that even when I don't know what I'm talking about, I sometimes get it right.

This little misadventure has me thinking about some of my own reactions to Brad's writing. There's always been an approachable quality that drew me in and from there I got interested in the message, started sitting zazen, joined a sangha that meets regularly, etc.

Through all that, there's been this sort of internal diaglogue about Brad and his writing, like with a reader and a critic. Listening to my own head it sounds like this:

Reader: I sure do like reading that Warner guy.
Critic: He doesn't seem like he's a Zen priest.
Reader: Yeah, but a lot of that stuff is just loveable eccentrity. It's what makes him interesting and approachable.
Critic: But he's a bass player in a loud punk band.
Reader: Harmless eccentricity.
Critic: But he likes monster movies.
Reader: Harmless eccentricity.
Critic: But he's writing about strip clubs and Suicide Girls parties.
Reader: Well...uh....

It got me pissed at myself for that hesitation. Why the hell should one part of Brad's public life appeal to me and another part give me pause? Why the judgmental attitude? Why the attitude at all? I don't even know the man.

All these things are ultimately just thoughts, so why am I rating some as good and some as bad? They're all just ideas bouncing around in my head. They're not reality.

And that slapped me upside the head and made me realize how little I know about what's going on right in front of me. So much for my ability to see clearly, huh? I can prattle about zazen, but it seems I've got a lot left to learn.

HezB said...

From Treeleaf Zendo Forum:

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Hi,

Bro. Brad Warner looks like he starting a blog dedicated to victims of childhood sexual abuse and Zen Practice. It could be a very great thing, and Brad is a wonderful teacher for such issues. If anyone in the Sangha is dealing with something like that in their life, they may want to keep an eye on how it develops.

http://pornobuddhist.blogspot.com/

Gassho, Jundo

PS- And if anyone is surprised that I am recommending Brad, you should not be. Praise what should be praised, and this certainly should be praised if it works out.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Regards,

Harry.

noiret sym laden said...

I just added "The Porno Buddhist" to my Favorites and it looks very suspicious. I'll propably be flagged by the FBI and the NSA now. It might be risky to have "Al Jazeera English" in my Favorites, too. On the plus side, I hear that the weather in Guantanamo Bay is nice this time of year.

leoboiko said...

I always thought that buddhism seems to avoid dealing with sex, almost as much as christianity. And yet, everyone is born from physical love and hot sex, including the zen guys of old.

HezB said...

To anyone who hasn't already read this book, and is interested in Buddhists attitudes to sex and sexual morality, might I suggest "Lust for Enlightenment" by John Stevens.

There is a particular emphasis on the Zen traditions in the book.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Book Description:

Over the centuries, Buddhism has responded to sexuality in a variety of fascinating ways, sometimes, suppressing the sexual urge, sometimes sublimating it, sometimes cultivating it, and, on the highest levels, transforming it. This book reveals how Buddhists, beginning with Shakyamuni Buddha himself, relate to the "inner fire" that drives humankind. Included are chapters on the Buddha's love life before his enlightenment and his later relationships with women, the tantric approach to sex among Buddhists of ancient India, Tibet, China, and Japan; Zen in the art of love; and a positive discussion of women and Buddhism.

Its available on Amazon from where this description came.

Regards,

Harry.

Mike Doe said...

hezb:

I've read this book. It was suggested to me by a lineaged teacher who thought I might find it interesting/helpful.

It helped me to get a lot of issues about Sex and Buddism sorted out in my mind.

Anonymous said...

Well first off, I'd like to know why masturbation has been given the term 'self abuse' when, in my experience, it's more like 'self kindness'
Not only self kindness, but kindness to others too--I like getting the shouting hunger of the desire over with so I can then linger leisurely and attentively to a partner, my body already hummin'

I always thought it odd that when horney, people would go looking for another pair of hands when their own were right there.

Also: riddle me this, how did it evolve that sex and fantasy got hooked up? Why can't sex be sex?
Why can't touching myself be completely lovely in and of itself? Why this fantasy scene?

Where does this string of dialogue or scenario come from? When I eat my food I don't have a current of thought running in the background (now the juicy succulent morsel, just dripping and glistening with juices....whatever...so on...and what not..)
I just eat. Why can't I just touch myself?
Why? Is it so forbidden in childhood that even when alone, by myself, an adult I still have to have someone else 'doing' it?

Jules said...

