28.2.05

In Buddhism, the source of moral authority is the causal law. Be kind, be just, be humane, be honest if you desire to crown your future. Dishonesty, cruelty, inhumanity will condemn you to a miserable fall.

Soyen Shaku

Playing: Kenny G _ The Duets Album - Pick Up The Pieces
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The world only arises from ignorance.
You alone are real.

There is no one,
Not even God,
Separate from yourself.

Ashtavakra Gita 15:16

Playing: Sade - Promise - Never As Good As The First Time
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what a pity!

When mortals are alive, they worry about death.
When they're full, they worry about hunger.
Theirs is the Great Uncertainty.

But sages don't consider the past.
And they don't worry about the future.
Nor do they cling to the present.
And from moment to moment they follow the Way.
Bodhidharma

All sentient beings are essentially Buddhas.
As with water and ice, there is no ice without water;
apart from sentient beings, there are no Buddhas.
Not knowing how close the truth is,
we seek it far away
--what a pity!
Hakuin Ekaku Zenji

Playing: Pressure Drop - Dusk-
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Teacups

A student asked Suzuki Roshi why the Japanese make their teacups so thin and delicate that they break easily. "It's not that they're too delicate," he answered, "but that you don't know how to handle them. You must adjust yourself to the environment, and not vice versa."

From: "To Shine One Corner of the World: Moments with Shunryu Suzuki: Stories of a Zen Teacher Told by His Students"

Playing: Rippingtons - Life In The Tropics - Caribbean Breeze
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27.2.05

Dhamma Rap

The Ministry of Culture in Bangkok, Thailand hopes to harness the power of Hip-Hop to encourage Thai youth to be more active in the Buddhist religion. According to The Vice Minister for Culture Weerasak Kowsurat, the government is introducing a new genre of rap called "Dhamma Rap". Word.

via: Ottmar Liebert

Playing: Vernon Neilly and G-Fire - G-Fire II - LFO
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Old friends

Old friends do not abandon loving friendships,
Even when those they cherish happen to do them harm.

A strong, close friend will not listen to a friends' faults,
And on the day a friend offends, he celebrates his silence.


from: Tirukkural 81:807-808

Playing: Madeleine Peyroux - Careless Love - Don't Wait Too Long
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25.2.05

devotion

A devotee who can call on God while living a householder’s life is a hero indeed. God thinks: "He who has renounced the world for My sake will surely pray to Me; he must serve Me. Is there anything very remarkable about it? People will cry shame on him if he fails to do so. But he is blessed indeed who prays to Me in the midst of his worldly duties. He is trying to find Me, overcoming a great obstacle – pushing away, as it were, a huge block of stone weighing a ton. Such a man is a real hero."

Ramakrishna

Playing: Peter White - How Does It Feel - Confidential
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23.2.05

Photo Gallery

of Japanese Zen Gardens by Frantisek Staud,

Zen garden pictures

Expose yourself

Expose yourself to your deepest fear;
After that, fear has no power,
And the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes.
You are free.
Jim Morrison

Playing: Pressure Drop - Dusk
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22.2.05

book I chapter 1

BREAVMAN
knows a girl named Shell whose ears were pierced so she could wear the long filigree earrings. The punctures festered and now she has a tiny scar in each earlobe. He discovered them behind her hair.
A bullet broke into the flesh of his father's arm as he rose out of a trench. It comforts a man with coronary thrombosis to bear a wound taken in combat.
On the right temple Breavman has a scar which Krantz bestowed with a shovel. Trouble over a snowman. Krantz wanted to use clinkers as eyes. Breavman was and still is against the use of foreign materials in the decoration of snowmen. No woolen mufflers, hats, spectacles. In the same vein he does not approve of inserting carrots in the mouths of carved pumpkins or pinning on cucumber ears.

Children show scars lilce medals. Lovers use them as secrets to reveal. A scar is what happens when the word is made flesh.
It is easy to display a wound, the proud scars of combat. It is hard to show a pimple.

excerpts from Cohen's early Künstlerroman The favorite game: first published 1963

Playing: Carol Duboc - All Of You - All Of You.
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Baso is Unwell

Sun-faced Buddha:
persimmon
pineapple
papaya.

Moon-faced Buddha:
syringe
stethoscope
scalpel.

While on the bedside table
a glass of water holds
the early-morning light.

Blue Cliff Verses, copyright: Richard von Sturmer

Playing: Gail Johnson - Keep The Music Playing - Gimme Your Groove.
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Thought

"Recognizing what we have done in the past is a recognition of ourselves. By conducting a dialogue with our past, we are searching how to go forward."

Kiyoko Takeda

Tree

It is foolish
to let a young redwood
grow next to a house.

Even in this
one lifetime
you will have to choose.

That great calm being,
this clutter of soup pots and books -

Already the branch-tips brush at the window.
Softly, calmly, immensity taps at your life.

by Jane Hirshfield

Playing: Badi Assad - Chameleon - Waves
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Kyogen's "Man Up A Tree"

The Gateless Barrier

The priest Hsiang-yen said, " It is as though you were up in a tree, hanging from a branch with your teeth. Your hands and feet can't touch any branch. Someone appears beneath the tree and asks, "What is the meaning of Bodhidharma's coming from the West?" If you do not answer you evade your responsibility. If you do answer you lose your life. What do you do?"

Wu-men's Comment

Even if your eloquence flows like a river, it is all in vain. Even if you can expound cogently the whole body of Buddhist literature, that too is useless. If you can respond to this dilemna properly, you give life to those who have been dead and kill those who have been alive. If you can't respond, you must wait and ask Maitreya about it.

