Good Morning Chris,
Gosh-- I didn't realize you lived in CA. For some reason, I thought you lived 
in MD.  I will  look through the info on the links you gave me today, and add 
any thoughts I have on that later.  Though Ed and Bill seem more  knowledgeable 
about Gempo and Big Mind than I.  
I will  offer, however, that I am still impressed with your cycling, though as 
an exercise  junkie,  I will point out that cycling uses more kcals than 
walking. Like any activity, it is dependent on the intensity, however.  When I 
was starting  school in the 80's, a common formula used in exercise 
prescription was known as the Karvone Formula, but better assessments are used 
now.   I still use it, though, because its easy,  and much more accurate than 
the archaic 220 -age. (Dangerous mis-calculation). 
This formula allows the calculation of a training heart rate % that is 
equivalent  to the %  VO2 max, (%  max  HR = % VO2 max). (Volume of oxygen 
Fitness recommendations back then suggesting exercise intensity  between 70-85% 
VO2 max--  They are substantially lower today which will bring to my second 
point later;)
So, for example:
HR  = 70% x  (max HR - resting HR) + resting HR
      =  70%  x (170 - 70) +  70
      =  140 beats /min 
This method adjusts for measuring variation in  resting and max HR, thereby 
avoiding errors in one's training HR. (Cardiac patients and prescription drug 
use are exceptions).
Now-- you REALLY  won't be an exercise enthusiast;)
I will point out that  most people  do not get enough activity in their daily 
life to stay healthy.  While you, I, my mom might not have weight problems or  
chronic health complaints, I can assure you that  the chronic health  issues 
adults and children have here in the USA  are  often a result of poor daily 
diet and a sedentary lifestyle.  Yes-- I'm sure those  experienced   vegan 
monks on the mountain-tops are doing fine with "just this", but for those of us 
who  live in  the norm world, such is not the case. If others here want to 
argue otherwise, be my guest-- I'll be out preparing my winter garden.
I agree that biking is great fun, and mode of transit.  I didn't drive for 
several years after my accident, and I got used to mass transit , bikes and 
walking.  I am very environmentally-conscious, though I am terrible when it 
comes to using plastic.  I remember  once that I was running on a country road 
passing some farms.. I watched in horror as a crop duster came by and dumped 
chemicals   on a crop--and me.  Its a given I would have been much healthier if 
I had stayed home  with a piece of cheesecake in front of the TV.
But you are correct that taking care of small children  does indeed qualify as 
heavy labor;)
I will look over those links and add more later.  While the above may be 
thought of as off-topic, I think all  of life is zen for me.  It is the 
attitude I bring to each activity that makes it so .  I'll check back later as 
surely Ed has  his own blog on exercise  prescription.
Have a super day..

--- On Mon, 11/15/10, Chris Austin-Lane <> wrote:

From: Chris Austin-Lane <>
Subject: Re: [Zen] Re: FW: Amazon book
Date: Monday, November 15, 2010, 6:58 PM


On Mon, Nov 15, 2010 at 5:14 PM, Kristy McClain <> wrote:

To the contrary. I do not recommend Big Mind , necessarily.  In fact, I have 
said here that it is not a process that works for me. It seems a bit like group 
therapy, but not about zen.  I know it well, as I have a home in UT, (though I 
live in CA).  Gempo Roshi's  zen center is just two miles from my home there.   
I did attend many meditation  groups , classes and even a few  retreats 
there..   I am friends with Diane Musho Hamilton, and she received her 
transmission from Gempo Roshi.  Actually, I have been critical of this teaching 
model in the past, but now--  Well, I truly feel that there are different 
methods that work for different  personalities and cultures. So, if one finds 
Big Mind meaningful, thats okay by me. I don't believe in one recipe. I do 
think it may attract people who would not normally include zen, or any 
spiritual practice in their lives. If so, then, I think there is a benefit to 
society at large.

I would be interested then in your response to his criticism of Big Mind and a 
general tendency in the West to make zen easier and more palatable to people 
that don't want to do the irritating work of sitting daily.  He even insists on 
lotus or half-lotus - no chairs at his retreats!  And Brad does not merely not 
recommend Big Mind, but uses rather strong language to condemn it.  He seems 
rather upset at the idea of people thinking that a few hours of anything 
purchasable can replace years of daily zazen.  

His blog is here:

He is one of the very large category of things and people I enjoy but don't 
really recommend to others.  I think he is an enjoyable writer who seems to 
manifest a long experience with non-dual ways of living, but he also enjoys 
writing stuff that pisses people off.  

 I mentioned athlete, as you seem to be a cyclist, and  you mentioned  how 
poignantly your sweat cools on your shirt. 

Cycling is great for non-athletes - way fewer calories/mile than walking.  The 
sweat on my back comment was my attempt at "Just this" - I was at the time 
typing on a phone and a bit sweaty (it is a very warm fall here in northern 
California).  As I sit zazen more, this stance to is generally softening up, 
but I've always styled myself as anti-exercise; normal life can provide all the 
physical activity our bodies demand.  This stance was more true when I stayed 
at home with the kids than as a computer programmer, and I did just bike up to 
a smallish mountain merely for the fun of it, so perhaps I'm not really 
anti-exercise any more.  

I was going to add that I  was very impressed.  Not only are you getting 
exercise, you are reducing your carbon footprint, and  saving trees by using an 

That is really why I bike, the carbon foot print thing; that and I really don't 
enjoy driving at all.  Biking is fun in the way that 12 year olds have fun.  
And for distances up to about 5 miles it is basically as functional as a car, 
and way way less work than walking.  And more free than mass transit.  

I will definitely look at the book your children enjoy.  Might be a fun 
surprise for my nephew.

Sit Down and Shut Up is in no way suitable for kids - my kids just liked the 
title (no doubt because normally shut up is forbidden to them).  They love to 
tell me to sit down and shut up when it's time for me to sit.  

The full title is Sit Down and Shut Up: Punk Rock Commentaries on Buddha, God, 
Truth, Sex, Death, & Dogen's Treasury of the Right Dharma Eye
I found it to be an interesting and well informed (by experience and knowledge 
of Japanese Zen) commentary on Shobogenzo, as well as very funny.

Yours in typing,



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