Showing posts from 2011


Good Morning All,

This morning I would like to talk about the coming year. I have posted the retreat schedule on the Clear Mind Zen website. We have made some adjustments to our retreat schedules to accommodate to our Sangha’s needs. All of our intensives will begin at 8:00 AM and close at 5:00 PM. These will be either one day or five day retreats and oryoki lunch is included. We will ask for $15.00 per day as a donation to assist us in covering our expenses and we ask that these be offered in advance.

Private interviews are to be conducted either at my residence or at the Zendo. My Jiisha, Rev. Soku Shin will be responsible for scheduling private interviews with me. Her email address is Dana to the teacher is part of our practice of generosity and is greatly appreciated. A bowl is provided.

As this year unfolds I will be focusing much of my attention on my own engaged practice. I have asked Rev. Dai Shugyo to help create a file of practice opportunities,…



The Buddha once said, “Let us rise up and be thankful for if we didn’t learn a lot today at least we learned a little. And if we didn’t learn a little at least we didn’t get sick, and if we didn’t get sick, at least we didn’t die; so let us all be thankful.”

Just as the Buddha, we often associate gratitude with thankfulness. The word gratitude comes from the Latin, gratis, which interestingly enough, means pleasing. I know when I am aware of feeling gratitude, it feels warm and fuzzy inside. I feel it in my chest and face. It is feeling as though I have been given a warm blanket against a cold night. It is, indeed, pleasing.

Studies of gratitude suggest that with an increase in our sense of gratitude comes an increase in our sense of well-being. Gratitude has been associated with improved mental health, improved personal relationships, increased personal growth and positive self-acceptance.

Having a sense of gratitude means that we have been open to receiving a gift. Mor…

Unification Rag

Good Morning All,

Last night was an exercise in practice. I had been working on a new painting and almost had it when I just could not go on… Kathryn and I did what we do and finally went to bed. All of a sudden at 2:30 AM, Suki and Binky were jumping up and down wanting desperately to go out. So, out we went. Cold and wet and dark they were in 7th Puppy Heaven. I, on the other hand, was in the Hell Realms.

After they did what they do, we came in and slipped into the studio where my work was waiting. A stroke here, a stroke there and the painting was painting itself. Meanwhile Suki and Binky were sound asleep on the sofa. So it goes.

At 7:30 we are now up, it is late, I finished the painting, am sipping my coffee, and am about to take the Pups out for a walk before going to the Zendo. Such is life. Hell and Heaven are simply the names we give to the relationships before us. When opposed to it: hell. When entering it: heaven. May we all practice the unification rag.

Be well.

Big Brother Actually Wears A Smiley Face

Good Morning All,

Big Brother Actually Wears A Smiley Face

If I were a member of the elite, I would not want to make sweeping changes to meet my needs, nor would I make changes dark and frightening. I would make them slow and nearly imperceptible, a little at a time, and always with your best interests on my face. I would make my needs your needs. I would make your fears my fears.

You might then say, “Oh, it’s not so bad.” Or you might defend me saying, “We really need to protect ourselves from ‘X’ so if we do ‘Y’ it won’t be as bad as ‘Z’.” Yes, and I would frame all the tiny little ‘Ys’ as nearly harmless and put little happy faces on them all. Much like using Happy Meals® with toys to make fast food not only OK, but downright desirable and affordable.

Yes, if I were an elite, I would be smiling pretty broadly as I go to the bank with bags of money noticing how everyone seems to be thinking maybe sometime it will be their turn to do the same, all the while knowing I have imperce…

Brad Warner

Good Morning All,

We are excited! Brad Warner has agreed to come to Las Cruces to spend some time with us. I spoke with him the other day and we agreed he will do a talk in El Paso, Deming, and Las Cruces. We will host him at our residence. The dates are March 9th through the 11th.

