I’m Now a Walter Camp Fanboi

Walter Camp’s – The Daily Dozen

My last post was a bit on the depressive side, but there are a few good things that have been going on in my life.

On this post, I want to talk about one of those good things: Walter Camp’s Daily Dozen Workout.

Admittedly, this is not my main workout. My main workout is the old Canadian Air Force program with some Taekwondo moves. The objective of my workout is to simply keep on moving up on the levels until I arrive to a point that my maximum fitness level has been reached. In that case, I can simply workout three days a week, 15-20 minutes a day to maintain that level.

This is something I still plan to do for the rest of my life.

As I have written before one day my Father wanted me to go shopping with him and I didn’t have time to do my actual workout, so I tried the Daily Dozen. That was the day I was surprised how a short but easy set of exercises energized my entire day.

At first I was only planning to use the Dozen once in a while. However, the Daily Dozen has been become more of a . . . . daily routine. Many times I would do the Daily Dozen and still get that rush of energy that I experienced the first time I tried it.

At this point, I am a firm convert of the Daily Dozen and will make this exercise set a daily habit no matter what. What I mean by this is I will still do my regular workout, but make sure to include the Dozen in my daily practice. Maybe in the future I will do P90X, but will still do the Daily Dozen. Maybe in the future, I will take up ballet, but I will still do the Dozen. Maybe I will go into competition wushu, but I won’t neglect the Daily Dozen. Maybe if I decide to stop working out and act like a beach bum, I will still do the Dozen.

Part of the reason why I cannot stop raving about the Daily Dozen is because of the issues I faced with in my past. Back in Korea I had a crazy American teacher who kept on trying to micromanage every part of my life. I also had this professor who obsessed over a social club and expected me to do the same. I hardly write about her, but I also had this American girlfriend who tried to pull me into her constant drama to point that she wanted me to fight her ex-boyfriend. Sometime before and during my sister’s (Hindu) wedding I was pulled into basically help set up and help at the ceremonies which meant little time for anything else. Later I was working at an office job that took up 60+ hours a week. Part of my hours was because management wanted to “reward” my diligence with more work and the other part was that rival would try to sabotage my job so that I stay in the office a lot longer.

Had I have known about Walter Camp’s Daily Dozen workout, most of those problems would have been easier to handle. I probably wouldn’t have been an athlete from doing these exercises alone but I would at least be able to improve my heath a little bit at a time. Furthermore, I would have been able to prevent any degeneration that comes from lack of exercise. Also with the workout, I would have been able to boost both my energy and endorphin level which means I would be so damn happy that both the American teacher and my (now) ex-girlfriend would be irritated. After all, they weren’t happy people and they wanted me to be miserable. Part of the reason why I drank so much in Korea was because I felt powerless to control or live my own life. Doing the Daily Dozen would not have make me a teetotaler, but I wouldn’t have drank so much.

This exercise set is going to be my new secret weapon.

Over the course of the year or more, I am going to explore different ways to maximize more use of the Daily Dozen.

Walter Camp, for example, says it’s ideal to do this exercise set three times a day: morning, noon, and evening. Once school starts, I can guarantee morning when I get up and afternoon after my last class. Midday, not so much.

Speaking of which, I have to read his book, Keeping Fit All the Way, in its entirety as he writes more supplemental exercises to the Daily Dozen.

There are some other ideas that come to mind.

One of them being doing the Daily Dozen in three to seven sets in succession. After I do the Dozen, take a minute to rest and then do the Dozen again.

Starting Sunday, I am going to test this one idea. I am going to do the Daily Dozen with this month-long plank workout shown in this video:

Hopefully, I can report some good results out of this.

Before I end this post, I’d like you to click on these links and learn the Daily Dozen so that you can make my secret weapons yours as well:

Here.

Also Here.

And don’t forget, here.

Love,

Capt. Idiotic

Details of my current obstacles

About a couples of weeks ago I slept like a log. In fact, if I haven’t gotten up to eat or use the bathroom, I would have slept the entire week. I kid you not, I was deeeeeaaaaaaaad tired.

The few times I was awake, I did come to realize that I was in over my head in my workout program. My workout program is a graduated, step-by-step one and I am to stick to one step for a certain number of days before going on to the next one. I was progressing so fast that my body couldn’t keep up. Then, the next thing you know it, my body shut down fast.

It was a week in which I did no cultivation work at all.

