Get out! F*ck off!

Via Waylon Lewis
on Dec 22, 2011
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How Zen.

In the West, “Zen” is often thought to mean chill. Relaxed. It’s a word that, these days, is used in marketing for yuppie spas and medicinal mary jane blends.

Truth is, Zen Roshis have, through the ages, been a**holes. They hit their sleepy meditating students on the shoulder with a stick. They scream and rant.

Aggression is not “Dharma.” In fact, it’s one of the three root poisons, in Buddhism, along with ignorance and attachment/craving. But, transmuted, the three poisons become the three amritas, or skillful means…and this enlightened fury does have its fourth-resort uses.

Watching Gordon Ramsay, here, I was reminded of a Zen Roshi. Gordon’s role here, as with a sergeant in the military, is to call out mindlessness. Like in the military, the kitchen is a place where folks come together under pressure to get something done very quickly and precisely. The smallest errors or lapses in mindfulness spell the difference.

Now, I’ve never watched the show. I’ve only seen Gordon in one video, ever. So I can’t and am not implying that he’s enlightened.

But what I got out of these scenes of anger, for the most part, was humor. He’s right, in every instance. Minus a little temper tantrumming, I’d say he’s right on: calling out mindlessness and focusing his students on mindfulness.

Of course, I could only make it through the first 10 minutes:


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


15 Responses to “Get out! F*ck off!”

  1. elephantjournal says:

    Laurie Powell Schäfer Not only is this the most moving footage I've seen to date on El Journal but it's the best thing I've ever seen Gordon Ramsey do. Bravo! I'm going to share this one for sure.

    Laurie Powell Schäfer BTW, I want to vomit after watching this. Shameful!

    Rhonda Marie Peskey Ah but there's a method to his madness, and I guarantee you that every single person, even the mouthy obnoxious ones, are either vastly better cooks or no longer in the industry after their experiences with Chef. Laurie, I am so confused by your two comments. ~ Way.

  2. colour27 says:

    I only made it through the first 5 minutes, and that was pushing it. Very uncomfortable footage to watch. I think he is very passionate about what he does but much of this is an act seeking attention. His manner got him noticed, now he exaggerates it for the cameras to keep the public interested. I think he is a very insecure man.

  3. yogi tobye says:


    What Rhonda says is correct though.. you either get out or, you concentrate on what you're doing. He's not flipping burgers but, it aInt that difficult!!

  4. yogi tobye says:

    He's actually one of the most secure men you could ever meet. A lovely guy. He pushes the people through hell like that so they come out shining or they go home. Simples.

  5. elephantjournal says:

    Blair Marano he reminds me very much of my soccer coach growing up. Don't fuck up and he loves you. Fuck up and he'll tear you to shreds. Love it!

    Richard D. Milne Almost!!!

    Brandi Lensch Carter Yup, man is a genius in the kitchen, on the pitch, and with the f bomb. He's hilarious!. I'm glad his injury ended his soccer career (In a selfish way, of course), because food is his calling (along with motivational speaking).

    Katherine Carroll I love Chef Ramsey, but I don't think it's any sense of okay to belittle people. You should be able to motivate people without "tearing them to shreds". The TV crowd likes him, and I think this sort of thing on TV just makes unjustified a**holes think that what they are doing is okay. If you're right, and you know you're right, there's no need for this sort of behavior. Making someone a nervous wreck does not make them perform better.

    Isabelle Jacobs i've always loved this guy 🙂

    David Patterson NOPE ! He's a TOOL !

    Lucy Thang A genius without manners. Really..does he has to be THAT rude???

    Lara Minichiello I ADORE Gordon Ramsey and almost did a double take when I saw him posted on Elephant this morning. I found myself watching his shows the most when I was coming out of a very abusive relationship, one where being angry and speaking up against emotional abuse left me mute and terrified to be angry let alone speak that anger in the world. (a relationship with an everything is love yoga teacher mind you) Watching him inspired me to find the confidence in my own "no." I think this perspective on that kind of "aggression" and passion is much needed. It has it's place. Read his biography. He's not a tool.

    …and I meant to add: people are signing UP for working with this man, well knowing his approach. It's not like Gordon goes out in the world interacting this way with everyone he meets. It's ironic to me that people in the spiritual world can often request the "universe" to teach them, and then process for hours how the lessons they got were so HARD, not what they expected, yet it forced them to look at themselves in such intense ways, and yet there are people in the world who go SEEKING lessons and growth in their own unique ways…and some of them ask for it from people like Gordon…I say BRAVO to their bravery. he kicks people out of mediocrity, puts into the light the shadow of their relationships with money and prosperity, holds them accountable for the messes they have made in their business, and pushes talent and self confidence to shine forth. again – BRAVO.