For those uniformed, Brad Warner received dharma transmission from Nishijima roshi in Japan while he lived, studied, and worked there. Brad has written four books: Hardcore Zen, Sit Down and Shut Up, Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate, and Sin, Sex, and Zen. He has also edited with Nishijima-roshi a translation and commentary of the Fundamental Wisdom of the Way by Nagarjuna. He hosts the blog, Hardcore Zen, and is featured in an interview in this month’s Tricycle magazine. Brad is always refreshing.

We would like this visit to be a practice driven event and not just a public talk. So, each center, we are asking that we coordinate a practice period with a dharma talk by Brad Warner. In addition, we …


Good Morning All,

This morning I am ashamed to say that I lost my patience with someone on the Tricycle Community last night. I spent a good deal of time after I deleted both his and my comments thinking about what had happened. My conclusion is that I didn’t exercise good judgment and that I let the fever of concern regarding the political issues of the day cloud my heart/mind. In the end, the man referred to me as a “pathetic old man.” This sort of stuck. I rather think he was right-on.

In any event, I happened to have a review copy of a new book sent to me by Tarcher/Penguin entitled, “Patience: the Art of Peaceful Living,” by Allan Lokos.($14.95, paperback). So, I began reading. The book is an excellent study on the practice of patience, something I am apparently not as good at as I had assumed.

Lokos says, “…the development of genuine patience requires introspection over time so that we can come to the root causes of our impatience” (p. 21). Yes, agreed. So, I began to consider…

The Sand

Good Morning Y'all,

It is 0'Dark-Thirty here in New Mexico and we are awake sipping coffee and reading the news. I see that our Senate passed legislation allowing the US Military to arrest and indefinately detain US citizens without trial. Is it time to pull our heads out of ther friggin' sand yet?

I wrote a letter to our President and to my senator for all the good it will do. There is just something wrong with this legislatiuon and the irony is it was signed on the annual celebration of the signing of the Bill of Rights to our Constitution.

Here's the thing, suppose we gave another war. Suppose we are in severe economoc hardship. Lots of people out of work with little real hope. Suppose we have a population who cannot read much more than the instructions on how to operate a video game or turn on a big screen TV and who is mesmerized by the fundies in Black & White Churches who support capitalism to the brink. But their congregants can no longer afford to shop…

The Self: is it real?

With respect to all,

a preliminary exploration:

I have heard Buddhists argue there is no “self.” They argue that mental activity and the constructs derived thereby are an "illusion.” Not so. They confuse the Sanskrit Anatman, translated as “no-self” with no self, as is understood in contemporary English, but in fact these are two different things. The Buddha’s teaching on Anatman was directed at dispelling the idea that there was an independent “self,” or “soul” that might transmigrate. It was the springboard for his discussions of dependent co-arising, that frame that says everything is deeply interconnected and inter-dependent. He also tried to separate the material from the ideal, which is to say that our idea of something is our idea of something and that we ought not confuse the idea of something with the thing itself. But to say this does not deny the existence of the idea, only that idea and material are separate. So, if we say the self is an aggregate and it is impermane…

Outside Lessons

Good Morning All,

The sky is gray, overcast with wet clouds hung low and the air is cold and damp. I do not really want to go outside, but the dogs think otherwise. For them, weather is never really a factor (other than snow, which they initially love, but which quickly turns to serious discomfort as their feet get cold). Rain and damp mist? No problem! The scents abound for their noses to enjoy. What do they care if the humans they are walking are miserable as they follow along behind them? So, in a little bit we will tether them to our hands and go out the door for them to play. Oh joy.

I am happy that we have our dogs, Suki and Binky. They demand that we live. Their walks are important to them and to us as they force us to get a grip, get dressed, and go out even if we don’t feel like it or that it might be unpleasant to do so. And, you know what? it is almost always a very good thing. Along the way we begin to feel better, more alive, more awake, more….present in the actual world…


I shave my head that I may

See how by freeing

Myself from attachments

I am released from suffering.