Did you know that 80% of statistics are made up on the spot?

Elizabeth said...

Brad, I think it's great that you're doing this blog. I admit that I was one of those people who developed preconceived notions based on what I invented in my brain about what may or may not have been your recent goings-on.

Thanks for calling me on that. The thoughts you expressed in this entry go very much with your article in the most recent Shambala Sun. As you yourself have pointed out in relation to SFZC, different approaches to Zen practice work for different people. Being holy works for some, while for others it's poop jokes.

I agree that sex is dealt with all too infrequently in Zen. I keep waiting for that book on the precepts that will deal frankly with the "not misusing sex" precept. I realize this is something we all have to determine for ourselves, ultimately, but more frank discussion wouldn't hurt.

Shane said...

YES! I always like ya Brad for dirtying up spiritual practice and making so that i could tell that little "i'm not good enough" voice to shut the hell up inside my head when it comes to practice.

I will crank it up a notch and let you know that I'm a sexual abuse survivor and a gay male. Meditation practice has always been something I've done in private due to those 2 facts of my life.

I love this new blog!

Blake said...

Back in my undergraduate days, I was a student of Existentialism. For those of you who aren't familiar with Existentialism or are only familiar with "Existentialists" like Sartre or Camus, the belief system resembles Zen Buddhism in many ways. This is why Kerouac makes a lot of references to Zen in his writings. Of course the not-very-Zen part of Existentialism is the fact that these philosophers, much like their predecessors, did not practice what they preached. But I digress.

From Existentialism came a tool called "Existential Psychoanalysis" (EP). Not wanting to go too deep into the complexity of this system, just know that it involves the fact that right now, at this moment, we have the choice to act and feel the way we'd like. That if you are feeling like crap, you are choosing to do so. It also deals with language, labeling and the deconstruction of both. For example, I might feel anxious because I don't fit the mold of what, in my head, is the ideal "lawyer." Or ideal "Buddhist." But these ideals do not exist. One must release the strangle-hold of these labels.

So, in my opinion, Zen can help people who are having issues not only with past sexual abuse but really, with any problems. Just as EP can. And even better yet, Cognitive Therapy ("change the way you think"). The key to Zen as well as EP is that you have someone there who can guide you. Both are powerful tools. Both need instruction.

And on the personal front, both Cognitive Therapy and Zen have helped me face and deal with many issues, some of which I didn't know were even present.

So blog on my brother... blog on!

Mysterion said...

Robert Geffner's report (Health & Fitness) "In general, arrest rates for sexual offenses have declined over the last decade" (Federal Bureau of Investigation [FBI], 2002).

I do not know WHICH % is the correct approximation I read a few months back buy 4500 young adults were interviewed in the Boston (New England) region, Denver (Mountain) region, and Pacific Coast (Western) region. The reporting rate was under 20% in all cases (less than 1 child in 5).

In custody cases investigated by Child Protective Services, “There seems to be more serious allegations ... such as sexual molestation..." SOURCE

But most of these are eventually determined to be vindictive attacks upon the husband by the newly impoverished ex-wife.

There is always a simple answer for everything. Unfortunately, that simple answer is frequently wrong.

Setting aside the wrong assumptions and wrong answers opens the mind to actual problems - of which there are plenty - and actual solutions - of which there are few.

Jinzang said...

I keep waiting for that book on the precepts that will deal frankly with the "not misusing sex" precept.

A long time ago I was asked to teach a class on Kalu Rinpoche's book "The Dharma" in preparation for Khandro Rinpoche;s visit. Like most Buddhist books, it's a collection of talks on different subjects. One chapter was on the precepts and Kalu Rinpoche said that oral sex was a form of sexual misconduct. Needless to say, there were many outraged comments and nothing else was discussed that night.

The next year I was asked to teach the same class and I steeled myself for the chapter on the precepts. But when I reread the chapter, the comment on oral sex was gone! I had bought the second edition of the book for the class and the publisher had removed the comment.

So you can make Tibetan Buddhists fast and do endless prostrations. But don't ask them to give up oral sex.

Yamakoa said...

May you have great success. This seems like a great endeavor. Good luck Brad and to all of us who read the comments section.

roman g said...

I confess , I pull my pud 3 times a day

nickb said...

Eh, I'll be self centered here, but I cannot resist.

A blog entry about a painful bowel movement was one of my better entries: Shitting is not an Olympic Sport This is a defecation I'll never forget!

vinegar said...