In terms of my workout, I decided to scale back to a certain point. I’m not restarting from the beginning as much as I am restarting from the middle point of my program. I am also taking my time progressing through the program. So far so good.

My lost week did do a lot to regress my work in both meditation and qigong. There’s nothing I can do but to simply go back to doing both. One good news about my qigong and meditation is that they are both so habitual that I will continue to do both for the rest of my life.

However, this is where I am struggling: I know what I am doing is helping me out but there are times I feel like what I am doing is useless. My progress in general is slow which I think is partly why I feel this way about my cultivation practices.

Funny enough, during my week-long slumber I did have a dream in which a voice told me, “Hey. Give up. There’s no point in going on.”

It almost reminds me of how Satan told Jesus the same thing when Jesus was going through a retreat for 40 days and 40 nights in the desert. It almost reminds me of how the Mara the Tempter was trying to distract the Buddha from finding enlightenment.

Is it the same with me? More likely than not, it’s my subconscious mind wanting me to spend more time in video games, movies, or naked people on the Internet than on self-discipline. By the way, I have nothing against video games, movies, naked people, and even booze. Everything should be enjoyed in moderation.

At this stage, I’m just grinding and waiting and grinding and waiting.

Although, in my next post, I would like to talk about some of the good things that has been going on in my life.

Love,

Capt. Idiotic

Gongyo is Good for Nothing

YWD

(This blog post is meant for those who practice Nichiren Buddhism, mostly from the Soka Gakkai. Therefore, I will be writing in the jargon that they know best which means the rest of you may not understand what I am saying. My apologies.)

Greetings and salutations Nichiren Belibers,

I meant what I said: Gongyo is good for nothing and it has brought me lots of happiness knowing such a truth.

I am not saying gongyo is useless. Gongyo is great and wonderful, but I like doing gongyo as if nothing good comes out of it.

Let me mansplain why.

First of all, life sucks. The Buddha said that himself as the First of the Four Noble Truths. There is no such thing as lasting happiness and bad things will happen to us whether we like it or not. The normal thing we’re supposed to do, at least in the Soka Gakkai, is to psych ourselves up. We’re supposed to get our hearts pumping. Then we chant with the rhythm of a galloping horse and chant like the ROAR OF THE LION!!!!!

I don’t know about you, but that tires me out. My adrenaline gets all pumped for the chanting and all ready I feel drained before the day begins.

So why not take it easy? I have to deal with office politics, bad traffic, and all sorts of happenings that will annoy the crap out of me. Why not simply relax, smile, do gongyo and chant? Basically I allow myself at least 15 minutes twice daily to feel calm and happy thoughts. Besides, if my gongyo is good for nothing, why not make it an enjoyable gongyo rather than stressful one?

I could skip gongyo and do other things, but here is another reason for me to do “Good-for-nothing” gongyo: it helps me master my desires. In fact, it helps me use my desires and not let my desires use me.

This is especially the case when SGI leaders would tell me, “Hey man, you want that high paying job in Manhattan? If you start attending more activities, you might get that sweet gig.” “Hey man, you want that hot Japanese girlfriend with big boobs? Study for our SGI test and you might meet one.” “Hey man, you want to improve your work environment? You should spend your weekend at the 50K Lions of Justice of Festival and you’ll get ideas on how to do that.”

Having no reason to do gongyo means no can induce me to make commitments that I don’t want to make. Next time someone tells me, “Hey man, you want to make a million dollars? Recruit more people into SGI.”

I can say, “Nah, I’m cool. I don’t need a million dollars that badly.”

I also like to practice gongyo for no reason because I can teach people to understand their own practice and not let themselves be controlled by me. Case in point, let’s say you find out that I chant the Heart Sutra in my gongyo practice. Most of you would probably blow your top and tell me to stop chanting the Heart Sutra and even tell me a horrible fate awaits for my “transgression.”

I am going to tell you this: since I don’t have any expectations in my practice, I am going to practice however the hell I want. The questions you need to ponder over are: how will you react? Are you going to spend your time trying to change me or are you going to prove me wrong and show me that your way is the right way? How is my practice affecting yours?

Here’s another thing I want to talk about in terms of gongyo. I see gongyo as a form of exercise.

You know how exercise works? In order to benefit from exercise, you just simply do it. Sure there is some minutiae to look into, but you’ll find out soon enough once you start. Trying to “expect” or speed up results will do more to hinder your progress.  Consistency is key, not trying to figure out what kind of mindset you need to have before you exercise. As that sneaker company once said, “Just do it.”

