Thursday, April 19, 2012

Aphorism 2

"Better to be completely partial than partially complete."

This started out as the phrase: better to be whole-heartedly half-hearted than half-heartedly whole-hearted.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Aphorism 1

"Broken eyes never see more than they tell."

I scribbled this down sometime in early 2007

The original version looks like this:

Broken eyes...
Never see more than
they tell...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I probably won't be posting for a while--and I wanted thank you all for doing what you do.

Especially gniz, Jordan, IC and Sounder.

Both within and beyond the terror and joys of life resides a boundless and indestructible equanimity.

Two final things:

--Whenever possible, give the gift of no fear.
--Whenever possible, allow yourself the entirety of this moment.

Friday, September 07, 2007

It was September

It was September of '94 or '84
Doesn't really matter much anymore

The sky was clear
The crew was here
All systems go!

And she was on track
To payback the kickback
The only thing they missed was the simple fact

The hold was overflowed
With darkness undertow

It was September of '94 or '84
Doesn't really matter much anymore

Sometimes everything seems so clear
The people that you're holdin near
The demons that ya call your fear

And she was on track
To payback the kickback
The only thing they missed was the simple fact

The ship had run aground
The captain made no sound
At all.


It has been a really good week. I am kind of starting a new phase in my life--a phase in which I can really start to see that there really are no "new phases", just an ever unfolding moment. This sounds a little, well, suspect... As if I am tooting my own Zen trumpet:

"Hey looky here!!--every moment is a new brand new moment, there is only the moment, and this moment is simultaneously connected with all other moments... etc.etc.. yada yada."

Nevertheless, though I jest, I am beginning to understand, and maybe just ever ever so slightly beginning to shed myself of my self. The intro to this post is a remnant of my past, when I held on to my darkness, suffocated myself with it, and I, as the captain, made no sound at all--even while aware of the simple fact that I was bringing myself down.

Things are falling into place, or rather, they are being seen in their place, not in some way that my mind wants them to be.

I have finally started to actually allow my focus to be here and now. It is a very difficult thing to do. I have a long way to go--the rest of my life--to keep on going--mindfulness is a never ending effort--yet somehow I feel that it can be an effortless effort as well...

I think the biggest thing that has helped me has been in answering the question: Why sit zazen? I have come to the answer. Which is, of course, there is no answer. To do something wholeheartedly with no answer, no gain, no benefit. The point of life is to live.

I used to really despise the kind of stuff like in the latter paragraph. It all seemed so dogmatic. Fresh from the zen vending machine--you know the one down the hall on the second floor--yup, the black one, that's it. Koans two for a dollar. Then on the other hand I really appreciated it too, but really in an intellectual kind of way. Something has changed in my approach and I don't necessarily know what it is, but I am able to really let go more, to allow life to be what it is while still taking care of life.

I think to let go is to not be afraid to be the person you want to be while at the same time "letting go" of all of the things(good, neutral, and bad) that are a result of actually being or trying to be that person.

I also think that to not be afraid of life is to see the balance of other people, other beings, and how they are all part of a interconnected, um, hate to say it but, love or harmony. So basically I am really happy that there are a lot of really nice people out there who aren't trying to kill me or who don't feel they must be totally cruel and selfish towards others. Of course I am happy that my family has helped me to be in a place where I have all the basics of food, shelter, and friendship. I will do my best to extend these simple gifts onto others who do not have them. Yet we all have the responsibility to take care of our own personal situations as best we can.


"By eliminating disturbances we redouble the disease."--Cho Setsu

"...there is no thinker behind the thought. Thought itself is the thinker."--Walpola Rahula from What the Buddha Taught

"Both day and night, allow all things to come into and reside within your mind. Allow your mind and all things to function together as a whole."--Master Dogen

"The greatest gift that one can give to oneself or another is the gift of no fear."--unknown

Sunday, September 02, 2007


Sometimes there is not much to say. To be able to enjoy a noble silence with another is a blessing.