Wu-men's Verse

Hsiang-yen is just blabbing nonsense
his poisonous intentions are limitless
He stops up the monks' mouths
making his whole body a demon eye.

We often say here that practice is about how we face difficulty in our lives, and in this case Kyogen presents us with a parable of unsolvable difficulty which he nonetheless asks us to somehow respond to. The man under the tree asks, "Why did Bodhidharma come from the West,?" but he might as well ask, what is the meaning of your predicament? And like Bodhidharma's coming, it has no meaning, it just is where we find ourselves, but nonetheless we have to face it, respond to it.

Kyogen's own life story is quite dramatic and is usually included in the commentaries on this case. Apparently as a young monk he had quite a reputation as a scholar, and was very proud of his intellectual understanding of the Buddhist scriptures. This seems to have gone over reasonably well with his first teacher, but when that teacher died he went to study with Isan, who wasn't so impressed. Isan asked him to ask the koan, "What was your original face before the birth of your parents?" We might say "who are you really, before you started reading all those books?" And Kyogen had no answer. Isan's question posed an insoluble problem for him, and he realized that the thing he was most proud of, that he identified himself most completely with , his scholarship, had completely failed him. And in desperation, he asked Isan to tell him the answer. But Isan said "Really I have nothing at all to teach you. And in any case, any understanding I have will always be mine, and can never be yours." Isan is telling him, "Don't ask to borrow my face, you've got your own." But Kyogen still didn't know what to say. Any feeling that he had failed as a monk, he left, and took a job as the caretaker in an old neglected cemetery. All his self-respect as a scholar died. He burned his books, and for years simply did the manual labor of cleaning and sweeping the cemetery and temple grounds. But one day, his broom swept up a little stone that flew up in the air and hit the fence with a loud "tock," and hearing that sound, all of a sudden Kyogen's original face was immediately apparent to him, and he wrote this poem to express what he saw.

It is easy for me to identify with the young Kyogen, all full of pride about this intellectual achievements, and a dozen or so years back, I had to confront a similar moment when all of that failed me. I had just published my first psychoanalytic articles and was invited to give a lecture at a conference along with some rather authors, all of which went straight to my head. But when my bi moment came, and I got up to read my paper to this distinguished audience, I managed to read only a page or two and then I fainted! And the whole self-important self-image I was trying to cultivate came crashing down & I was completely humiliated in front of a hundred or so psychoanalysts, who let me tell you, all had plenty of theories and opinions & diagnoses about why it happened. But what an incident like that can do, and what it did for Kyogen, is restore us to being ordinary, shattering our fantasies of specialness. And our original face turns out to be something very ordinary, right here and now, though all the time we've imagined it to be something very special and esoteric. We imagine that some special quality, or insight or enlightenment experience is going to make us immune from problems once and for all, and sometimes the only thing that finally convinces us of the utter futility of that fantasy is a death, or a serious illness or some personal failure. But we still have to face our life, and we must respond to what it asks of us, even though we learn that no response can free us from simply being human.

As we sit here today, perhaps as the day goes on, sitting here with emotional and physical pain, we can all ask what it is we cling to so tightly, what about ourselves we think we can't let go of at any cost. But in another sense, there is no way to let go of life, short of dying. We sit, we can't move, we're in pain, and inevitably we ask ourselves, what is the meaning of our coming here?

How will you answer?

Playing: Bobby Wells - Bayside - Bayside
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Tsunami Recovery

Stories like this, and this, seem to reassure that just as we always known, even in the wake of such devastation as the recent tsunami, nature is still the designated driver...

Playing: Will Donato - Will Power - New Life
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Beware, O Wanderer

Beware, O Wanderer,
the road is walking too,
said Rilke one day to no one
in particular
as good poets everywhere address
the six directions.

If you can't bow, you're dead meat.
You'll break like uncooked spaghetti.
Listen to the gods.
They're shouting in your ear
every second.

Jim Harrison
from "After Ikkyu," Tricycle, Spring 1996

Playing: Boney James - Ride - RPM
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21.2.05

Issa


In this world
we stroll along the roof of hell
gawking at flowers



In only a few words, Issa pours out his conflicted feelings, caught between a fleeting world which he knows is impermanent and painful, and the deep love which prevents him from turning away from it. For millennia Buddhists have struggled with this fundamental human dilemma, different sects and individuals finding their own ways to resolve the tension between the Second Noble Truth and the persistent demands of the heart. Complacency when times are (temporarily) good is a common phenomenon that Issa gently mocks:




from: tricycleblog

Playing: James Malone - Shoot For The Moon - Kassondra Lanai
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20.2.05

Baghdad Burning

from:Groceries and Election Results...

...I feel like I have my finger on the throbbing pulse of the Iraqi political situation every time I visit Abu Ammar. You can often tell just how things are going in the country from the produce available at his stand. For example, when he doesn’t have any good tomatoes we know that the roads to Basra are either closed or really bad and the tomatoes aren’t getting through to Baghdad. When citrus fruit isn’t available during the winter months, we know that the roads to Diyala are probably risky and oranges and lemons couldn’t be delivered...

via: Baghdad Burning

Playing: Matt Bianco f. Basia - Ordinary Day - Matt's Mood
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Sutta Nipata

Now Playing: Jeff Lorber - Ooh La La - Flipside

The one who is very attached to the cave of the body, that one finds detachment very difficult. Those who constantly crave for pleasure are hard to liberate and certainly cannot be liberated by others, only by themselves. Sometimes it is only death that brings a realization of endings, and then the sensual person, deeply immersed in the body, will shout: "What will happen to me after death?"