That’s the same with gongyo, as long as you just do it the results will come in its own time. Trying to have faith in the practice, “seeking the Gohonzon in yourself”, making demands/determinations, or whatever are just more head games than anything. As long as you do gongyo, everything will fall into place. Don’t rush it and stop expecting anything.

One great benefit of this good-for-nothing gongyo is that you will finally see the Buddha’s disciples every where. People who you thought were demons actually become the guardians of the Buddha. People you thought were dry academic scholars transform into arahants. That janitor cleaning your office, he or she is a bodhisattva.

In fact, you’ll also hear the sound of the Buddha’s teachings every where. Daisaku Ikeda, Nissatsu Arai, Mark Rogow, the Dalai Lama, and even a single crow all become your teachers.

Namu-Myoho-Renge-Kyo and kind regards,

Me

PS Those YWD members make my member go “PARN!”

Lessons I have learned thus far, Part 1

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Thanks to the lockdown, I have been doing a lot of contemplation on somewhat bitter aspects of my past. The main tool that I use to overcome such bitterness is quite helpful. You can read about my procedure here.

Basically I write an angry letter to that person (not sending it), relax for a couple hours or days, rewrite the letter in gratitude that the person acted that way, and then do a Loving-Kindness meditation to clear away any vestigial hate in my heart.

The first person I would like to talk about is the American teacher I met in Korea who I have referenced many times in the beginning of my blog. For simplicity’s sake, I will name him Anson.

Anson lived in this one city 6 months before I arrived. In fact, he had another 6 months left before he was leaving for another place to work. He initially claimed that he was winding down and enjoying his last months in Korea and even talked about how it’s great that our jobs as public school teachers gives us more free time.

It’s quite true. A lot of people I know were able to make new lives while working as public school English teachers in Korea. A few of them earned their Masters while working. One guy I know started a famous ESL agency. This one other guy tried to learn as many languages as possible. Another used his time in Korea to start a freelance writing career.

For me my freedom and autonomy were privileges, not rights. A lot of this was due to Anson. For some reason or another, Anson saw himself as in charge of my life. I had no say in what I do with my free time. In fact, many times whenever I said or did something Anson disagreed with he would get punitive.

Besides his passive-aggressive insults, he also blackened my reputation and tried to humiliate me many times on Facebook. He did talk to me like a common criminal a few times, too. What really disgusted me about him is that I treated him like a friend and was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, to which he took advantage.

One time I was thinking of resurrecting an old language exchange club to which he decided to horn himself in and “invited” this one professor. Soon after he left Korea it became apparent that she was a very controlling busybody who would harass me at all hours of the day and night. She took over the leadership of the club and expected me to show up at all meetings. If I didn’t show up, she’d call text, or email me demanding why.

It was so bad that, given the chance to move to a different city, I did. Even then, she hounded me months later.

Anson never told me about the professor’s craziness. I knew he didn’t like her, but he was very evasive as to why. However, a mutual friend of ours told me of a conflict that erupted between Anson and the professor. Anson never mentioned a damn thing to me. As he did get involved in a club I was starting and how he involved that crazy professor, I wonder if he did this as a final act of revenge; to see to it that I would never know peace long after he left. I wouldn’t put is past him, to be honest.

I did email him and asked him why he disliked me so much. He gave me these very vague replies, not even pointing out any specific reason why he hated me. It was almost like he wanted to keep his reasons top secret.

The salt on the wound is that for the longest time, I never had the time to spend on training. I originally came to Korea to practice Zen and maintain hardcore Taekwondo/Karate workout only to deal with some idiot who thought he was the center of the Universe. I moved to a different city and wasn’t in a place where I could train properly, plus I had to deal with a very busy social life. I went back to the States and then family drama and office politics took up my time. Even when I went back to Thailand, it wasn’t easy for me to carve out training time.

As frustrating as this epidemic has been, I am grateful enough as it allows me to be back into some form of training. It’s not as hardcore as I’d like, but it’s doing a lot of good. Also, I have been able to do my method in letting go of my past bitterness and did so with Anson.

Here’s what I got out of my past tiff with him:

1) Communication is important. This is something I need to work on. There were times I express myself and I was perceived as weak, therefore whatever I said was invalid. One time I was invited to go out drinking with some people and I said no. Because I didn’t seem aggressive or assertive enough, those people kept on pushing until I relented. I see Anson as one of those type who interprets a weak “no” as a strong “yes”.