Thus I begin this morning's activity at 4:00 AM.

Next is washing my face, then brushing my teeth, then putting on my robe, then taking my seat in the Zendo. Of course there are a variety of other chants and practices done before, during, and after each of these, but in the main, mine is a simple, straightforward life of coming to attention.

This is Rohatsu and I take it very seriously. It is the culmination of my year of practice and I dedicate myself to doing it with great diligence.

In our tradition, we just sit. But this "just sitting" is not at all about simply folding one's legs and facing a wall. It is far more than that. Just sitting is all encompasing, pervasive, and foundational Buddha Nature made manifest through our relentless activity of just sitting. It is, as Master Dogen refers to it, jijuyu zanmai, the self creating and living out the self wholeheart…


Good Morning Everyone,

Over the last few days I have given some thought to operations at the Order of Clear Mind Zen. We are lacking a few things organizationally and I am moving to address them. First, I have asked Shelley Tenborin to become our Public Relations person. She will handle all media on our behalf which will include press releases and our minimal advertising. Second, I have asked Rev. Soku Shin to once again act as my executive assistant. She will handle my calendar. If you wish to see me, please call or email her directly. Third, the appropriate venue for asking questions about your practice is in private interview with me. Please, if you have a concern about your practice, make an appointment through Rev. Soku Shin to speak to me. Her phone is: 644-8673. Her email is:

There is some confusion about our hours. I ordered cards before we decided to change our practice times to 10:00 AM Monday through Friday. So here is the Temple’s schedule:


Cold and Warm

This morning comes

whether I like it or not,

and how I face it

is up to me.

The cold wet air

finds a place to rest

on my cheek

and is warmed

by the blood

flowing through my veins.

We resist each other

Or we care for each other.

May my heart/mind embrace them both.

Be well.


Good Morning Everyone,

Yesterday afternoon we met with the director of Holloman Air Force Base’s Outdoor Recreation program. They have a resiliency project intended to help airmen deal with the stress of deployment. Rev. Soku Shin and I have volunteered to offer a contemplative practices piece in this project.

It is always interesting to me to see my response to being on a military installation. I am at first pleased to see so many young faces engaged in service to their country. This is followed by remembrances of how my own young face aged so during combat and after when I was one of them.

Resiliency, like endurance, doesn’t come without cost. All of us today are encountering these costs. The prices of gasoline, heating oil, food, and medical care paired against tighter credit, lack of insurance, lower wages, and fewer and fewer meaningful and productive jobs: these are the everyday bells of mindfulness demanding our adaptation in today’s world. Are we taught how to encounter and…

Nothing to Say

Good Morning Everyone,

This morning I look at the blank screen of my notebook and see the blinking curser. More deeply, I see there is nothing to say that will help you. So I think I won’t say a word. Instead, I will invite you to practice Zazen with us on Sunday at 10:00 AM. I will invite you to practice with us each weekday morning at 10:00 AM. I will invite you to practice at home as you can.

Be well.

Rohatsu Sesshin

Good Morning Everyone,

Our Rohatsu Sesshin begins Tuesday (the 6th) at 10:00 AM and closes Saturday (the 10th) at 2:00 PM. I have included the schedule below. We have decided to try something new and allow participants to enter and leave sesshin through the week. This will allow participants to come at certain hours through each day if they have the time for practice. We have created a schedule that is in two hour blocks with ample break time where a person may go home to check on pets, etc. This is a very flexible schedule and sesshin orientation designed to maximize the potential for participation. Rev. Tamra Kobusshin, Rev. Soku Shin, and myself will participate during the entire week. Rev. Bobby Kankin Byrd will join us on Thursday. Please consider joining us during the week.

