“In the end, it’s not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away” – Shing Xiong

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


according to western science epiphanies (cause/correlate) with humongous releases of Dopamine the happy neurotransmitter in the nucleus accumbens, a lovely place in the brain.

For us dhamma trailers epiphanies are the vista points along the path, good spots for picnics or a rest along the way. Even little ones are appreciated and while there we pick up any garbage left behind by others, fluff up the grass if it has been crushed by heavy feet, we polish the dazzle of the space, speak gently to the devas gathered there and give thanks, generally adding to the sense of well being, knowing we will move along shortly, walking comfortably in the Tao.

I had a simple but healing epiphany the other day. A noble friend said she was not sure why people tattooed and pierced and otherwise modified their bodies, she finds it a little scary, a little off-putting. I woke in the night thinking it was not so different from having to wear this getup - bland plain asian shirt and bald head but that if this was a book cover it would be plain, unobtrusive, not draw attention - the opposite of stand out - so it says "don't look at me, look with me." And for the first time since ordaining I felt good about the outfit. Have been milking that epiphany ever since. Peace and joy to you today, may you know the sweetness and health of life, and may the sun warm your bones just right.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

what now?

 I am becoming friends with a great heart I met recently - here is a quote from her:

" Anyway, one lady I will always remember had Alzheimers and she made it a point to say something nice to everyone. She would say, "I know I'm getting forgetful and I never want to forget to thank everyone for all they have done for me. Have I thanked you today? Have I told you how pretty your smile is today? If I forget you remind me." That's how I hope to be. I hope my last words are kind."

and she turned me on to this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desiderata

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
Max Ehrmann, "Desiderata"

 Thank you latefall.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Blake and Oliver

Mary Oliver says in her poem The Swan :

"Said Mrs Blake of the poet: I miss my husbands' company, he is so often in paradise... the path to heaven is in the imagination with which you perceive this world and the gestures with which you honor it"

yesterday I enjoyed break after the exam by looking at the sun thru the palm fronds brilliant sparkling golds and there is a place on the pavement where a potted plant stood. It is etched and stained to marvelous patterns and colors, today I will take its photo.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


wow, I just spent the most worthwhile hour and a half listening to a collection of "This I believe" essays read by their authors, gathered and published? by Dan Gediman from Public Radio - Funny thing, studying - it works better if balanced by some sort of relaxation that is uplifting and opening - this collection was a nonfiction book in Ohio's digital library, I hope you can find it, or perhaps on NPR it is available in the archives

Monday, October 7, 2013

boddhisattva - for the GD sangha

 So the universe walked into the classroom yesterday and via the day's assigned translation reminded me it is very important that someone step up and be an ordained buddhist, that the universe is listening, does see things on all our levels and is responsive, often has a sense of humor too, and wishes I would continue to be an ordained buddhist for many reasons.

Do you believe that? or is it easier and more likely that I am delusional?

I mean literally, I was giving serious thought (again) to dropping this nonsense, to giving up this forced intention, to finding refuge somewhere that feels better, when suddenly and unexpectedly the page before me and the professor before the class says be a boddhisattva, you can do it and it is needed.

And then I was asked to tell the class what a bodhisattva is.While I was marveling that the universe would speak clearly and directly into the mike, I had to answer this question without dillydallying. I later forgave myself for the puny answer I squeaked out and accepted the truth that this culture wants simple sentences, "a straight answer" to complex questions. I am not going to tell you what I said, that would be anticlimactic, but what would you say? and then again does it matter? I think if one can conceive of a fullness of the concept of Boddhisattva then one steps into it. I think this is the nature of 'empowerments' of crossing any threshold in daily life, of the nature of human life. When we grasp the tail of the dragon we are lifted and pulled and carried away.

And then how does one find support for a determined existence when it is not nourishing? just ask. The nature of the universe of reality is responsive and alive. She is conscious and active and just waiting to be asked. I asked and wham! there was the reply like the handwriting of a ghost. Very funny, Buddha, very funny grandmother...it's like the old tv show of the dead sea captain and the lighthouse keeper, no one could see him but her. Some people would lock a person up for talking like that, but others could see more deeply and realize it takes poetry and humor and creativity to talk about the experiences that don't fit the daily grind.

hugh prather

am enjoying a reflective book by this fellow shared with me by Kathy with whom we built this little house in 2011
I especially like this passage:

"what would I discover about the cottonwoods if when I walked to the mailbox I listened to them instead of looked at them? what would I find out about the rain if I didn't run inside? and is it possible that a sunrise would refresh me more than sleep?