Problem #2 is that I have it in my mind that I have to choose the right words in order to express myself. I can’t simply say what I want to say. This is due to well-meaning friends in the past who counseled me, “No no no! Don’t tell him to ‘piss off’! Tell him, ‘I feel that . . .” Not that I disagree with that, but that is a skill that needs to be learned. Am I going have to allow others to treat me disrespectfully until I learn how to speak like a mediator or diplomat? Well, I did that with Anson and I still ended up resentful.

So if I have to be direct or blunt in my speech, then so be it. If I have to show aggression, fine. It’s better to escalate the drama than simply trying to contain Anson’s aggression. What probably would have happened is that we would have a shouting match, we might even come to blows, and then he would leave me alone since he finally got all of his anger out of his system.

2) Anson wanted me to see him as the center of the Universe and I figured I should I oblige to make him a personal god of mine. I like working out, meditating, and doing qigong. However, I am a lazy man at heart. I have video games to play, I have movies to watch, I have Youtube vids to laugh at, and even there are also pretty women on the internet doing some inappropriate touching (wink wink nudge nudge say no more say no more). Those things make me want to not continue on my Zen practice.

So if ever I feel the temptation to skip my training, if ever I want to quit, I would ask myself something like, “Would Anson like it if I were to workout or if I were to look at those pretty women and their inappropriate touching? Hmm, he would like it if I were to go on the internet and do those delightfully sinful things. So, time to workout!”

You might be wondering why is it that I am putting up a picture of Bollywood actress Juhi Chawla? Because her soft brown eyes melt my cold, dead heart.

 

My new approach to the Nichiren liturgy May 8, 2020

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I was looking for videos on ways to improve my meditation practice when I came across this interesting talk by Zen master Shohaku Okumara.

“Zazen is good for nothing.” Wow.

I didn’t realize that it was quite a viral video. Brad Warner, author of Hardcore Zen, referenced this talk in one of his videos and I watched another video from a Zen practitioner from Finland. I actually like Okumara’s talk. It does sound a bit counter-intuitive, but it seems to make sense. When you’re meditating, just sit your ass down and meditate. That’s it. Don’t try to to seek out anything as it will just come to you.

I can sorta see that. When it comes to exercise, the only way to benefit from exercise is to simply do it. Sure, just like zazen, there are some minutiae to look into (such as doing said exercise in proper form) but you just have to do it. The benefits of exercise will come by itself whether or not you expect it. In fact, it’s best not to spend too much time on expectation or else you will be disappointed at the slowness of your results.

The day I had my mini panic attack and after I did some praying, I was thinking about the strangeness of my Nichiren practice. There were times that it worked miracles. One time I let go of a grudge of someone who put me on the short end of the stick. Another time I became happy for a whole week. Recently, I overcame a strong panic attack!

Then there were plenty of times I felt the practice betrayed my trust. I was going through a dispute with a (now) former friend of mine and praying about it made me angry. I wrote about how before I moved to Thailand, I was worried about my move there and how my prayers didn’t seem to assuage my fears. There were times I prayed and somehow find my emotions intensifying in general.

What if I tell myself instead, “Gongyo [liturgy practice] is good for nothing”? What if I simply do the liturgy practice twice daily and expect absolutely nothing out of it? Let the practice work on its own terms?

In the SGI, this type of thinking is “verboten”. The SGI encourages people to pray for material wealth or relationships or other desires. Many people would discourage chanting without goals, citing Nichiren’s letter, “Earthly Desires are Enlightenment.” Furthermore, there is this belief that “no prayers go unanswered.”

Except that it sometimes does go unanswered. If the practitioner ever tells another person, especially a leader, of his frustration of not being able to obtain what he desires, the leader will tell him a whole of slew of different reasons why the practitioner screwed up.

This nice old lady in the video below covers most of the reasons why your Nichiren prayers don’t work:

Some of what the lady says sounds reasonable except that she only covers the tip of the iceberg. Most other leaders will come up with other ones such as: you don’t believe in the practice, you don’t see Daisaku Ikeda as your teacher, you’re not converting others. I’ve said this before: my SGI friend told me that my prayers won’t amount to much unless I gave up a weekend to attend a rally.