Opening Day

10:00 – 12:00 Opening Ceremony, Recite Three Refuges, the Heart Sutra, Tea Service, Teisho, Zazen 3@25

12:00 –01:00 Lunch

01:00 – 02:00 Break

02:00 – 04:00 Zazen 4@25

04:00 – 05:00 Samu

05:00 …

SWAT: Just what we need to feel safe and secure

Just read this about a militarized police force who feels it was justified to spray over 70 bullets in a home, 22 hitting the target, when they knew he was an employed man annd could have arrested him at work. Enough.

Cracking Open the Heart

Good Morning Everyone,

Something happened this morning . I was writing a reply to a comment on the Tricycle blog when, as I was sharing the back-story with Soku Shin, the reply itself was lost. I felt a real sense of loss, as I know that I will not be able to re-capture the thing. It’s not the words, you see, it’s the gestalt in the moment of producing the words that cannot be re-captured. I must be careful today not to allow this loss to infiltrate my perception. To do this I am going back into the sense of it now.

The theme of the reply was to an Open Heart. Open Hearts require strength. They require authenticity of their own. To be an Open Heart I must be willing to expose my heart to the suffering, anger, and hurt of others, whether those feelings are directed elsewhere or toward me.

Open Hearts require a relentless practice. A practice that involves going inside with hammer and pick to fearlessly chip away at all the walls I have built to protect myself, while calling those wa…


Good Morning Everyone,

“Spiritual” is a word commonly associated with religous belief and practice. I often say, from my friend Claude Anshin Thomas, Zen is a disciplined spiritual practice. Often people will refer to themselves not as “religious,” but as “spiritual.” In a class I taught for several semesters at the Academy for Jewish Learning, I used a text entitled, Jewish Spirituality, and most students seemed more comfortable with this reference to themselves than as religious people. Because Zen is often not thought of as a religion, it is usually relegated to the “Eastern Philosophy” sections or the “New Age” sections in bookstores, likewise in people’s minds. Clearly, Zen is not something we can easily put in a box, thank goodness.

What does it mean when we use the term, “spiritual”? Especially when posing it as a counter-point to “religious”? Our friend, Brad Warner, goes to lengths in his books, especially, “Sex, Sin, and Zen” to distance Zen from “spirituality” altogether…

Open Heart

Good Morning Everyone,

The season is upon us. A season of introspection and manifestation of good will. Every year I hope this season’s underlying feeling will spread out like a warm and loving pool supporting each of us with compassion and generosity through the year. My sense is this is exactly what is happening, although sometimes the subtle nature of the pool is difficult to see. Let’s endeavor to bring our heart out into the open not only this year, but the next, and the next after that.

Be well.

Happy Thanksgiving Y'all

Dear Readers,

Thank you very much for visiting my blog and taking the time to read my notes.  I am deeply thankful to you as only readers make a writer a writer.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Is Buddhism a Religion?

Good Morning Everyone,

This morning I would like to address the word “religion.” Religion is a word that is like an intersection with many avenues for discussion. What does it mean to be “religious”? Some say they are “spiritual” rather than “religious.” Are “spiritual” and “religious” synonymous? Are they different? In what ways? Is Buddhism (or the Buddha Way) a religion? Is it a spiritual practice?

The Oxford English Dictionary says religion is derived from Latin roots which meant “bond,” “scruple” and “reverence.” So, the first definition of religion from the OED is, “a state of life bound by religious vows, the condition of belonging to a religious order.” The second definition suggests it means “a particular religious order or rule.” The third definition (and the most challenging): “Belief in or sensing of some superhuman controlling power or powers entitled to obedience, reverence, and worship, or a system defining a code of living as a means to achieve spiritual or material…

Enough Already

Good Morning Everyone,

This morning I read a piece by a professor at UC-Davis in response to the savage pepper spraying of peaceful demonstrators on campus. It was heartening to see a voice rise up, as if in the wilderness, to say, “You know what? Enough!” His point was that we are reaping the rewards of a gradual, but escalating militarization of urban police forces. Our language has been one driver of this with phrases like, “War on Drugs,” “War on Terror,” “War on Poverty.” For goodness’ sake, to listen to us, it’s all we know how to do. So when people get fed-up with the 1% getting richer and richer while crying “poor me” at every effort to balance things out a bit, and decide to say “Enough!” using one of the few methods they have, peaceful demonstration, we now see a war on demonstrators.

