Thursday, 28 February 2019

Street Level Zen: Intention

Under the same sun

"Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time."

Steven Wright


(Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and a generous photographer.)

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

WW: Skull tree

(This is a tree on the edge of my camp during ango. As I've mentioned twice before, humans like to hang skulls in conspicuous places. I'm no different.)

Thursday, 21 February 2019

The First Trial

Pagan meditation2 "Yoshimura explained that Louise couldn't [study Zen at a Japanese temple] because she wasn't Japanese and would be a burden on the priest's wife. She should remain in America for a year or two while her husband studied in Japan.

"Louise became angry. 'All of you think it's better to be a man than a woman, you think it's better to be a priest than a layperson, and you think it's better to be Japanese than American. But I will always be a woman, and I will always be a layperson, and I will always be an American, and here I am.'

"Everyone was silent. [Shunryu] Suzuki turned to her and said, 'What you have just expressed is the spirit of the bodhisattva's way.'"

David Chadwick, Crooked Cucumber.


(Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and a generous photographer.)

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

WW: Winter Olympics

(The originals. Open photo in a new window to see it bigger.)

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Good Song and Video: Иероглиф



When I first heard this on Радио Русский Рок I was astonished how similar Пикник ("Picnic") sounds to Malicorne. As I listened further, a second echo surfaced: Persone. (That's not the track I'd've chosen to demonstrate, but it's not bad and the best I could find on YouTube.)

So basically you've got the fusion of three awesome groups. A harmonic convergence – no pun intended – so remarkable I could not ethically keep it to myself.

And let's not forget that all by itself, without any call-backs, the song and performance are brilliant. (Иероглиф means "Kanji" in this context.) And you can't beat those Buddhist themes.

So give it a listen, with by all means that high-def video on full screen. This is one of the rare times the visuals enhance the literature.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

WW: Freshly-made bed

Thursday, 7 February 2019

The World's Most Unsettling Question

Cracked.com's Jason Pargin (aka David Wong) uploaded a particularly cogent article this week. His general topic is why the level of trust in the US has dropped to all-time lows, particularly among the young. Along the way he delves into such issues as who has the right to judge others, by what right, and what responsibilities that right implies.

The entire article is very good – no surprise to Jason/David's regular readers – but I found the following passage particularly compelling, given that it expresses an ancient Zen teaching on where things come from and what they are once they've come. (Otherwise known as dependent co-arising.)

Jason calls this "The World's Most Unsettling Question". And it just might be.
Think of the worst person you know of, past or present. Hopefully someone who you know quite a bit about. Now ask yourself:

If you were in their situation, would you have done the same things they did?

You're going to say no, because obviously you're not a serial killer or Nazi torturer or Alex Jones or whoever you picked. But when I say "in their situation," I mean the whole thing. You'd have their physical impulses, including any illnesses or personality disorders. You'd have their upbringing, their genes, any childhood trauma. You'd have all of the information that they absorbed over the course of their life – and only that information – and you would only be capable of processing it in the same way they do.

"Well, that's different," you'll say. "You asked what I'd do in their situation, you didn't say I'd actually become them."

But... what's the difference?

See the entire article here. It's well worth the click.

(Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and a generous photographer.)

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

WW: Sand lance


(Ammodytes personatus. For some reason they often turn up dead or dying on the tidelands.)
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