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Showing posts from December, 2016

Don't Tread on Me

With respect,

When I returned from Vietnam, recovering from a bullet to my head, my Aunt said to me that my injury brought the war home to her. Yesterday I learned that the morning after the election a swastika was scrawled on the kitchen door of my son's restaurant in Georgetown, Tx. This made the catastrophe of Donald Trump's presidential win very real.  It brought it home to me. In the news of late many stories of racism and hate crimes seem to have increased.  It's as though a group of people (who always existed, but in the dark) now felt emboldened to take themselves into the light of day. I believe our now president-elect's campaign and post-campaign rhetoric has given tacit approval to such people.  He has fanned the flames and now we burn as he distances himself from the hate groups who so rabidly supported him.

Funny thing about hate, it spreads and it hurts. The Buddha argued that the antidote to hate is love. As a Zen priest I ought to practice loving my en…

In this Moment

With respect,


There is a famous line in Master Dogen's Genjo Koan that goes like this:"firewood does not become ash, firewood is firewood, ash is ash." Sounds so simple, but then some of the greatest teachings in the world are simple statement, but they are not simple, they are deeply profound observations. Years ago in my mountain refuge I would make a fire in the firebox of my wood cookstove. Every once in awhile I would need to put more wood in the box. It was obvious the wood was becoming ash. Master Dogen says that isn't so. Why would he challenge the obvious process of fire?
I believe the answer is in our everyday lives. With each breath we draw we draw it in a moment, hopefully of awareness. Drawing that breath is, itself, our life. It is a Dharma moment with its own existence. Likewise as we release our breath, that too, is its own Dharma moment. One is not becoming the other. Each exist in themselves and only in that moment. As Dogen says, ret each hav…

Questions, Part Two

With respect,

Looking at your computer screen, what do you see? We might say, "a blog note."  Or we might say, "my screen." But whatever you say, it will only be a thought.  A concept socially developed and agreed upon, but what is it before we have named it?   A "blog note" is just what we call what we are seeing. I am asking us to look through the concept.

In our everyday life we rarely pay attention to the "true nature," the "original nature," of what we are looking. Earlier this evening I sat out under the stars with a sky map open on my iPhone. I saw stars and checked their names.  I would be a far cry from the truth of the matter if I thought the names were the stars. The stars are not their names.  Nor are they "stars."  Stars is what they are called, that is all.  But as I sat there and looked at them as they were, something else emerged.

In such silence truth emerges: we are infinitesimal creatures on a very tiny pl…