Here’s the thing, it seems to me that we are on the edge as a civilization, moving ever closer to a collapse. What has made it possible for the 99% to stay satisfied was the existence of sto…

On Religion

Good Morning Everyone,

As is sometimes the case, especially on a certain “Buddhist” website, my words create a bit of a irksome response. I posted my note on “Self” sometime ago. It and the follow-up note, “Blog” created a small stir. Some of us coming to Buddhism seem to think that this way will result in a state of peacefulness and serenity undisturbed by discord, words, or thoughts. Not so.

Some Masters have taught that silence is the way, that when we speak we make a big mistake. This is so in some ways, but not in others. The Buddha taught that we are not only wasting our time discussing ideas about something, but that such discussions themselves are an actual hindrance. This is so, but again, I think in a rather narrow context. When Masters say such things I think they are more often than not referring to achieving an aim of realization. When we are in a sociologically homogeneous group this is so. To get to homogeneity, however, we must discuss terms, compare and contrast pr…

The Self, part two

Good Morning Everyone,

The Self, part two,

Discussions of “the self” lead us too often in the wrong direction, the direction of the individual, as if the individual actually exists. When we practice deeply we can see that individuals are actually not individuals, but are rather aggregates of a deeply interconnected and interdependent whole. Care must be taken here, however, as even this is misleading: when we reside in the “whole” or “Universal,” the “Universal” itself is rendered meaningless.

One aim of practice, then, is to penetrate this. This is the place of “mind and body fall away.” With no mind and no body, there is no individual, but no universal either. Relative and absolute depend on each other, just as black needs white to render meaning to itself.

So, when we address “self” we should look outward from our individualistic view and attempt to see the vast, living web of complete existence. This is the true self, the self without a name, the self that existed before our fat…


Good Morning Everyone,

So, I have decided to use my blog as a true “blog” (web log), an electronic journaling device of sorts. My teaching as a priest will be offered at the Temple and online through and our Order’s Yahoogroup, “ClearMindZen.” This raises interesting questions as I will, if it is at all really possible, take off my priest’s hat as I both write entries and reply to comments. One such question is how to address morally and ethically ambiguous thoughts and feelings? Another is how much to reveal of my actual life? Still another is what to do with obnoxious, insulting, or attacking comments?

As a priest, I have an obligation to use myself as a teacher or advisor. I should try to understand and contextualize the thoughts and feelings of those addressing me no matter how crude, rude, or abrasive. I have to one degree or another been successful at this, but always have felt inauthentic in the process. It’s as if I have thought priests should not be angry or hu…

Self, part one

Good Morning Everyone,

Lately in dokusan and other venues, people are asking me about “the self.” What is “the self”? From my point of view, self is an incredibly complex tapestry in constant millisecond to millisecond development. If we were to freeze it, which we cannot, we would see billions of interactions processed from birth to the present moment from billions of sources all intersecting in the mind, which frames the whole as “self.” All perception from every sense organ in every moment throughout every contact with every object of the senses builds this “frame” we call “self.” Since we cannot “freeze” it, it is, itself, in constant transformation with both the interior environment of our mind, and the exterior environment of our perception of the universe.

This construction is so complex we cannot predict human behavior with any real degree of certainty. The most sophisticated regression analyses with thousands of variables, may yield a few degrees of explanation, leaving th…

The Measure of Things

Good Morning Everyone,

This morning we practice Zazen at 10:00 AM and again at 6:00 PM. We follow evening Zazen with Zen 101, our continuing study of the Bendowa. I am pleased. Today will be a day of practice and study. It is always good to fall deeply into study, whether it is of a book or of ourselves. In the end, both intersect and we find change is at the center of it all.