    Paul Leard Ramsey is not the problem, but the social enviornment that consumers crate who want satifation, and money motivation is the problems. Most of you never worked in a professioanal business kitchen I take it. You have to wake up, when your doing ten orders at once, and if you slack, you get wakened up or get fired. The food industary feeds to those who want to eat now, not later, and to keep in business, to keep the safty standards up to compy with goverment to keep your busniess running. That attutude is a consumer influnced, and Chef Ramsey is more sane then most running a restaurant, in my experince. Chef Ramsey even has more compassion to others, which may surprise all those kitchen virgins. When comes to "Hell's Kitchen" (a bootcamp level online intense game show), and when your ego get in the way of business, then your not a part of a team, one diserve to be belittled, to eather walk away, or grow up and get beyound the self, and there is a lot of people needing to grow up like that at some point.

  6. […] it again. Nothing too awful. Something midway between “Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr” and a Gordon Ramseyesque, F-bomb laden tirade. I ended up tweeting some passive-aggressive grumpiness (and later […]

  7. Thea says:

    I kind of feel like the person that tells a child there is no Santa Claus. But, working for years (over a decade) w/in the film and television industry I can tell you that reality TV, is not a true form of reality. Producers create the situation, editors create the storyline. Though it is "unscripted" Reality Television is like cinéma vérité of the 1950's and 60s a genre of film that was suppose to represent reality through filmmaking (but not the same as documentary). Wikipedia has a great quote by Edgar Morin "There are two ways to conceive of the cinema of the Real: the first is to pretend that you can present reality to be seen; the second is to pose the problem of reality. In the same way, there were two ways to conceive cinéma vérité. The first was to pretend that you brought truth. The second was to pose the problem of truth." Good rule of thumb if it is on TV, there is a high chance that it is not real. Reference Fox news. The reality show actors are aware of what they are getting into.

    For some reason our society is obsessed with watching others be tortured or the very idea of others suffering humiliation, pain and torment thus such shows are popular.

    I remember years ago after college while looking for gainful employment I did audience work. Yep! That is a real thing in Los Angeles. I was paid to clap for judge shows and game shows and there were signs/personnel present to let you know which reaction you should have. Even having gone to film school I had no idea the level and depth of artifice in the industry until those moments.

    Regarding working in a professional kitchen…chef's work 12-16 hours a day they are the shoulders on which the success of the restaurants survive or flourish. I have had many friends work in successful restaurants, the higher end the more investment money the more pressure and dogmatic the chef. Working in the kitchen of a successful restaurant is anything but easy.

  8. __MikeG__ says:

    Sorry, I don't buy the premise that Ramsey is "calling out mindfulness". Reality shows are as fake and unreal as the traditional scripted fare on TV. Maybe we just have different definitions of mindfulness. For me, mindfulness can only be built on a foundation of reality and using Ramsey's show as an example of mindfulness fails the laugh test.

  9. True, Zen is not always calm, but Zen is always clear. There is a clear difference between the rage of ego and the pure potency of the egoless.

  10. elephantjournal says:

    Thanks Mike. I was not using it as an example of mindfulness that we should ape, of course….but more as a starting point for a discussion of anger, enlightened (and otherwise). That Ramsay loses his shiite on the contestants when they're mindless is a simple statement of fact (obviously. Watch the video. He does it againandagain). Whether his anger, however, is mindful, or just pointing toward mindfulness, is the question. Thanks–

  11. elephantjournal says:

    Clear anger can be aggression, too. The question is: what's the intent? For benefit, as when a mother screams at a child not to touch a burning stove? Or are we just wallowing in klesha, confusion, drama?

    As our Buddhist summer camp would remind us, constantly, if (when) you lose your mind, come back.

  12. John says:

    I have a hard time envisioning any buddhist or zen master calling a student a “Fat Fuck”

    I was in the Army. I know exactly what it means to be yelled at and forced to focus and do your best. But I also saw a Drill Sergeant go to far once. He demeaned and humiliated him in front of the entire platoon and three other drill sergeants. He was reprimanded and lost his position.

    There is a line between being a tough minded leader and a complete self-centered ego-maniacal asshole and Gordon Ramsey VAULTED across that line years ago.

    I made it exactly 43 seconds into this before I got disgusted with his usual bullshit. And I don’t care if it is “scripted” for ratings. That just makes it worse because it just tells the world that this is acceptable. Zen or no Zen, what he needs is a punch in the face. And I mean this with nothing but total compassion. He has been allowed, nay encouraged, to act like a spoiled wunderkind and it may make great television and wonderful food, but it creates horrible human beings. I would rather eat Tuna sandwiches in peace.

    I bet the people who finish his little show are better at certain jobs. But I bet they are not more creative or inspired, and I bet most of them hate his guts.

  13. zenwondering says:

    Sometimes I am so dissapointed by ele when aheadline and description sounds so interesting and the body of the piece is less than.

  14. […] little thing that floats through them–good or bad. People are going to keep doing things that piss you off. People are going to keep complimenting you, and you are going to keep craving it. You are going to […]

  15. […] 4: If you catch yourself losing your temper, go back to number one. It happens. So when it does, and I catch myself, I make a big silly […]