[Noisebridge-discuss] update on the shrine!

Danny O'Brien danny at spesh.com
Mon Jul 18 18:40:49 UTC 2011

On Mon, Jul 18, 2011 at 10:35 AM, Rameen <emprameen at gmail.com> wrote:
> It seems like the main issue is that the Church class was being rearranged.
> To me that's unexcellent for others who generally need furniture, etc. to
> study. Religion and (non)religious beliefs aside, why don't we just ask them
> to arrange everything back to western-type classroom style when they're done
> with their practice?

Because, in my experience, the Rinpoche doesn't actually act on such
suggestions, -- your experience may differ. There is no "we" here. If
you think that would work, talk it over with the Rinpoche, and see if
you can arrange a meeting between him, me, and others who've frankly
transcended beyond the point of ego-less toleration of such
unexcellent behaviour. I'm still up for mediation; it's worked pretty
well with the Free School folks so well.

> I see religion as a tool, like science, and meditation can be like
> experimentation. I think it's unexcellent to oppress
> metaphysical/spiritual/belief system hacking. Has anyone ever watched a
> programmer? Don't they sit in quiet contemplation rearranging intangible
> reality in a meditative way for hours? Both are projects of
> manipulating/constructing/programming reality. One pertains to the physical
> objects our senses encounter, and the other with the methods by which we
> encounter the objects. Both of these are aspects of science just as much as
> any religious/magical/spiritual practice, aren't they?

Yes, I see your point. And if that's all of what the Rinpoche was
doing, I think we'd all be okay with it.

But -- and you should probably double-check with this -- my
understanding is that the Rinpoche and his disciples use meditation as
more than just a tool of study.

Meditation, in the branch of study that the Rinpoche subscribes to, is
just part of a system of enlightened transmission of ancient esoteric
knowledge so mind-blowing that its revelation to the earthly realms
can, according to Fa Zang's own blog entries, create such local
phenomena as "turning ordinary water into Bodhi Holy Water that can
heal and perform miracles; the bestowal of true holy nectar from the
sky by the Buddhas; precious holy pills that chant, dance, fly, and
increase; the appearance of magnificent Dharma Protectors; rainbow
body states; and other evidence of enlightened activity."

Now, I realise that many early religious and scientific texts have
similar, perhaps exaggerated, descriptions of their benefits, and
maybe I shouldn't take it literally. But I'm concerned that as the
Rinpoche has noted in
<http://www.buddhatv.tv/messages/view/FN1CS30VBF3B1GPT> just
yesterday, that the recent announcement of the Fourth Vajra Throne in
Sanger, California, was accompanied by just such epiphenomenon: red
holy vajra pills that jump around "just as if they were alive. They
not only [jump] but one of them started to circle around and left [a
disciple's] hand. It transformed into a dazzling bright red light and
soared into the sky";  the appearance of orb-like beings apparently
from "another dimension", generic poltergeist activity, and for me,
most disturbing of all, the apparition of a

    "tenacious goose (named Dharma Duck) that came to the Temple and
insisted on being allowed in. He would fly at the windows or peck at
the door if dharma was being discussed."


Now, I don't want to come across like Walter Peck, the environmental
protection officer in Ghostbusters, but I really feel that Noisebridge
has not collectively discussed the health and safety implications of
imparting such revelations at the space. We have a lot of sensitive
equipment in Noisebridge that depends on the consistent and timely
application of the universal laws of physics. We haven't even worked
out good policies for the singularity, malignant AI, kombucha
fermentation meltdown, or a grey-goo RepRap scenario, let alone flying
pills and tenacious geese.

If this is what's going on down in Fresno, I honestly think that this
sort of religious study needs to be operated by Dharmic professionals
in a controlled environment, such as, as I say, the Rinpoche's own
temples -- one of which is within walking distance of the space.

I also agree with Jason that if we don't draw the line here, we risk
having a bunch of Cthulhu guys come in, and try to pull the same
thing. And if we're host to a Ragnarrok-level battle between the Elder
Gods and a posse of reincarnated Tibetan adepts, I for one am not
going to clean up the mess.