Yesterday we bought a fire pit. I tried to put it together. It had four legs which were to attach to a large metal bowl. The trouble was it was machined poorly and three of the four leg’s screw holes did not match up with the legs themselves. I spent considerable time attempting to adjust the legs this way and that, but to no avail. I suppose we will return it today, but I thought I would first ask the people at the store to try to put it together for me. But then I decided this would be cruel and, after all, the store clerks didn’t machine the thing anyway. This is happening more and more frequently it seems …


Good Morning Everyone,

There is no escaping the effects of our causes. Green houses gasses are at record highs. Capitalism’s churches of Greed and the American Way are shouting, “Let them eat cake!” as we bob in a sea of rising prices and diminishing wages. A perfect storm is brewing. There will come a time, fast approaching I suspect, when the distractions will no longer distract and the bubbles will no longer appeal and we will be left with ourselves sitting on the floor (if we have one) with nothing left to do.

May own sense is that the planet itself will cause an adjustment. If we do not stop emissions, do not stop warming the planet, the planet itself will stop us. Our planet could care less if we exist on its surface. It simply does what it does within its biophysical parameters. In the process, if there are conditions for human life, human life will exist: if there are no conditions for human life, human life will not exist.

At such moments human history suggests both scapeg…


Good Morning Everyone,

Zazenkai was a challenge yesterday. Rev. Kobusshin (Tamra) and I travelled to Anthony, NM to offer meditation training to young Peace Campers there, and while gone, Zensters at the Temple practiced Zazen, did Samu, and ate Oryoki lunch. I spent most of my Zazen time in the foyer-turned-Buddha Hall-dokusan room. While there, I heard the murmurings from the kitchen, sat through breaks, and listened to my heart speak to me.

Several folks left before the close. Intensive practice is wearing on our bodies, especially if we do not have a daily practice. One cannot expect to run 26.2 miles without having first run one, then two, then three, then five on a regular and incremental schedule. The benefits of intensive practice are enormous, however, so the building of our stamina is essential.

One of the things that “worked,” I understand, was Rev. Kobusshin’s introduction of contemplative yoga practice after lunch. We have eliminated study and writing practice periods …


Good Morning Everyone,

Today we will practice wholeheartedly throughout the day. This Zazenkai should not be any different from any other day. The life of a bodhisattva is a life of living Zazen. We live our lives in practice. This means we live in the Great Outdoors, life outside the box of filtered perception. Open your heart/mind, take a breath, and thoroughly enjoy this actual moment: it is the universe itself. Be well.


Good Morning Everyone,

(Warning: rant follows)

So, we get a call from Jerry at the Mountain Music store. He has a drum set I can buy for $250.00, “Come look at it.” We do. It is delightful. A bass drum, chain foot pedal, snare drum, floor tom, and a mounted tom. It includes a floor cymbal with stand, a hi-hat stand with cymbals, and a drummer’s seat. They are made by “Peace” percussions so “Peace” is writ large across the front of the bass. We say they are beautiful. He says, “Take them.” Adding, “Pay me when you can.”

There is something about Vietnam veterans, combat vets in particular. He says we are “brothers.” I feel this. The man was a door gunner. One of the more brutal jobs in Vietnam. I was a grunt. Brutal enough. I cannot put my finger on the what of it, but what I felt was a deep connection with someone I didn’t know, but knew a whole lot about.

