Bluff The Listener
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Right now, it's time for the WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to play our game on the air.
Hi, you are on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.
JOHN DALEY: Hi. This is John Daley from Hopkinton, Mass.
SAGAL: Did you say you live in Hopkinton?
DALEY: I do.
SAGAL: That is the start, of course, of the Boston Marathon, which I've done a few times, so maybe I ran by you.
DALEY: You may have.
SAGAL: Yeah. And have you ever run it yourself?
BOBCAT GOLDTHWAIT: It sounds like a...
DALEY: I have not.
GOLDTHWAIT: ...Fictional town that rabbits would live in.
SAGAL: Well, welcome to the show, John. It's very nice to have you with us. You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what is John's topic?
BILL KURTIS: Trouble at the temple.
SAGAL: We think of Buddhist temples as havens of peace, tranquility and enlightenment. Sometimes, though, they end up acting just like us. This week, we read about something going wrong at a particular Buddhist monastery in Japan - the Sekishoin Shukubo monastery, in fact. Our panelists are going to tell you about it. Pick the one who's telling the truth of what happened at that monastery, and you'll win our prize - the voice from our show of your choice on your voicemail. Your first story comes from Bobcat Goldthwait.
GOLDTHWAIT: All right. Bradley Stonesifer (ph), an uber-fan of the Marvel superhero Doctor Strange, sued - how do you say that?
SAGAL: Sekishoin Shukubo.
GOLDTHWAIT: ...Temple in Japan for not including...
GOLDTHWAIT: ...Magic in their Buddhist training classes. Stonesifer complained, I wasn't looking to learn how to astral project or how to bend time or anything awesome like that, but I did think it would have been fair if they at least showed me how to make those cool energy balls of light with my bare hands.
I've seen many movies where there is a montage in a Buddhist temple, and the hero is taught how to unleash magical powers and tapped into strengths they didn't know that they had. All I learned from these guys was that I need to work on my patience and that I shouldn't eat so much meat. This place is a total rip-off.
GOLDTHWAIT: After Stonesifer's case was tossed out, the hotel realized it was missing a potential market from Western film fans. Haruto Gato (ph), the Buddhist monk that runs the temple, says that they are now offering a Batman-inspired isolation meditation that includes leg crunches and lifting work, along with a John Rambo-inspired course on how to get abs of steel and accept loss.
GOLDTHWAIT: Stonesifer said, still no magic. These guys are fake.
SAGAL: The monastery is sued by...
SAGAL: ...A "Doctor Strange" fan for not teaching him the mystic arts. Your next story of Buddhist botheration comes from Amy Dickinson.
AMY DICKINSON: In Buddhism, practitioners follow the example of the Buddha. They practice loving kindness and take the eightfold path. This is the calm and balanced middle way between extremes.
This week, an American-born Buddhist priest named Daniel Kimura went another way. Kimura lives at the Sekishoin Shukubo temple in Japan, and his path was less like the Buddha and more like Liam Neeson in one of those "Taken" movies.
The trouble started when a Western visitor to Kimura's temple left an online review saying, the temple's food is basic, and they don't explain their traditions. Kimura responded on behalf of the temple, well, if you're that interested in a monk's life, then you should shave your head and be one. Another visitor noted, the meals were strange and quite unlike any food I've ever tasted. Kimura responded, yeah, it's Japanese monastic cuisine, you uneducated F-word.
DICKINSON: After his belligerent one-star responses went viral, Kimura apologized and said that even monks and priests get impatient. I've got to work on that, he admitted. But he's still frustrated at Westerners who visit an ancient Japanese site, expect it to be like a six-star hotel, he said, and don't even know how to say hello in the native language. And for future visitors to the temple, how do you say hello? Kimura provided a tutorial. It's konnichiwa (ph), dumbass.
SAGAL: A monk gets angry with negative...
SAGAL: ...Online reviews of his monastery and gets in trouble. Your last story of a monastic misfortune comes from Peter Grosz.
PETER GROSZ: Everyone at the Sekishoin Shukubo temple was excited to be working with their newest monk, Tenzing Achara (ph), the premier teacher of transcendental meditation in the world. But that gratitude turned to horror this week when he led a group of 20 students into a state of meditation deep inside their own minds but then couldn't get them out.
GROSZ: At the end of a three-hour session, Achara called for his students to return to consciousness, but no one moved. He said their names. He clapped his hands. He pounded on the floor. But he couldn't awaken a single person. Slowly, panic set in. I felt horrible, Achara said. It was like I led a group of children on a field trip to the zoo and then returned to the school with an empty bus.
GROSZ: The whole staff of the temple was rushed in to try any method possible to wake up the students. They turned on bright lights. They put smelling salts under their noses. They shook them - gently at first and then very aggressively. They dipped their fingers in glasses of warm water. They put whipped cream on their hands and tickled their noses.
GROSZ: They played Metallica albums at full volume. They let three screeching falcons loose in the temple.
GROSZ: They poured cold buckets of ice water on the students' heads. And when all of that didn't work, they administered low-level shocks with frayed electrical cords, which finally got all 20 students to return to consciousness.
The students, for their part, had no idea what was happening. I had been in a state of pure bliss in connection with all planes of existence, said American student Owen Bergstein (ph). I was shocked to wake up and find out that I had been shocked.
GROSZ: But I would do it again in a heartbeat.
SAGAL: All right. Here are your choices.
SAGAL: So something happened at the Sekishoin Shukubo Buddhist monastery in Japan. Was it, from Bobcat Goldthwait, an American tourist suing them because they didn't teach him the mystic arts just like they do in "Doctor Strange"; from Amy Dickinson, one of their monks getting a little - well, a lot profane as he responded to some negative online reviews from tourists; or, from Peter Grosz, a guy so successful in getting 20 people deep into a meditative trance they couldn't wake them up? Which is the real story from this particular monastery?
DALEY: I will go with B.
SAGAL: You're going to go with B.
DALEY: I am.
SAGAL: That would be Amy's story of the angry monk.
SAGAL: All right. Well, to bring you the correct answer, we spoke with someone who had some insights into this story.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Buddhist monks are very kind. We should not be annoyed by anything.
SAGAL: That was a Buddhist monk...
SAGAL: ...At the West End Buddhist Temple in Ontario talking about how unusual it was that the monk Daniel Kimura fired back at angry reviews of the temple food.
SAGAL: So congratulations. You got it right. Yay. You have won a point for Amy, simply for telling the truth. You have also won our silly prize - the voice of anyone you might like on your voicemail. Thank you so much for playing.
DALEY: Thank you for having me.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LIKE THE BUDDHA DO")
POPA CHUBBY: (Singing) I'm going to do like the Buddha do. I'm going to do the things that Buddha do.
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