The way toward liberation is to train yourself to live in the present without any wanting to become anything. Give up becoming this or that, live without cravings, and experience this present moment with full attention. Then you will not cringe at death nor seek for repeated birth.

Sutta Nipata

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Sri Aurobindo

Now Playing: David Lanz - Big Sur - The Good Life

If you want to be a true doer of divine works, your first aim must be to be totally free from all desire and self-regarding ego. All your life must be an offering and a sacrifice to the Supreme; your only object in action shall be to serve, to receive, to fulfill, to become a manifesting instrument of the Divine Shakti in her works. You must grow in the divine consciousness till there is no difference between your will and hers, no motive except her impulsion in you, no action that is not her conscious action in you and through you.

Sri Aurobindo

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Dhammapada

Playing: Boy On A Dolphin - Nouwe O N'Mazei - Words Inside

When anger arises,
whoever keeps firm control
as if with a racing chariot:
him
I call a master charioteer.
Anyone else;
a rein-holder--
that's all.

Dhammapada, 17

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18.2.05

Windover Archaeological Project

Now Playing: Gail Johnson - Keep The Music Playing - Gimme Your Groove
Word of the Day: carapace - A hard bony or chitinous outer covering, such as the fused dorsal plates of a turtle or the portion of the exoskeleton covering the head and thorax of a crustacean.

When the 3-year-old died, her parents placed her favorite toys in her arms, wrapped her in fabric woven from fibers of native plants, and buried her body in the soft, muck bottom of a small pond. Some 7,000 years later, when a young archaeologist uncovered her tiny remains, the toys--a wooden pestle-shaped object and the carapace of a small turtle--were still cradled in her arms. Most remarkable was the state of preservation of the child's bones and her toys, and the remains of some 167 other individuals and numerous artifacts found in that small pond in Windover Farms subdivision. The pond is about one mile southeast of the intersection of Highway 50 and I-95 and just outside the Titusville city limits where, today, a child's favorite toy may be a model of the space shuttle.

The State of Florida allocated nearly a million dollars for excavation and preservation, but now, a wealth of information lies cataloged and boxed at Florida State University because the state cannot provide additional funds for research. Additional research could tell much about the native Americans who lived near a small pond 4,000 years before Christ was born and 2,000 years before the pyramids were built or ceramics came into existence. At the end of the 1986-1987 field season, the well points were pulled, and the dark peat was pushed back into the pond, restoring Windover Pond to its pre-excavation, pristine state.

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The Next Mozart

Now Playing: ken elikson - opal -

There is a composer studying at New York’s renowned Juilliard School who some say is the greatest talent to come along in 200 years. He’s written five full-length symphonies, and he’s only 12 years old.

"We are talking about a prodigy of the level of the greatest prodigies in history when it comes to composition," says Sam Zyman, a composer. "I am talking about the likes of Mozart, and Mendelssohn, and Saint-Sans.


Jay’s not a usual 12-year-old, and he knows it. Catching onto baseball isn’t as natural as playing piano. Even though Jay’s a genius, he’s still a kid.

What happens when Jay gets bored? "He gets restless, and then he starts improvising. Last week, he took the Beethoven sonata we’re working right now, and decided that everything would be kind of interesting upside down and backwards," says Wolff. "So he took the volume and literally did just that. He can do it for you right now. And I couldn’t even follow it. But he actually took the clefs and inverted them. The treble became bass, bass became treble, and did it backwards."

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Into the Future

Now Playing: Grady Nichols - Tuesday Morning - Sophistication

Deep in the basement of a dusty university library in Edinburgh lies a small black box, roughly the size of two cigarette packets side by side, that churns out random numbers in an endless stream.

At first glance it is an unremarkable piece of equipment. Encased in metal, it contains at its heart a microchip no more complex than the ones found in modern pocket calculators.

But, according to a growing band of top scientists, this box has quite extraordinary powers. It is, they claim, the 'eye' of a machine that appears capable of peering into the future and predicting major world events.

The machine apparently sensed the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre four hours before they happened - but in the fevered mood of conspiracy theories of the time, the claims were swiftly knocked back by sceptics. But last December, it also appeared to forewarn of the Asian tsunami just before the deep sea earthquake that precipitated the epic tragedy.

Now, even the doubters are acknowledging that here is a small box with apparently inexplicable powers ... machines like the Edinburgh black box have thrown up a tantalising possibility: that scientists may have unwittingly discovered a way of predicting the future ...

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Buddha

Now Playing: Torcuato Mariano - Ocean Way - Rare Requests 4

If a man should conquer in battle a thousand and a thousand more, and another should conquer himself, his would be the greater victory, because the greatest of victories is the victory over oneself.

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17.2.05

Indian Proverb

Love can’t be hid by hiding.

16.2.05

The way

Now Playing: Boney James - Pure - Stone Groove

The way is the perennial Way, the truth is the perennial Truth: don't misapply body and mind chasing after sayings. This is why it is said that "even the slightest object is dust; as soon as you arouse intent, you’re confused by hallucination."

Yun-feng

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Tsunamis reveals ancient sculptures

Now Playing: Queen Latifah - Dana Owens Album - California Dreamin'

The deadly tsunamis that crashed into southern India have unearthed priceless relics, including two granite lions, buried under sand for centuries. mong the tsunami "gifts" found in Mahabalipuram, 70 kilometers (45 miles) south of Madras, are the remnants of a stone house and a half-completed rock elephant, archaeologists say.