I would just like to say thank you to Aaron and Jordan for extending their wisdom onto me and others.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Desire Part One (of a zillion)

Desire. What can I say about this that hasn't been said a million times before? Not too much. But there is one point that is important because it is a trap that I fall into time after time again.

I have an unwanted desire, realize it, label it and immediately proceed to concluding "I must rid myself of this desire."

On the face of it, it's pretty easy to see that I'm just replacing one desire with another.

Yet, the hard part is that even while I am aware of this, I really just don't get it. In other words desire is a really, really, ultra-amazingly subtle thing.

There is nothing wrong with desire, per se, at least I know that much. And intellectually, I can recognize that I would be better off accepting my desires as they are and not adding layer after layer on top of them, but nevertheless this is what I do--like I am on auto-pilot. I guess the more you get used to doing something, the easier it is to keep on doing it. There is a certain psychological momentum we're dealing with here...

So, over and over again I am usually either drawn to one extreme or the other: feeding my desires with hedonistic abandon, or crushing my desires with a fascist zeal. And the whole craziness of it all is that even if I am "aware" of it--I can't even be sure of that awareness because it just might be a false awareness created by my unseen desire. That is why it is such a subtle thing.

Balance is needed.

Another reason that it is so subtle is that all of the expressions of this desire are not usually even expressed in the "real world". The part that actually ends up being expressed in the actual concrete world is just a small fraction of what is actually going on, expressed in the "real world" only as electrons whizzing about within the lump of fat we call a brain.

Just because it is not actually happening in the "real world", though, doesn't mean it is not happening at all. Furthermore, it is the root of what does happen in the "real world".

So just how can we keep from falling into the trap of more and more desire? By being aware of what makes us fall. And by getting up again when we have fallen. There is a Japanese proverb that states: "Fall seven times, stand up eight."


"Rather than just seeing(what is going on), we act upon what we notice instead: 'I shouldn't be wanting pizza. I must stop this desire for pizza.' This very reaction is already more craving. We're desiring an end to desire. We're doing the usual thing again--reaching for, insisting, grabbing. This is bondage, not freedom. This is a subtle but crucial point. There is no bandage to use on this problem that will not itself be the same problem over and over again...

The only way to eradicate this problem is to see it
(for what it is) and thereby no longer feed it."--from Buddhism Plain and Simple by Steve Hagen

"By eliminating disturbances we redouble the disease."--Cho Setsu (quoted by Master Dogen)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Why the Hell am I Doing This?

For as long (not very) as I have been doing zazen (sitting meditation) a certain line of thought inevitably pops up: "Why the hell are you doing this?... What is the point? Ooooh you're gonna get all enlightened, totally zen..." Stuff like that.

"If you expect something from zazen you have created two goals: zazen and the purpose of zazen. If you want to do zazen, just do zazen.

Perhaps you may ask 'Why should I do this?' When this happens, what you must do is just forget any expectations you have about zazen and just sit."

--paraphrased from Steve Hagen's comments in You Have to Say Something by Dainin Katagiri

"To some people, thinking about how to solve all the world’s problems might seem very important, how to help all the people in the Third World, how to set the world right. Compared with these things, watching our breath seems insignificant, and most people think, ‘Why waste time doing that?’

People have confronted me about this, saying: ‘What are you monks doing sitting there? What are you doing to help humanity? You’re just selfish, you expect people to give you food while you just sit there and watch your breath. You’re running away from the real world.’

But what is the real world? Who is really running away, and from what? What is there to face? We find that what people call the ‘real world’ is the world they believe in, the world that they are committed to or the world that they know and are familiar with. But that world is a condition of mind.

Meditation is actually confronting the real world, recognizing and acknowledging it as it really is, rather than believing in it or justifying it or trying to mentally annihilate it."

--from Now is the Knowing by Ajahn Sumedho