This whole little game of mental gymnastics that the SGI plays on the practitioner then turns the Nichiren liturgy into a chore. I do realize the mental gymnastics are there to break down the practitioner’s intellect to make him accept whatever the Soka Gakkai tells him. Unfortunately it turns a beautiful practice into an everyday stress-a-thon.

That’s why I will try out my Nichiren practice without any expectation. My determination, if you will, is to make my practice a chill and relaxing one where I spend at least 15 minutes in happy thoughts. Whether or not this practice will bring me fame and fortune would be moot.

Namu-Myoho-Renge-Kyo,

Capt. Idiotic

Back to my Nichiren practice (again)

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Photo by ahmed adly on Pexels.com

In the popular American sitcom Seinfeld. One of the characters Elaine played by Julia-Louis Dreyfus had a boyfriend named David Puddy played by Patrick Warburton. The running gag is that they break and then get back together again in an matter of hours. They break up so frequently that they don’t take their break-ups seriously anymore.

I wonder if it is going to be the same with my Nichiren practice. There are times I do away with the Nichiren practice and then, next thing you know it, I am back to doing the Nichiren liturgy. Well for one thing I am doing well in my Zen practice and I sure as hell not going to quit now when the going is good.

However, I am wondering if I need to seek a meditation teacher of sorts since I think this is what is changing everything.

I am living with fear that I will die in the most torturous of ways in the hands of criminals and/or psychopaths. I don’t even want to talk about how because, as of this writing, I am trying to suppress those thoughts. It is something that features on gangster and horror films and that’s all I want to hint about.

When I was in Thailand attempting my Zen study program and meditating, I had this “vision” that I was going to die that way. I felt so much panic that I got on my motorbike, bought myself a pack of smokes, went back to home, and lit a few to calm myself down. I even tried to watch a video on how to escape such a situation, but I felt more hopeless and smoked more cigarettes.

I did calm myself down and told myself maybe I had a past life experience, and that now I am alive to remember such things I can be at peace knowing that I reincarnated. I also told myself, maybe going through this panic attack is my way of clearing some bad karma, although I don’t see myself as the type who enjoys other people’s pain nor would inflict it that way on others.

I don’t know what happened, but life went on and then I was back to teaching classes, staying up all night grading, dealing with office politics, and so on.

About a week ago, during meditation, those visions came back up again. I almost went to a panic until I said to myself, “This is just a vision. That’s it. It’s also not what it appears to be.” So far, so good as that vision disappeared.

One night, after my practice, I had that fear that I was going to die that way. It got to a point that I was afraid to sleep. Again, I tell myself that if I get any nightmares, at least I’ll wake up. The next day, it happened. I did a quick workout, it was a nice day so I went outside and drank some coffee and then . . .

“Oh no!” my thoughts said, “What if I come across someone from the Russian mob? How about the Italians? They drugged my drink or they’ve overpowered me and then . . . .”

My breathing became too heavy and my heart started racing. I tried to tell myself that there is a one in a trillion chance I will die that way and I never associate myself with criminals. I tried to tell myself that my imagination is running away. I also did look up on the internet on how to escape such a dilemma and I felt hopeless again to a point that I almost cried. I even watched a video on how to deal with panic attacks in regards to my newfound phobia, and I was pissed off that the dude was explaining the psychology of the attack before even offering the methods to overcome them. Even then, it worked only a little bit.

I didn’t know what to do.

Unlike most proper Nichiren Buddhists, I don’t own an actual paper mandala. My mandala is a jpg file on a ppt slide. And so out of desperation I opened the slide, made it into full-screen, took my beads out, and started chanting the sacred mantra.

That did it.

My panic attack went away. I am not completely healed from it. That’s why I don’t want to mention what the hell is scaring me, but I feel better.

I can’t help but think how Dale Carnegie wrote in his book, “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” chapter on prayer. The book itself isn’t religious, and Carnegie rarely gets preachy about religion in general, but he does recommend daily prayer as way to keep worry at bay. I would like to talk about atheism in this regard, but since I am not one, everything that I say or do will be used against me.

Either way, I practice Buddhism primarily for myself anyways and I don’t care if other people have a religion or not. So there.

My prayers did help calm me down. I feel like adding the Nichiren liturgy will be beneficial. I am no purist and I will continue on with my Zen study, but sometimes it’s good to use different methods and tools to help overcome afflictions and improve one’s character.

Love,

Capt. Idiotic