There are also two giant granite lions, one seated and another poised to charge. The statues are each carved out of a single piece of granite stone, testifying to the carver's skill.

The objects were uncovered when the towering waves withdrew from the beach, carrying huge amounts of sand with them.

The Hindu dynasty dominated much of South India from as early as the first century BC to eighth century AD and Mahabalipuram is now recognized as the site of some of the greatest architectural and sculptural achievements in India.


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Sooner or later

Now Playing: Peter White - Confidential - How Does It Feel

Sooner or later
Fortune or misfortune
May befall you.

When you know this,
You desire nothing,
You grieve for nothing.
Subduing the senses,
You are happy.

Ashtavakra Gita 11:3

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15.2.05

Case 1. Joshu's Dog

Now Playing: Will Donato - New Life - Will Power

A monk asked Joshu, "Has the dog the Buddha nature?"
Joshu replied, "Mu"


Mumon's Comment:
For the pursuit of Zen, you must pass through the barriers (gates) set up by the Zen masters. To attain his mysterious awareness one must completely uproot all the normal workings of one's mind. If you do not pass through the barriers, nor uproot the normal workings of your mind, whatever you do and whatever you think is a tangle of ghost. Now what are the barriers? This one word "Mu" is the sole barrier. This is why it is called the Gateless Gate of Zen. The one who passes through this barrier shall meet with Joshu face to face and also see with the same eyes, hear with the same ears and walk together in the long train of the patriarchs. Wouldn't that be pleasant? Would you like to pass through this barrier? Then concentrate your whole body, with its 360 bones and joints, and 84,000 hair follicles, into this question of what "Mu" is; day and night, without ceasing, hold it before you. It is neither nothingness, nor its relative "not" of "is" and "is not." It must be like gulping a hot iron ball that you can neither swallow nor spit out. Then, all the useless knowledge you have diligently learned till now is thrown away. As a fruit ripening in season, your internality and externality spontaneously become one. As with a mute man who had had a dream, you know it for sure and yet cannot say it. Indeed your ego-shell suddenly is crushed, you can shake heaven and earth. Just as with getting ahold of a great sword of a general, when you meet Buddha you will kill Buddha. A master of Zen? You will kill him, too. As you stand on the brink of life and death, you are absolutely free. You can enter any world as if it were your own playground. How do you concentrate on this Mu? Pour every ounce of your entire energy into it and do not give up, then a torch of truth will illuminate the entire universe.

Has a dog the Buddha nature?
This is a matter of life and death.
If you wonder whether a dog has it or not,
You certainly lose your body and life!

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Embracing our pain in the aftermath of the tsunami

Now Playing: Sven Van Hees - Flute Salad -SOMA fm

...This calamitous event urges us to look deeply and consider the condition of the human species. In Christianity the matter of why there is this kind of suffering has been raised over the ages. Why does God who created the world with all its species allow this suffering to take place? This has been a subject for theologians throughout time. In Buddhism we speak of Cause and Result. We say that we have to bear the consequences of our actions. Still, people ask: "How can children of 3 or 5 years old have done such evil acts that they have to lose their parents or their own lives?" How can we explain the law of Karma? Whether we are Christian or Buddhist this disaster poses questions to us. Christian believers ask: How can God who loves mankind allow things like this to happen?...

from: The Green Mountain Dharma Center and Maple Forest Monastery

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Secret Gnome Garden

Now Playing: Denny Mc Lain - Girl From Ipenema - Meditation

A secret gnome garden at the bottom of Wastwater has been blamed for the deaths of a number of divers. But police efforts to remove the gnomes have been thwarted as the underwater garden ornaments have been quickly replaced. Local divers say they have known about the collection for years. "It's a bit of a secret society among divers which no-one is meant to know about," said Paul Renucci, an experienced diver from Carlisle. But now the secret has been revealed. Divers from all over the country have been coming to Wastwater for years to visit the garden and have tried to keep it quiet. "I"ve seen around 40 gnomes down there but there must be more. They are all over Wastwater. The police's North West Regional Underwater Search Unit removed the gnomes, after they were blamed for attracting divers to the murky depths of the lake.

The gnome garden was created because there is very little to see in the lakes. It gives divers something to visit. Wastwater was probably chosen because it has the clearest water. When people see the gnomes they think they are hallucinating, he added. Other lakes also have unusual exhibits under the surface.

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The River and the Clouds

Now Playing: Yello - Pinball Cha Cha

Once upon a time there was a beautiful river finding her way among the hills, forests, and meadows. She began by being a joyful stream of water, a spring always dancing and singing as she ran down from the top of the mountain. She was very young at the time, and as she came to the lowland she slowed down. She was thinking about going to the ocean. As she grew up, she learned to look beautiful, winding gracefully among the hills and meadows.

One day she noticed the clouds within herself. Clouds of all sorts of colors and forms. She did nothing during these days but chase after clouds. She wanted to possess a cloud, to have one for herself. But clouds float and travel in the sky, and they are always changing their form. Sometimes they look like an overcoat, sometimes like a horse. Because of the nature of impermanence within the clouds, the river suffered very much. Her pleasure, her joy had become just chasing after clouds, one after another, but despair, anger,and hatred became her life.

Then one day a strong wind came and blew away all the clouds in the sky. The sky became completely empty. Our river thought that life was not worth living, for there were no longer any clouds to chase after. She wanted to die. "If there are no clouds, why should I be alive?" But how can a river take her own life?