There is a real need for meditation and zen to be "approachable".

In some cases it's "spiritual", "holiness" issue, in others it an "esoteric", jargony, mysterio-mojo kind of thing that prevents people from accessing the "truth".

Metaphorically you could liken this to the bible or any "holy" book, purporting to be the truth, only being in latin and not the venacular.

In that way it is the exclusive possession of those that make their living from having the "truth" and being "teachers" and "priests" or want to have dominence and power. If they have it and no one else can access it they are in control.

I think Brad has put zen and zazen in the venacular.

Blake said...

I find this video to be very appropriate for this topic.

Watch me!

Anonymous said...

LOL, blake!

I thought I was the only one,
but no, The Count is just like me!

That makes TWO of us! ONE-TWO!
hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha
fasterfasterfasterfasterfaster

iggy said...

Brad.. I have a question for your new blog. Buddhist Allen Ginsberg believed it was perfectly acceptable for children to have sex with kind adults. He thought the laws should be changed. Most Christians would disagree. What is your opinion on the matter?

Anonymous said...

iggy said...
Buddhist Allen Ginsberg believed it was
perfectly acceptable for children to have
sex with kind adults.



A) Children do not have the maturity to give their consent.

B) Sex without consent equals rape.

C) Therefore, adults having sex with children equals rape.


That being said, the legal age of consent is
set rather arbitrarily and individuals vary
widely in their rates of growth and maturity.
Some 13-year-olds are far more mature than
some 33-year-olds; in that case, sex with a
very immature 33-year-old that did not have
the wherewithal to give their consent, even
if they nodded agreement, might be
considered to be rape morally if not legally.

Without anything else to go by, it probably
makes sense to set the age of consent to the
age at which one can earn a living and pay
one's bills. (Although in my own case, I'd
say I was no longer a child at age 12, but
circumstances --dead parents-- probably made
me mature a little earlier than normal.)

At any rate, Allen Ginsberg is definitely
treading some very creepy
NAMBLA/Catholic-priest territory there.

YMMV, but if you feel yourself sexually
attracted to children, please stay away from
them and get help.
(The damage that can be done is immeasurable.)

BTW, Ginsberg was a Tibetan Buddhist, which,
with its emphasis on reincarnation, isn't even
really Buddhism according to Nishijima, IIRC.

P.S. The whole concept of consent gets a
little cloudy, though, when you try to apply
it to children "playing doctor". Or to
intoxicated adults, who although they said
'Yes' when drunk, might not have said so had
they been sober. Or to situations where one
adult has a position of power over another
adult, such as a teacher-student scenario.

And then there are cases where an 18-year-old
"adult" gets sent to prison for having
consensual sex with a 17-year-old "minor".

Ultimately, the reality of the situation
probably has much to do with how all directly
involved parties feel before, during, and
after. No matter what, it'll most likely be
somewhat messy. Rashomon, anyone?

OK, now it's someone else's turn to try to
sort this stuff out.

Kalka2 said...

I love some of Allen Ginsburg's poetry, but I wouldn't recommend using him as a moral compass.

Jinzang said...

Tibetan Buddhist, which, with its emphasis on reincarnation, isn't even really Buddhism according to Nishijima.

His opinion doesn't matter.

Anonymous said...

Nishijima is correct. so-called Tibetan Buddhism is akin to eastern catholicism.

mysteriondan said...

akin is maybe too strong. similar is better. similar in style if not in content..

"The degradation of Tibetan Buddhism as corrupt--so corrupt, in fact, that it does not rightly deserve to be called Buddhism, but rather "Lamaism"--derives from at least two historical moments. The first occurred as early as 1253, when the Flemish Franciscan friar William of Rubrouck, visiting the Mongol court, wrote of the Tibetan monks: "Wherever they go, they also have constantly in their hands a string of a hundred or two hundred beads, like the rosaries we carry, and keep repeating On mani battam [sic], which means 'God, you know.'" From that point on the apparent parallels between the outward forms of Catholic and Lamaist clerics were inevitably noted. And once noted, they had somehow to be explained. A theory of historical influence suggested that the legendary missionary of the twelfth century, Prester John, must have long ago introduced the true (Christian) faith to the Tibetans, who, in turn, kept the form but forgot the content. Another Catholic theory blamed the uncanny similarities on the devil. According to the old patristic notion of "demonic plagiarism," Satan intentionally duplicates the forms of the Holy Church among the heathens in order to vex the faithful." - Donald Lopez Jr.

mysteriondan said...