> On Fri, Jul 15, 2011 at 10:35 PM, Danny O'Brien <danny at spesh.com> wrote:
>> So, as some of you may know, the old shrine got re-activated as a working
>> shrine a few days ago, and the Church classroom cleared away for
>> meditation
>> and contemplation, led by Fa Zang (Rinpoche), the guy in the buddhist monk
>> robe who has been doing a lot of sewing in the craft area recently.
>> Not everybody was happy with this. I was a bit personally miffed because
>> in
>> the process, the membership binders were moved. I am agnostic about almost
>> everything, but in my eldritch role conferred on me by the consensus of
>> Noisebridge, I really am all about the membership binders.
>> So, anyway, subsequent to that, the following Noisebridginess occurred:
>> 1) We found the membership binders! They are now in the black desk. I have
>> updated the wiki. Yay.
>> 2) The shrine was de-activated, and the chairs and tables put back in
>> place
>> in Church as a re-activated classroom.
>> 3) The next day, the shrine was put back together, and Church once again
>> cleared away of all other earthly furniture. Perhaps a bit gallingly for a
>> prominent General and war deity, Guan Yu was relegated to a side-deity,
>> and
>> a framed postcard of another Bodhisattva put in prime position. Incense
>> and
>> pillows were now made available.
>> 4) The shrine was subsequently dismantled, more forcefully. For avoidance
>> of doubt, Guan Yu was put up for sale by Miloh:
>> http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/atq/2489669725.html
>> 5) The shrine was erected and re-activated, and I believe Church cleared
>> once again, before Tuesday meeting. Crutcher, as the minutes show, said
>> that if it remained so prominent, "it is my personal plan to do-acrat that
>> shrine to pieces with powertools tonight."
>> 6) After the meeting, but prior to said do-acratic action, a gentlemen
>> interceded. It was agreed that since he said that as he had a good home
>> for
>> Guan Yu away from the powertools of the unrighteous, he could take the
>> shrine with him.
>> 7) When I left the meeting, Guan Yu was sitting a bit forlorn at the
>> bottom
>> of the stairs, waiting his new home.
>> 8) On Thursday, I bumped into the Fa Zang (Rinpoche) who was sewing. I
>> apologised for my mistake about the binders, and explained some of the
>> reasons why some people felt it was inappropriate to use Noisebridge and
>> the shrine for active religious worship.
>> Zang said that he understood that this wasn't a place for meditation. I
>> said that meditation was interesting, but agreed that this probably wasn't
>> a good place for lessons or explicitly religious ceremonies.
>> The lama (Rinpoche is an honorific attached to lamas) told me that the
>> person who took Guan Yi was one of his disciples. As his master he would
>> instruct him what to do with it.
>> We had an interesting chat about masters and disciples. Fa Fa Zong told me
>> of the error of believing in a world without masters, and averred that if
>> I
>> didn't believe in reincarnation, I would not be a good buddhist. I said I
>> was down with that, and learned some knots.
>> 9) Today, Maestro mailed Al that the shrine was back up, and Church had
>> been cleared of chairs and tables again. I popped down to the space. Guan
>> Yi wasn't back, but three little bowls, more incense were in an otherwise
>> empty Church. I spoke to Maestro and a few others. They said that folks
>> had
>> been chanting and ringing bells early in the morning. Also, and this was
>> unclear, there was some rumors of people walking around ringing little
>> bells also. We ascertained that at least one little bell was the
>> Noisebridge dinner bell, so that was put back in the kitchen.
>> 10) I grabbed hold of Jorgen from the Free School, who had just came in.
>> He
>> also expressed some exasperation with the Rinpoche. Together, we had a
>> little chat with someone present who said he was a disciple of Fa Zang. He
>> said that he and his master had heard that anyone could come here, and as
>> long as the space was not being used, it could be used for anything.
>> I said that noooo, that really this was a hackerspace, for the creative
>> uses of technology.
>> 10.5) I got the Rinpoche's cellphone number from his disciple. I totally
>> have a real Lama in my Google Contacts now.
>> 11) I called up the Rinpoche (a trusted disciple of H.H. Dorje Chang
>> Buddha
>> III), and told them that I thought we'd gone over this, and really it
>> wasn't appropriate to do religious ceremonies at the space.
>> Fa Zang, who became a rinpoche when three other rinpoches had omens in
>> dreams about his nature as a reincarnation of a previous rinpoche, and was
>> conferred with the title by His Holiness Dorje Chang Buddha III in 2009,
>> hung up on me.
>> 12) A few hours later, Fa Zang left me a voicemail. I have the MP3 if
>> anyone wants it. It is awesome, and here is the transcript:
>>    "Sir,
>>    This is Fa Zang (Rinpoche). You seem to have forgotten that this
>>    country was found... to things written in the Constitution. Our
>>    founding forefathers promised us we would have freedom of speech,
>>    and freedom of religion. You remember the things that Thomas
>>    Jefferson said, about tyranny and religion?  If you don't you should
>>    look it up.  What you people are doing is completely erroneous, I
>>    haven't held any ceremonies there, I've simply been paying homage to
>>    the teachings I listen to there. And so you are breaking your own
>>    by-laws and the constitutional rights of people who come there by
>>    doing what you're doing. I think you should reconsider what you're
>>    doing."
>> So there you go. As someone who is also a fan of the founding fathers and
>> ...things written in the Constitution, I'm sensitive to issues regarding
>> religion, so I've been actively seeking out someone who is okay with the
>> meditating, and the incense, and the shrining, and the constantly bloody
>> moving of the tables and chairs. Let me know if you want to represent the
>> Rinpoche's position in this disagreement.
>> In the mean time, if you agree with what is smelling to me like consensus,
>> and if you see the Rinpoche in the road, or even in the space, can you ask
>> him to keep the ceremonial stuff to Macang Monastery, where he lives. Or
>> else some folk may start exercising their constitutional and by-law given
>> rights to pay homage to Discordia, Emperor Norton and/or the Great
>> Spaghetti Monster's Rites in said Monastery (1822 Eddy St, x Scott +
>> Divisadero, https://foursquare.com/venue/9311185 ).
>> Salut!
>> Danny O'Brien (Genuine and Authorized Pope + Rinpoche Forever,
>> House of the Apostles of Eris)
>> d.
>> PS If you haven't already, you totally should look up "Tyranny" "Religion"
>> and "Thomas Jefferson" on the Internet.
>> PPS Honest to god, I fucking love this place. I haven't had so much fun in
>> ages.
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