That night the river had the opportunity to go back to herself for the first time. She had been running for so long after something outside of herself that she had never seen herself. That night was the first opportunity for her to hear her own crying, the sounds of water crashing against the banks of the river. Because she was able to listen to her own voice, she discovered something quite important.

She realized that what she had been looking for was already in herself. She found out that clouds are nothing but water. Clouds are born from water and will return to water. And she found out she herself was also water.

The next morning when the sun was in the sky, she discovered something beautiful. She saw the blue sky for the first time. She had never noticed it before. She had only been interested in clouds, and she had missed seeing the sky, which is the home of all the clouds. Clouds are impermanent, but the sky is stable. She realized that the immense sky had been within her heart since the very beginning. This great insight brought her peace and happiness. As she saw the vast wonderful blue sky, she knew that her peace and stability would never be lost again.

That afternoon the clouds returned, but this time she did not want to possess any of them. She could see the beauty of each cloud, and she was able to welcome all of them. When a cloud came by, she would greet him or her with loving-kindness. When the cloud wanted to go away, she would wave to him or her happily and with loving kindness. She realized that all clouds are her. She didn't have to choose between the clouds and herself. Peace and harmony existed between her and the clouds.

That evening something wonderful happened. When she opened her heart completely to the evening sky she received the image of the full moon - beautiful, round, like a jewel within herself. She had never imagined that she could receive such a beautiful image. There is a very beautiful poem in Chinese: "The fresh and beautiful moon is travelling in the utmost empty sky. When the mind-rivers of living beings are free, that image of the beautiful moon will reflect in each of us."

This was the mind of the river at that moment. She received the image of that beautiful moon within her heart, and water, clouds, and moon took each other's hands and practiced walking meditation slowly, slowly to the ocean.

There is nothing to chase after. We can go back to ourselves, enjoy our breathing, our smiling, ourselves, and our beautiful environment.

The River and the Clouds
by Thich Nhat Hanh

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14.2.05

Never fear shadows

Never fear shadows.
They simply mean
there's light somewhere near.

Ruth Renkle

Charlotte Joko Beck

Now Playing: Jazzmasters - Hearts Of Space - The Jazzmasters

With unfailing kindness
your life always presents
what you need to learn.

Charlotte Joko Beck
from: Tricycle, Summer 1998

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The main door

Now Playing: David Grisman Quintet - Barkley's Bug - Dawg A Nova

The main door into all buddhist work
is this one of impermanence or emptiness.
That doesn't mean---as we sometimes think---
that things aren't here, but that they aren't here
in the way we imagine they are.
We ourselves are not solid in that way;
we create notions of who we are out of
memory and various ideals, then exhaust
ourselves trying to maintain that image.
When the time finally comes that we can
let go of that, it is a tremendous relief.
And we have abundant energy for other things.

Larry Rosenberg
from "Breath by Breath: The Liberating Practice
of Insight Meditation" (Shambhala, 1993)


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12.2.05

Brain-washing a Poet To Become a United States Marine

Now Playing: Soul Ballet - Cream - dreamBeatdream

...Most didn’t know what a "rank" was. I sort of took my time because I was waiting for God to strike these poets of blasphemy down, but God didn’t bother. Instead, I was hit hard on the head by a pith helmet that belonged to Corporal Baker, as he yelled: "Move your goddamn mother-fucking ass, shitbird!"

The DIs arranged us in four lines according to height. Since I was only five feet, seven inches tall, a "feather merchant" in Marine Corps parlance, I ended up second from the end in the third rank.

"Tens-hut!" bellowed the corporal.

In five minutes I heard more profanity than I had heard in my entire life, and God did nothing about it! I was a Sunday school boy who had stumbled into hell!


"Platoon of fucking ducks," the sergeant roared. "Forward, march!"
We duck-walked until we came to rows of Quonset huts.
"Ducks, sound off!" the sergeant yelled.
"Quack! You fucking shitbirds," the corporal drawled. "Quack!"
Our quacking resounded against the corrugated metal of the Quonset huts. I wondered what hell I had gotten myself into, especially since the Marine Corps looked on individualism with disdain. I was one stubborn sonofabitch who would just have to learn to play their game. Since I always smiled at the wrong time, it was going to be interesting...

William White ~Brain-washing a Poet To Become a United States Marine, from: the Arkansas Literary Forum

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11.2.05

Joni Mitchell - In Her Own Words

Now Playing: beat blender - internet radio - deep house music

I was anti-intellectual to the max. Basically, I liked to dance and paint and that was about it. As far as serious discussions went, I found them boring. To see teenagers sitting around trying to solve the problems of the world, I figured, all things considered, I'd rather be dancing.

My husband was different. He had an education, a degree in literature. Chuck always said that you couldn't write unless you read. He considered me an illiterate, and he didn't give me a great deal of encouragement regarding my writing. But Tom Rush did. Tom would say, "Do you have any new songs?" I'd play him a batch and he'd say, "Any more?" I always held the ones out that I felt were too sensitive, or too feminine, and those would always be the ones he chose. Because of Tom, I began to get noticed.

from: Joni Mitchell - In Her Own Words

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William Ackerman

Now Playing: les filles de sainte-columbe - suite in a-minor

In 1884 a woman named Sarah L. Winchester, the heir to the Winchester rifle fortune, began building her house in San Jose, California. Sarah probably began crazy, but she got worse. Someone (probably the Gypsey wife of a particularly rapacious general contractor) told her that she would live forever if she kept building. Sarah did as she was told. The result was a structure containing 1,257 windows, 950 doors and 40 staircases which required 20,000 gallons of paint to cover. Windows opened to other windows which opened to yet other windows only to have a door appear outside of that. Staircases climbed floor after floor only to end at a door which opened to a seven-story fall. The Great San Francisco Earthquake toppled three stories of the place, reducing the building from seven stories to four. I doubt Sarah ever actually wielded a hammer herself, but I like to think of her brandishing a 32 oz. hammer over a 20 penny nail when she let out a gasp and died.