"The monasticism and the religious services of Lamaism also present so striking a similarity with Catholic institutions that non-Catholic investigators have unhesitatingly spoken of a 'Buddhist Catholicism' in Tibet. Pope and Dalilama, Rome and the city of Lhasa are counterparts; Lamaism has its monasteries, bells, processions, litanies, relics, images of saints, holy water, rosary-beads, bishops mitre, crosier, vestments, capes, baptism, confession, mass, sacrifice for the dead, etc." (Cath. Ency., XII)

Jinzang said...

The presence or absence of ritual does not make you a Buddhist. And you are not more Buddhist by avoiding ritual. The so-called ritual has a meaning and a purpose. Bur the comments section on blogger is not the place to explain it.

The traditional definition of Buddhism is that one accepts that samsara is suffering, conditioned phenomena are impermanent, all beings lack a self, and nirvana is perfect peace. Tibetan Buddhists certainly accept all these points.

Anonymous said...

Pushing the consent envelope
even further...

When she was an adult, Anais Nin
had "consensual" sex with her
father. Of course, since they
were both "consenting" adults,
it's none of my business, but,
I wonder if such is really
possible with the overlap of
psychological boundaries
between family members.

Verdict:
adult-on-adult incest equals rape.

Unless you are Dr. Dolittle,
animals cannot give their consent.

Verdict:
bestiality equals rape.
(carnivores can go fuck themselves ;)

Anonymous said...

Hi Brad, you're approaching deep questions.

The official statistics in the country I live say the percentage of abuse victims is almost 40% of children up to the age of 18. That's an awful lot and that only includes the cases that come to daylight.

As a daoist zazen practitioner and a surviver of vile abuse and torture as a young child, I'll follow this blog with great interest. For my part, zazen has given me a freedom from the pains of the shattered victim more than any drug I've ever ingested. Zazen is the window to life when all else fails. To be suspended between the heaven and earth leaves no place for death and pain to take hold.

Thank f-! Thank you Brad and good luck.

Aili

Roman G said...

Gudo's answer 1.) Unfortunately I do not know about Tibetan Buddhism almost at all, and so I would like to ask you to have your questions to other Masters other than I.

Honky-Tonk Dragon said...

Good on you Brad!
I look forward to following this blog.
I would be interested to hear your thoughts about those of us who were sexually abused by "Spiritual Authority Figures" as children and how that relates to Zen.
I know that much of my attraction to Zen stems from the concept of a Spiritual Teacher ultimately being something that must be overcome.

Oh, and Ginsburg didn't just get close to NAMBLA creepy. He was a member. I'm not making a value judgment, I don't know if he advocated lowering the age of consent, or doing away with it completely.

Anonymous said...

After we sit all day at Hill Street
this Saturday, why not join me for
a walk on the wild side?

... and the colored girls go...

Anonymous said...

Why is everyone getting distracted by "what should I do about sex?" As Brad has pointed out, if you pay attention, it's pretty bloody obvious if what you are about to do is wrong or not. The fabric of the universe will be shouting it at you, just listen.

The interesting thing about sexual abuse as a child is how thoroughly it severs trust in ones own flesh and removes the ability to rest at home and feel comfortable. Survivors tend to feel that their own bodies are vile and that home is the most dangerous place. Sitting can help a lot with not noticing how wonderful our body/minds are, and living and building a good adult life despite a lack of safety is very good practice indeed at having no fixed abode.

Thanks for allowing anonymous comments.

notnoself said...

iggy said...

Buddhist Allen Ginsberg believed it was perfectly acceptable for children to have sex with kind adults. He thought the laws should be changed.

Your line of thinking seems to be: person with affiliation X states Y, therefore X is OK with Y.

Nope. People with various affiliations say lots of different stuff. And even if X says Y, does that make it so? How would you know he’s not bullshitting you?

Consider that consent doesn’t necessarily make something OK. Neither does consent absolve you or the other person from consequences. Karma either way. You and your partner pay, not Ginsberg, even if he and other Buddhists said it’s OK.

At what age could you have given consent to have sex with someone 20 years your senior? Would your consent have made it a good choice? Hypothetically, what about your child? At what age would you be OK with your daughter’s sleeping with a man 20 years her senior?