Combat vets are a little loosey goosey we might say. We do not abide by manuals well, nor do we appreciate crap. It is said that…

Bodhisattvas are Everywhere

Good Morning Everyone,

Yesterday for the first time in more than 40 years I picked up a pair of drum sticks. It was a moment that terrified me on the one hand and made my heart feel warm, on the other hand. It seems I used to be a drummer in my teens, but being shot in the head changes everything. Anyway, we found ourselves at Mountain Music, a small used musical instrument shop in Las Cruces. There we met a Vietnam vet named Jerry. As we walked through the pulled high drums, I pulled a pair of old, used drumsticks from a cowboy boot and clutched one in my atrophied left hand holding it firmly on a snare drum. Some old folks were jamming with guitars in a corner and I quietly kept the beat with them. Jerry must have approved as he gave me the pair of drumsticks as we began to leave the store. Maybe I will duct tape the stick into my hand. Maybe I will just do what I can. Jerry promised to find me a used drum set we could afford. Bodhisattvas of compassion are everywhere. Be well

News for 11/2/11

With respect, Good Morning Everyone,

Our water has been turned off at the temple due to our landload not paying the water bill :( So, we will not be open today. We will check on the water's status later today and let you know what's up.

We have created an online Blog Radio talkshow called "Zen Living" and our first "episode" is schduled for 1:00 PM MT. We will talk about Zen 101. The show is only 15 minutes long as we are not purchasing a "premium" account. We are setting up this show to repeat weekly at the same time. People can call in and we will send out information on Monday morning about how to do that.

Other news, we will represent our Order at a local interfaith religious conference tomorrow evening at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Cathedral from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM in support of an effort to stop the flood of foreclosures in our area.

It was good to see everyone last night at Zen 101! Thank you so much for coming and we look forward to se…


With palms together,

Good Morning Everyone,

Goodness, it is Halloween already. I cannot believe how quickly time seems to be passing. It seems as we age this is what happens. I remember as a child I could not wait for “X” and it seemed as though time was like a pole I had to climb and as I put one hand in front of another, it stretched on up just out of reach. Today, for me, that pole seems greased and slippery and I am sliding down far too quickly. I am confessing here that I do not want to get to the bottom of that pole. Why?

It is not that I fear the end of the pole. The pole never really ends. Its more that I want to slow the fall and live as fully as possible along every inch of the way. When time slips by it means I have not been awake to the experience of each moment. That is the problem with reverie, isn’t it? When holding on to the past or seeking the future we fail the moment. Moments are far too precious to not experience.

So, today, I vow to wake up to each and every m…

Day of the Dead

With palms together,

Good Morning Everyone,

Our dogs are playing with their “Big Dog Bones” and enjoying the cold morning air here in the desert. We have not yet turned on the heat in the house. It seems, like the dogs, we both enjoy the chill. Yesterday we hung out in the plaza with the Day of the Dead memorials. We were going to set up an altar but at the last minute changed our minds. We will set up an altar next year with Jizo Bodhisattva leading the way.

Jizo is a wonderful bodhisattva. He represents that aspect of us which protects and nurtures expectant mothers, children who died as a result of miscarriage, abandonment and abuse, as well as travelers and firemen. He is the bodhisattva who vows never to enter nirvana until all “hell-beings” are awakened and set free.

I think it is important to recognize that the Hell Realms and the Hungry Ghosts are just us in this place at this moment if we are grasping for, and attaching to, any ideas of gain, self, and awakening. To free ou…


With palms together,

Good Morning Everyone,

The sun is not yet awake in this part of the world, although I have faith that the burning globe will seem to rise over the mountains in the east and spread its warmth out over all of us. Our perception is simply not to be trusted. We think the earth is spinning around the sun and the sun is spinning around in the galaxy and the galaxy is spinning around in the universe, but that spinning itself is just a result of our perception, which is to say, how our brain functions. Spinning is an artifact of our perception. It only is because we see one “thing” in relation to another “thing,” that we see “movement ” at all. Thus, sitting in my chair writing to you I feel stationary, and on this morning’s walk, I will feel I am moving. Yet, I know this is not the case. Movement and lack of movement are in my mind’s eye. So, while we often say everything changes, because of this, we can just as easily say nothing changes. In the relative world, everyt…

Large and Small