Sarah L. Winchester and I have much in common. While I do not share her delusion of immortality, I am nonetheless a compulsive builder...

from the website of William Ackerman, founder of Windham Hill records; an article in This Old House Magazine's April 2002 issue.

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The new song

Now Playing: Edie Brickell - Rush Around - Volcano

from Edie Brickell is pretty nice. Called "Rush Around," I heard it this morning on smoothjazz.com - which should give you an indication of it's 'style' - I suppose. It's certainly different from "What I Am", which was the beret-wearing-art-chick / honors-college-white-kid-with-dreds song last time I was taking classes.
doubt I'll buy the cd though...

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9.2.05

Milarepa

Just as fog is dispelled by the strength of the sun
and is dispelled no other way,
preconception is cleared by the strength of realization.
There's no other way of clearing preconceptions.
Experience them as baseless dreams.
Experience them as ephemeral bubbles.
Experience them as insubstantial rainbows.
Experience them as indivisible space.

preconceptions


"All worldly pursuits have but the one unavoidable end, which is sorrow: acquisitions end in dispersion; buildings in destruction; meetings in separation; births, in death. Knowing this, one should, from the very first, renounce acquisition and heaping up, and building, and meeting; and faithful to the commands of an eminent guru, set about realizing the Truth (which has no birth or death)."


"If you do not acquire contentment in yourselves,
Heaped-up accumulations will only enrich others.
If you do not obtain the light of Inner Peace,
Mere external ease and pleasure will become a source of pain.
If you do not suppress the Demon of Ambition,
Desire for fame will lead to ruin and to lawsuits"


"If you lose all differentiation between yourselves and others,
fit to serve others you will be.
And when in serving others you will win success,
then shall you meet with me;
And finding me, you shall attain to Buddhahood."


"Life is short and the time of death is uncertain; so apply yourself to meditation. Avoid doing evil, and acquire merit, to the best of your ability, even at the cost of life itself. In short: Act so that you have no cause to be ashamed of yourselves and hold fast to this rule"


"Maintain the state of undistractedness and distractions will fly off.
Dwell alone and you shall find a friend.
Take the lowest place and you shall reach the highest.
Hasten slowly and you will soon arrive.
Renounce all worldly goals and you shall reach the highest goal."

Milarepa

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TODAY

This day is a special day, it is yours.
Yesterday slipped away, it cannot be filled anymore with meaning.
About tomorrow nothing is known.
But this day, today, is yours, make use of it.
Today you can make someone happy.
Today you can help another.
This day is a special day, it is yours.

Indian Poem

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Refuge Prayer

At the foot of the Bodhi tree, beautifully seated, peaceful and smiling,the living source of understanding and compassion, to the Buddha I go for refuge.
The path of mindful living, leading to healing, joy, and enlightenment, the way of peace, to the Dhamma I go for refuge.
The loving and supportive community of practice, realizing harmony, awareness, and liberation, to the Sangha I go for refuge.
I am aware that the Three Gems are within my heart.
I vow to realize them.
I vow to practice mindful breathing and smiling, looking deeply into things.
I vow to understand living beings and their suffering, to cultivate compassion and loving kindness, and to practice joy and equanimity.
I vow to offer joy to one person in the morning and to help relieve the grief of one person in the afternoon.
I vow to live simply and sanely, content with just a few possessions, and to keep my body healthy.
I vow to let go of all worry and anxiety in order to be light and free.
I am aware that I owe so much to my parents, teachers, friends and all beings.
I vow to be worthy of their trust, to practice wholeheartedly, so that understanding and compassion will flower, and I can help living beings be free from their suffering.
May the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha support my efforts.

Thich Nhat-Hanh

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Kumari Devi

The selection of the Living Goddess is a highly elaborate tantric ritual. Upon passing the preliminary test, this is merely concerned with their 32 attributes of perfection, including the colour of her eyes, the shape of her teeth and the sound of her voice. Her horoscope must also be appropriate. The 4 to 7 year poor girls from the Sakya community are made to confront a goddess in the darkened room. The sight of the Buffalo heads scattered around, the demon- like masked dancers, the terrifying noises they encounter scare some of these innocent babies. The real goddess is unlikely to be frightened, so the one who is calm and collected throughout the tests is the only girl who is entitled to sit on the pedestal for worship as the Living Goddess. Then as a final test similar to that of the Dalai Lama, the Kumari then chooses items of clothing and decoration worn by her predecessor. The god-house Kumari Ghar is a store-house of magnificent intricate carvings where the Living Goddess performs her daily rituals. During her tenure in the god-house, Guthi Sansthan, the government trust fund bears her entire expenses including that of her caretakers. Under normal circumstances, her days in the god-house come to an end with her first menstruation, but if she turns out to be unlucky, as they say, even a minor scratch on her body that bleeds can make her invalid for worship. She then changes back to the status of normal mortal and the search of a new Kumari begins. It is said to be unlucky to marry an ex-Kumari.