Sex can be a seriously damaging act, so there is more to consider carefully than to opine about or to accept on name or affiliation.

Monksresolve said...

Ikkyu would be proud, Brad.

Anonymous said...

If abuse is going on, first is to stop it.
Stopping the abuse has its own crisis/traumatic aspects to it because it involves the police and child protective services ( = governmental agencies = big mess). Life gets turned upside down in no uncertain terms for everyone, there's just no getting around it.
How can you possibly study for that history test or write that English paper?
The dog didn't eat your homework, circumstances ate your life!
There is no 'pause' button, there is no 'erase'.
Forensic psychologists want to help--the case, not you--you look in their mirror and everything gets magnified. The abuse gets larger than life, gets a life of its own, everybody talks about 'the abuse,' 'the abuse.'

Wasn't it supposed to end? Why do you have to keep talking and keep talking and keep talking about it?

Then you have to go to therapy--some of that is very good, finally a quiet, private place where you don't 'have to' do anything. It's good to be there, if only you could live there until all this was over.
Then there is group therapy where you get to see you weren't the only one whose daddys, mama's boyfriends, uncles, big half-brothers step brothers, brothers' best friends, babysitters, babysitters' husband, boyfriend, son, 'did stuff.'
OK, now whereever you are, as you look around you, you see victims, victims, victims, everywhere.
Not only that, you get to hear all the creepy, slimy, thug things these folks did.
It was bad enough when it was just your own stuff.
You've got tons of stuff to write about now but not for your English class. You've been informally compiling a lot of figures -- maybe you could invent a new math--molestation math--but it won't help you on the test.

Things get simplified: everyone gets fucked, we're all fucked. Now what.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Things get simplified: everyone gets fucked, we're all fucked. Now what.

One option, of course, is revenge.

Teach them that whatever they do to others,
the equivalent will be done to them tenfold.

Anonymous said...

Or, I could vow that
no matter what harm others do to me,
I will kill myself before I harm another,

for I do not wish to participate in the
creation of such a universe.
Adios, amigos.

Remember, don't hurt nobody.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget about Restorative Justice!

NellaLou said...
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Fuke said...

One thing I hope you explore, perhaps it's too obvious, is the way the power/authority of "priest" or "master" has brought on relationship and potential abuse issues of its own kind in Zen (cf. 1970s and 1980s in Calif.).

BTW, you say you "don't care" what people assume, but if you couldn't be bothered...well, you woulnd't be bothered enough to mention it. Clearly you do care. And let's realize that people must assume some things in life, or else we won't get out of bed. Life is like art, GK Chesteron said, you have to draw a line somewhere. Zen agrees in a middling way. So, I vote for not using Zen too much for rationalization of any actions or even "non-reactions". On the SG blog you clearly state you like what you see there of the girls, so why act "shocked, shocked!" that some people assume you attend these events for some jollies? Now, contect this concern with the first pargraph of this comment and win a prize. : )

(Hope this is taken in the spirit of "hard core"-ness, and hope it comes across as such, too, as that is my intent. Thanks for listening.)

Rich said...

some days when i sit Zazen, I feel a tension or tightning in my chest and jaws. I feel it and try to accept it. I think it is anxiety, past hurts and fears. I say 'Rich, don't worry I will take care of you now.' I embrace these feelings and transform them to the energy of the present. What's left I try to let go of.

mariejke said...

I just read this article about buddhist sex and I agree with it: http://www.buddhanet.net/winton_s.htm

Anonymous said...

*Yawn* Truth be told, there's not much of a difference between "Tibetan" Buddhism and "Soto". Religion is religion.

s.c said...

Mr. Warner, there is something I would really like to draw out for note, in what you have written, namely this: "a sense of the imagined version of me that’s coalescing around the things I write. It’s kind of fascinating because it’s so vastly unlike the kind of person I am."

I would like to note that, because I feel a sense of resonance about it, not only for myself, but for persons whom I do not even know, in quite so much. The reputation that becomes gathered about oneself is not, I think, a function of oneself -- in any case, I think, even in those cases such as where, let's say, a politician is just striving to develop and, if consistent, then to maintain a certain "public image". Even then, the reputation is developed by others. I expect that quite a few hucksters have taken advantage of a reputation-building function in society.

It's nothing I can say only a few words in response to, I'm afraid.

Somehow, your statements remind me of a couple SG models, in fact.


