spirituality

clogged drains; Buddha is a shit covered stick; Santa and Jesus

Spent time yesterday and today working on clogged drains, snaking out the main line (tree roots) and the shower drain (nasty hair clog). Besides getting a finger caught and crushed up a bit (power snake grabbed my glove, twist, crush - safety equipment gone wrong. Not serious but annoying) this got me splattered with sewage...and so I thought of the zen koan about how "Buddha is a shit-covered stick"

zazen Ultraman; just like this; prosperity is not a dirty word; dancing lessons from God

Hmm, am I remembering right and today is that "day which will live in infamy?" How interesting to spend it in Japan, ne? Who would have thought such a thing sixty-five years ago?

A recent thought: it is not that the master does not become ill with the sickness of the mind, it is that when he does, he can diagnose and treat himself. Perhaps, perhaps...

On the Shinkansen now, out to Kamakura by way of Ofuna. Last night, such a reception at the Cellar! The fellow who runs the folk jam has such respect for Kaicho Nakamura that merely by association, I'm warmly welcomed, an honored guest.


Returning now, on the shinkansen. Just barely made my train in Kamekura - evened out my travel karma by having no seat for the first half of this ride, sitting on the floor between cars. Still, daijobu.

The Daibutsu is great. Sitting there out in the open, with the hills behind - powerful. I imagine him there when we are all gone, still meditating. A zazen Ultraman, for all the sense that that makes. And the Jizos at Hasedera, something to see, definitely.

Also, up in the hills, very interesting shrine, Zeniarai Benten, where they have a ritual of washing money in water from the spring. Spending it is supposed to bring many times back to you, a prosperity ritual.

Tojinbo and Eiheiji; equally empty

On the bus back from Eiheiji now. Went out to see some spectacular cliffs at Tojinbo - apparently there are only three sites like in in the world, an underground bubble of basalt exposed by erosion on the coastline. I was able to climb down and tag the water - I've touched both sides of the Pacific.

(Domo arigato Mr. Roboto - we just passed another of the robotic flagmen we've been seeing at construction sites. They have become today's hit with the tour group.)

Then off to Eiheiji, the Zen temple founded by Dogen. Unfortunately we didn't have much time there, a brief zazen session, and all the mandatory photo-taking, only had less than a hour to walk the grounds. Still, lovely. Managed to hike about halfway up the side of the hill facing the temple, a very nice view.

During meditation I here the floor squeak under the steps of the monk wielding the "correction stick" - a reminder that he is just as human as I. Equally empty, equally to be loved, equally a coming Buddha.

Hachiko, Imperial Gardens; lotuses and mud

So the Capsule Inn in Akihabara wasn't a bad place to sleep. It gave me
just about as much room as my backpacking tent. Just a little hard not to
get woken up when neighbor's alarms started going off.

Got to check my luggage there while I wandered today, around Akihabara a
little (bought a microSD card for the Centro), over to Shibuya station to
see the famous Hachiko statue, then over to the Imperial Palace to wander
the east garden (the only part open to the public, most of the time). Nice
garden and all, might be more impressive in the spring, but one noteworthy
thing was a pair of prune trees in bloom, with other trees bare or turning
behind them. Hope a good photo of that willl come out.


Though the water is muddy, the lotus still blossoms. And it would probably
kill the lotus if you tried to sieve the mud from the water. Accept, and
let it settle.

Which reminds me, tomorrow, Eiheiji. Should be pretty cool, big-time Zen
temple. They've even arranged the option of a zazen session, of course I'm
going to go (though my legs may be pretty damn sore after all the walking
today).

Peace tags

Very interesting project here: PeaceTags.

They are selling silver "dog tag" style necklaces with quotes about peace, from folks ranging from Walt Whitman to Pope John Paul II to the Dali Lama. Proceeds benefit the Wounded Warrior Project and the Voices in Wartime Education Project.

The mission of PeaceTags is to ignite peace in our hearts, in our homes, and in our world by spreading the words of wise sages through the ages. We raise funds and awareness for innovative non profit organizations helping troops, their families, and communities.

They ain't cheap, but it's a good cause.

September 23 Zelda's exercise

poem based on words and phrase supplied by the workshop participants:

euphoric, a smile that stretches beyond your cheeks, a world full of kung fu masters, antidisestablishmentarianism, vapory, contentment,
sacrificial eyelash, freedom


a world full of taoist masters

everyone you meet is your guide to enlightenment

the tollbooth lady who chats about the weather and asks, "Where did all this wind come from?"

the taxi driver who radiates freedom and contentment

the euphoric beyond-the-face smile of a child picking dandelions



the world tree sprouts from a single eyelash sacrificed by a sage

and I swing through its branches

monkey-mind unlimited

love and qi

Here's an idea: in "energy work", we sometimes talk about how the energy (qi, whatever) flows through but does not come from the practitioner. The practitioner acts as a focus, a lens, a mirror even perhaps, but not a source.

Now, what if we apply this idea to love? What I do not give love, but merely act as a lens, a mirror, redirecting the love I receive?

Then to love, I must let love in, fully accept it, believe myself worthy of it; for if I block the incident love, there is no refracted or focused or reflected love going out.

China regulates reincarnation; speaking of which...

From Newsweek/MSNBC.com:

In one of history's more absurd acts of totalitarianism, China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission. According to a statement issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, the law, which goes into effect next month and strictly stipulates the procedures by which one is to reincarnate, is "an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation." But beyond the irony lies China's true motive: to cut off the influence of the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual and political leader, and to quell the region's Buddhist religious establishment more than 50 years after China invaded the small Himalayan country.

Tangential but highly interesting, the article notes that a Gallup poll found that 20 percent of U.S. adults believe in reincarnation, and surveys by a Christian research group have found one in four Christians - including 10 percent of "born-agains" - hold with it.

I'm not sure how one resolves reincarnation with Christianity. But then, I'm not quite sure how one resolves reincarnation with the teachings of the Buddha.

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