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Virtual Ta Phrom

Ta Phrom is a temple in the jungles of Cambodia. It was built in the thirteenth century by Jajavarma VII. While other monuments in the Angkor region have been cleared of the encroaching jungle, Ta Phrom has been left as it was found by French explorers who rediscovered it in the nineteenth century. I spent two days there in 1993, mostly alone, roaming and photographing in splendid isolation.


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The Ram


March 21 to April 20

Traditional Aries Traits

Adventurous and energetic
Pioneering and courageous
Enthusiastic and confident
Dynamic and quick-witted

On the dark side...

Selfish and quick-tempered
Impulsive and impatient
Foolhardy and daredevil


yeeaaahh boy-eeeee....

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8.2.05

words

And down in the ocean where nobody goes
Some fish are fast Some are slow
Some swim round the world Some hide below
This is the ocean So deep So old.

from: Laurie Anderson, My Eyes Strange Angels

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audible frequency

Audioblog

This page features a clip of a squirrel 'sound' I've heard lots -- usually passing it off as a hawk, or other bird.

via~ ottmar liebert

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7.2.05

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

now playing: ottmar liebert -twilight rain - nouveaumatic

A Guide to the Galaxy with Video and Audio Clips

at the BBC Online

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Conch

"Jiya lived in the last house in the row of houses toward the ocean, and his house did not have a window toward the sea either.
'Why not?' Kino asked him. 'The sea is beautiful.'
'The sea is our enemy,’ Jiya replied.
'How can you say that?’ Kino asked. 'Your father catches fish from the sea and sells them and that is how you live.'
Jiya only shook his head. 'The sea is our enemy,' he repeated. 'We all know it is.'"

Pearl S. Buck
The Big Wave

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4.2.05

Thomas Merton

Now Playing: Eighteenth Street Lounge - Stereo Action Unlimited - Hi-f

Violence is essentially wordless, and it can begin only where thought and rational communication have broken down. Any society which is geared for violent action is by that very fact systematically unreasonable and inarticulate. Thought is not encouraged and the exchange of ideas is eschewed as filled with all manner of risk. Words are kept at a minimum, at least as far as their variety and content may be concerned, though they may pour over the armed multitude in cataracts: they are simply organized and inarticulate noise destined to arrest thought and release violence, inhibiting all desire to communicate with the enemy in any other way than by destructive impact.

Thomas Merton
from "Ghandi and the One-Eyed Giant," 1964


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from the Dhammapada

How can a troubled mind
Understand the way?

Your worst enemy cannot harm you
As much as your own thoughts, unguarded.

But once mastered,
No one can help you as much,
Not even your father or your mother.

The Buddha
from the Dhammapada

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Broken and broken

Broken and broken
again on the sea, the moon
so easily mends

Chosu

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3.2.05

Flamenco and the Gypsies

Flamenco is the music of the Spanish Gypsies. In its art form, it is similar in complexity to Indian or North African music. Flamenco guitar, as an instrument of accompaniment, has evolved into many different styles, like the cante itself -- some particular to an individual, some particular to a town or province in Andalucia.

Steve Kahn Photography, Flamenco and the Gypsies

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Jizos for Peace

Now Playing: Ottmar Liebert - Snakecharmer Remix - Nouveaumatic

August 6 and 9, 2005 will be the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombing in Japan. In memory of the thousands of people who died during and after the catastrophe, we intend to take 270,000 hand-drawn images of Jizo to Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

You can easily draw your own panel(s) or join with friends and make several panels together. We'll provide you with instructions and, if you like, the art supplies. We will sew the panels into banners or prayer flags and take them to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

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2.2.05

Empty-handed

Now Playing: Boozoo Bajou - Under My Sensi - Les Demon Flo

Empty-handed I entered this world
Barefoot I leave it.
My coming, my going--
Two simple happenings
That got entangled.

Kozan Ichikyo

from "Japanese Death Poems: Written by
Zen Monks and Haiku Poets on the Verge of Death"
(Charles E. Tuttle Co.)


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When my master and I

When my master and I
were walking in the rain,
he would say,
"Do not walk so fast,
the rain is everywhere."

Shunryu Suzuki Roshi

from "Crooked Cucumber:
The Life and Teaching of Shunryu Suzuki,"
by David Chadwick (Broadway Books)

If you want to know what you did

If you want to know what you did
in your past life,
observe your present condition;
if you want to know what your
future condition will be,
observe your present actions.

The Buddha

Please don't hurt others

Please don't hurt others...
Please try to work with people and be
helpful to them. A fantastically
large number of people need help.
please try to help them, for goodness sake,
for heaven and earth.
Don't just collect Oriental wisdoms
one after the other. Don't just sit on an
empty zafu, an empty meditation cushion.
But go out and try to help others, if you can.
That is the main point... Your help doesn't
have to be a big deal. To begin with, just work
with your friends and work with yourself
at the same time. It is about time we became
responsible for this world.
It will pay for itself.

Chogyam Trungpa,

from "Great Eastern Sun:
The Wisdom of Shambhala"

pay close attention

We need to pay close attention and be aware of our body and its actions, of our speech and what we say, and of our hearts and minds, and what we think and feel. We must be on the lookout for the slightest negativity and keep asking ourselves such questions as, "Am I happier when my thoughts and emotions are negative and destructive or when they are wholesome?" "What is the nature of consciousness? Does it exist in and of itself, or does it exist in dependence on other factors?" We need to think, think, think. We should be like a scientist who collects data, analyzes it, and draws the appropriate conclusion. Gaining insight into our own negativity is a lifelong task, and one which is capable of almost infinite refinement. But unless we undertake it, we will be unable to see where to make the necessary changes in our life."