Even beyond the social phenomenon, "reputation", the attitudes that people levy to a person are so damned much based on assumption, you know I could wish people were better at not developing attitudes, in the first place.

s.c said...

Reconsidering my previous comment, I would like to amend it, to admit: That the role one plays in one's reputation is, perhaps, more complex than I had recognized, at the time when I made the comment.

I have recently come to consider the nature of personal intention, but it can be such a slippery fish to catch.

I cannot actually say, now, that one would have absolutely no role in how one's reputation would develop, but it is certainly not a thing under one's own control.

Perhaps there are cases when a person could wish it was under the one's own control, the reputation that is developed after oneself, and perhaps one may try to "lunge", as it were, as if to force the development of a certain reputation the one would have in mind. I've noticed, this doesn't tend to work out in as much as one's ideals might try to foretell.

I think it should be stated, with this, that one will generally not have a singular reputation.

and I think it should be noted that the imaginings that lead to reputation are just that ... products of the mind. Is it not so? Perhaps this does not mean it can all be dismissed, but to frame it as being all the stuff of the dramatic plays in the lands of transmigration, is that not an appropriate frame for this?

A bird survives as a bird, doing its happy bird thing, whether or not mind is interacting as to corrupt mind's impressions of the creature's inherent nature.

and it may be that I am arguing with myself. It may be if I should learn to do this so quietly as a rock. Gassho

Taavi'sGojira said...

This will be an interesting topic that I look forward to following. Though I am not sure why this topic might not be appropriate for your Hardcore Zen blog?

Brooke said...

When I read statistics about sexual abuse the first question that always pops into my mind is "what IS sexual abuse"? In some cases, such as Daddy porking juniors pooper, there's little doubt. In others, such as the kids taking showers with parents or kids being exposed to the sex their parents are having, I'm not so sure. Sex is the most natural thing in the world. Our culture has made it "dirty". I've found that the horniest, basest, and sickest puppies are those who grew up the most sexually repressed. Those who were punished for masturbation as children go at it constantly as adults. Women who were taught that nice girls don't do such things become overly promiscuous, but are non-orgasmic. One of my siblings is convinced that our brother sexually absued her as a child, but I know them both well and am quite certain that some whack job psychologist put that idea in her head. I was raised to not be self concious about my body and to recognize that sex is a good and healthy thing under the right circumstances, and that it can be quite ugly under the wrong circumstances. I enjoy it, but find that its really only good if there's some love involved. I'm not promiscuous. If I'm horny I masturbate. I'm middle aged (even older than the Zen Master!) but discuss sex openly with my twenty something year old nephew. He's a huge Suicide girls fan (I actually thought SG were a band)and he's very into what he calls "casual sex". I guess it works for him, but he's clearly had his heart broken a time or two, and I suspect that some day he'll discover real love. There's nothing better than sex + love. As to abusers.....castrate the motherfuckers (or daughterfuckers, as the case may be). I suspect that victims of abuse have a real hard time making that sex + love connection.

Chad said...

Hey Brad! I feel that it's a great thing that you're doing with this blog.

Sean said...

I like to stop short at realizing when I don't know enough to fill in the blanks. Of course, I once thought I might grow up to be a scientist, too, and scientists have to recognize when they don't know enough to fill in the blanks in a thing, or else the work becomes corrupted with baseless assumption.

I suppose that's not uncommon, though, unfortunately -0 corruption of original observations, with baseless assumptions about the matters that encountered one's eyes -- and are people really supposed to play life just by the sound of things? It could seem as if the body politic would lead one to assume "yes", to that, but I don't believe I can play along, there. Oh, lonesome me.,

Anonymous said...

Hey, what a brave and refreshing blog to read.

good luck with all of it...

saying meditation, fart, dirty and sex all in one sentence! ha ha.

Anreal

Tragick93 (Benjamin Cicelske) said...

Thanks Brad- I've been following you pretty much since I woke up to the severity of life-screwage caused the traums I had suffered as a boy and then as a young man. I have heard you dish out a lot of stuff that I didn't want to hear and kept listening because I knew that you were the first "holy roller" I really felt spoke to my heart. When I picked up sex sin and zen I was hoping you would address this topic soon because alot of us need to see the word "dirty" used in quotes by someone who means it. I wish you much success in this venture...not just for me or for all the sexually abused men women and others out there, but for those that haven't been as well...