Weekly public talks recorded live at the Angel City Zen Center
Brad Warner - TL;DR
“Waking life is more similar to a dream than you might think. When you find yourself in a dream you realize that you’re in a world mostly of your own creation. This world is like that but in a bigger more cosmic way. Rather than being an individual personal creation, it’s the creation of itself.” - Brad WarnerBrad reads to us from the man, the legend himself, Bodhidharma, the great mythical founder of Zen, as he boils down centuries of brilliant (and wordy…) wisdom into a two page summary for his new Chinese audience and their short attention spans. What is karma (just ourselves…) and who do we get to blame when things go wrong (still us!)? Find out here!
Dave Cuomo - A Celebration of Silliness (History of Zen - Tozan & Rinzai!)
"Understanding the true specialness of everything is a rare and wonderful thing. Apparently it takes a lot of practice to realize "just this" for what it really is.And for all of us who aren't there yet, we have words and teachers there to join us in our delusions long enough to help us figure it out, even while they know there's nothing they can do to help us.And that's very kind of them." - Dave CuomoIn an epic clash of conflicted compassion, Dave introduces us to the founders of our two main surviving branches of Zen, Rinzai & Tozan (of Soto fame), as these two teachers teach the exact same nothing, in exactly opposite ways. Madcap koans, shocking speeches, & beautiful poetry ensue!
Brad Warner - There is No Such Thing as a Jerk (So Please Don’t Be One)
“On one layer Dogen is saying, the full teaching of the Buddha is don’t do wrong.But then if you read it another way, even the notion that you could do harm is a mistake…” - Brad WarnerBrad Warner talks us through the Bodhidharma precepts, a self described subtle and mysterious take on the precepts where there are no rules, no one to break them, nothing to harm, and no excuses not to follow them.
Dave Cuomo - Sacred Unhinged
"In our ordinary world, we learn to play by the rules, to follow the recipe, to get it right, while in sacred space, cooking (and life) can be more than just following recipes. Beyond rote and chore - doing what you've been told - is the freedom to realize the way to cook, letting the ingredients come forward to awaken and nourish, letting yourself come alive to cook, to do something that you've never done before!" - Edward Espe BrownIn a light and fun little talk Dave reads us choice selections from Edward Espe Brown's "No Recipe" and discusses kitchen work and the art of creating sacred spaces as a safe space for screwing up perfectly.
Emily Eslami - About the Lies I Haven't Told You (The Precepts pt 5 - No Lying)
“Language will always fail us… We believe we’re speaking the same language but we’re using different English to English dictionaries.The only way to tell the truth is to acknowledge that our truth is not completely true.” - Emily EslamiEmily brings us a full exploration of the fourth precept, No Lying. Sounds simple, but it turns out before we can not lie, we have to know what truth is in the first place! Who are we really lying to when lie, and who do we actually hurt? Who are we ever really speaking to? And speaking of which, what even is language & communication?? Let's discuss...
Erik Andersen - Angel of Doubt
It’s like a guardian angel of doubt. Where by the grace of god, I would have this spark, this wonderful beautiful doubt of, maybe im wrong. Maybe im not right about this after all…" - Erik AndersenIn a delightfully madcap affair, Erik challenges all those who say that Zen is difficult or enigmatic with a talk on the big question, “How hard is zen??” only to come up with the very Zen answer, “not easy, just the easiest thing you could ever do.” From there we get a whirlwind adventure starting with a two line koan (which he swears his talk will not answer (although we're pretty sure it did)), and then running off into the definitive definition of nirvana, snake oil & delusions, whether it's ok to hate the things we love to hate, and of course those angels of doubt we can have always put our faith in.