His Holiness The Dalai Lama

from "Ethics For the New Millennium," page 91
(Riverhead Books of Penguin Putnam, 1999)

Are you enjoying it?

While our consciousness is clear or under control, why not assist ourselves and others to enjoy life? What does enjoyment mean? We generally think we enjoy such occasions as a delicious meal with drinks. When asked about enjoyment, a man generally thinks of enjoying time with a woman, and a woman enjoys time with a man, or a man with a man, or a woman with a woman. But when we eat or drink too much we suffer. Interesting, isn't it?

One of my teachers kept saying over and over to me, "Are you enjoying it?" I thought he was dumb in always asking this question without saying what it was. When I was growing up, I had a close, caring relationship with my grandmother. When she died, the teacher intentionally came to me and asked me, "Are you enjoying it?"

I said, "I'm sad. I'm not enjoying it."

He smiled gently and said, "Sad, yes. And yet, are you enjoying it?"

I can still hear his voice.

Sensei Ogui

p. 132 in "Zen Shin Talks"
Zen Shin Buddhist Publications, 1998

Teach us

Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still.

T.S. Eliot

Stopping

"Stopping" is the basic practice of meditation. To keep our flowerness fresh, we have to learn how to stop our worries, anxieties, agitation and sadness so that we can find peace and happiness and smile again. When things are not going well, it is good to stop in order to prevent the unpleasant, destructive energies from continuing.

Stopping does not mean repressing; it means, first of all, calming. If we want the ocean to be calm, we don't throw away its water. Without the water, nothing is left. When we notice the presence of anger, fear and agitation in us, we don't need to throw them away. We only have to breathe in and out consciously, and that alone is enough to calm the storm. We do not need to wait for a storm to begin to practice. When we are not suffering, conscious breathing will make us feel wonderful, and it is the best way to prepare ourselves to deal with troubles when they come.

Thich Nhat Hanh

from p. 13 in "Touching Peace:
Practicing the Art of Mindful Living"
Parallax Press 1992

places of peace and power

The Sacred Site Pilgrimage of Martin Gray

Martin Gray is an anthropologist and photographer specializing in the study of sacred sites and pilgrimage traditions around the world. Traveling as a pilgrim, Martin spent twenty years, visiting and photographing over 1000 sacred sites in eighty countries ... This web site discusses Martin's pilgrimage journeys, features many of his photographs and writings...


via: fotozen

Quote

Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.
-- Pascal

Quote

When we talk about gaining the perfect wisdom of a buddha, we should not think that we need to create qualities in ourselves that are not there already, and aquire them from somewhere outside of us. Rather, we should see perfect buddha wisdom as a potential that is being realized.

The defilements of the mind hamper the natural expression of that potential which is inherent in consciousness. It is as if the capacity for unobstructed knowledge is there in our mind, but the defilements obscure and hinder it from being fully developed and expressed.

-- H.H. The Dalai Lama
from "The Four Noble Truths" (Thorsons 1977)

Zeitgeist

Of course, I'm pretty easy to please, but I really am enjoying the flickr zeitgeist dod-dad to the left. The standard setting is to show every picture ever downloaded to Flicker. Admittedly, I do feel a bit like a stalker, as I have it set to show contacts only, and have several sets from people/contacts (that I don't know from Adam, but do take lovely pictures of the world. To you people, thank you for your photography.) that appear at random. A cup of tea, an old fashioned lava lamp, some ambient music on the speakers and I can sit and watch the photos come and go quite peacefully... nice add-on in a world of webpage add-on junk. 5 stars, A+'s -- all that.

street meme

"street meme": a sticker, stencil, or poster that can spread a single image around the world. Unlike traditional graffiti art where each piece is unique, street memes can be copied repeatedly, taking on a life of their own, and spreading through the collective effort of people scattered around the world.

1.2.05

four lines

Now Playing: Kid Loco - La Seduzione

thus shall you think of all this fleeting world:
a star at dawn, a bubble in a stream:
a flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
a flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream

vajrachchedika

Shunga

In these examples of Japanese shunga we see a great variety of lovemaking techniques, situations, positions and possibilities. Whether heterosexual or homosexual, the diversity of sexual behaviors expressed within this artform offer a glimpse of the sexual freedoms available in previous eras and cultures.
Erotic art has been produced in Japan, China, India and most Asian cultures for centuries. The tradition of the shunga painting began in the 7th or 8th century and the ukiyo-e woodblock print in the late 17th century. They reached their creative heights in the 18th century and then began to deteriorate in the late 19th century as more and more Western influence became apparent in Japanese government, law and ritual. By the beginning of the 20th century much of the production of shunga material was driven underground, while what was still produced was increasingly intended for a growing European audience. As Western printing techniques and materials (such as aniline dyes) were introduced to Japan in the 1850s, much of the delicacy of color and line was abandoned in favor of the comparatively bright colored and heavy lined art of the West.


Some of these scenes are infused with passion in a way unimaginable in Western art. The concentration on this pleasurable physical exercise is so intense that faces and limbs become contorted in ecstasy. Very often it seems that every object present in these scenes bristles with this sexual excitement. The bonsai trees take on the suggestion of the male’s stout penis, the silk robes repeat the curves and undulation of the female’s vagina.



shunga

Revenge of the Right Brain

Beneath the nervous clatter of our half-completed decade stirs a slow but seismic shift. The Information Age we all prepared for is ending. Rising in its place is what I call the Conceptual Age, an era in which mastery of abilities that we've often overlooked and undervalued marks the fault line between who gets ahead and who falls behind.

via~ ottmar liebert