Thursday, 27 March 2014


Mountain ango requires sangha. That's sangha, in the Buddhic sense: support, not supervision. In a better world Zen centres would supply this, but attached as they are to permission and rank, they seldom try. It takes comrades who know how long a day is; the dangers and fears; and why you must face them. Fellow hermits who will hit their mark, and whose response to a cry for help won't be to urge you to quit.

Show me a brother who wants to sit on the mountain, and I'll show up with the pickles. I'll help him prepare, visit reliably, and respect his vow. If he goes missing, I'll hike out and find his arse.

Because it takes a hermit. Backing without bullying. Assistance without control. Sangha. If the eremitical path can be reopened in the West, it will require that kind of brotherhood.

(Adapted from 100 Days on the Mountain, copyright RK Henderson.)

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

WW: Red fox in the front yard

(Vulpes vulpes)

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Happy Bodhisattva Day! (20 March)

I'm wearing my cardigan! Are you wearing yours? (For more information on Bodhisattva Day, see my previous post.)

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

WW: Graveside fudo

(The white, red, and black cord stands for each of the three Tibetan bardos of death. Hung by the grave of a canine friend.)

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Koan: The Cougar and the Jungleberry

A man was walking in the forest when he heard something in the brush. As he turned, a huge cougar stepped onto the trail. Terrified, he began to run.

This proved unwise, for the lion, ruled by a hunter's instinct, began to chase him. The man crashed through the undergrowth until he stumbled over a precipice and into a ravine. Catching a small vine maple on the way down, he hung for life.

As the cat snarled down at him, its mate appeared on the ravine floor, snarling up. And then the man heard a chewing sound. Looking up the branch, he saw a tiny jumping mouse, gnawing at great speed.

"I'm beginning to have a bad feeling about this," he said.

At that moment the man noticed a single jungleberry, hanging like a golden jewel before his face. He grabbed it and popped it in his mouth.

And it was most delicious thing he ever tasted.

Wu Ya's commentary: "An honest man gets his just desserts."

(Adapted from 100 Days on the Mountain, copyright RK Henderson.)

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

WW: Spruces

(Picea sitchensis)

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Street Level Zen: Greed

Clutter in basement

"You can't have everything. Where would you put it?"

Steven Wright

(Photo of a basement that looks nothing like mine courtesy of Tom W. Sulcer and Wikimedia Commons.)

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

WW: Steller's jay

(Cyanocitta stelleri)
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