I’ve long appreciated the in-your-face approach of Brad Warner. This doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree with him or his sentiments. In fact, much of the time I find that his ways of communicating takes away from the wisdom he offers. But I do find myself smiling at his fearlessness.
I also find myself smiling at all the attachment that seems to pervade much of contemporary, and dare I say, youthful approaches to the contemporary delivery of the Dharma. Not that Warner is any more youthful than I am. He and I are the same age. But many of us in the under-50 category have been accused of missing the mark in how it is that we interpret and articulate the sacred. This criticism increases proportionally, it seems, the younger the teacher is. Lot’s of this may be warranted. It’s an issue that deserves more than a quick blog post. But in relation to Brad’s criticism of Thay, he lays down a critique that may offer each of us a chance to study our own attachments through his expression of his own.
Read on and decide for yourself.
A few people got bent out of shape that I said I believed that Thich Naht Hanh did not write his own Twitter posts. It turns out I was right. He doesnt. His Twitter profile says, “My twitter account is managed by senior students, both monastic and non-monastic.” He probably didnt even write that!
I’ve also been told by people who seem to know what theyre talking about that Thich Naht Hanh doesnt write his own books. His talks are recorded and transcribed. Then senior students edit them into books, which Thich Naht Hanh approves before publication. Of course the covers of these books simply say “by Thich Naht Hanh.”
Ask anyone who writes for a living what they think of that sort of thing and I guarantee theyll get a little wrankled by the idea. Writing is hard work. People who claim to be writers but dont actually do the work annoy those of us who really write our own stuff. Its not a big deal. But it irks me enough when I see this very common practice that I like to point it out. I would guess that about half of the “authors” whose books are shelved near mine at your local Book Barn “write” their books in pretty much the same way. I don’t think it’s disrespectful to say this. I think its truthful.
Who is Thich Naht Hanh?