On the Path to Nowhere

pics from pc536

Three full years since jukai

a  spiffy rakusu, oh my!

a  part-time dabbler

a  dharma  babbler

but boy can I sit still!

and daydream until

I’m finally free

of the gargantuan ME

pretending to be

here and now

a man with a vow




Guru or Charlatan?

Been wondering whether that charismatic teacher is actually suffering from delusions of grandeur?  Try looking for some of these clues:

What Enlightenment is not

Dwelling on a higher plane of existence

Believing oneself or anyone else to be a perfected being

Believing a person can communicate with or can be in touch with anything outside the realm of the 5 senses or personal consciousness


Some Signs of Delusion


Lack of empathy or compassion

Feeling superior, being overly critical, or judgmental of others

Mistaking personal truth for universal truth

Inability to control temper

Being a slave to addictions- sex, drugs, alcohol, etc.

Mistaking the forms and rituals of any practice for spiritual attainment


Stayed tuned for future additions…..


On the practice of non-harming



Reading Alfred Russell Wallace’s book The Malay Archipelago and thinking how sad it was that this learned, self-taught naturalist thought nothing of blasting Orang-utans (which means “man of the forest”) out of trees with a shotgun, wounding them over and over till they hid and made a protective nest in the canopy to lay down in agony while their life dripped from the branches like sap.  Sometimes they fell and sometimes they stayed there and Wallace had to employ “natives” to cut down the tree.  All so he could skin them and sell the pelt.  I think of how little we have learned and grown.  I suspect someday we will say that once upon a time we caged up our mighty, sentient brothers and sisters – the elephant, the dolphin and whale, simply because we could, and because we could not speak their language.  Ah, but if we could speak their language and hear their anguish, their loneliness and isolation, what then?

What do you think?  Is it ok to cage up monkeys and infect them with flesh-wasting diseases so that humans don’t have to suffer?   In the past I thought I was opposed to any animal cruelty until I thought about my children suffering from some incurable disease…. and then I thought that I might be willing to sacrifice an entire species if it meant saving MY Child and insure that she would live on this Earth and share this life with me. I don’t think someone who is not a parent can understand the lengths a person would go to to protect their children. Is it selfishness?  My selfish genes yearning to continue on and on into the next generations?  Is it the hubris of being human? Duality in disguise, for sure….Now that they’re grown, I don’t have to make that choice, but would I choose differently?  Would I run amok in the forests of Borneo and slaughter our he or she-cousins in the trees to save MY little ones?  Depends on the day….





Empty Cushion

Off to meditate
I water the dry garden
mission accomplished

Zen Poetry

Empty Cushion


walking forward


Walking forward


What is No Zen Master?

Why blog about zen and zen masters?  If you can believe reality and statistics and all that crap, my allotted time on this earth is about half over, (but that’s in the relative realm….see that time allusion/illusion there?), so why not?  From the absolute realm that I’ve heard so much about (I’m imagining an empty, spaceless void that probably does not have any cookies, so really I don’t think I want to visit there….), the time is ripe, it is NOW, so, again, why not?

Incidentally, I am no zen master, nor do I aspire to be one, and after 13 years of dabbling in zen, meeting at least one purported zen master, and having read about many other supposed masters who have proven to be far less than enlightened beings, I may need to give up the illusion that anyone can be a fully-enlightened master.  Nevertheless, there is that compelling something in zen practice that informs how I live. So, I want to discuss this life informed by zen, sprinkled liberally with my personal philosophy, poetry, and experiences, with a heaping side order of bullshit.

I welcome comments that are helpful or critical, as long as they are respectful.  Once I figure out how to actually do this blogging thing, maybe someone will actually get to read this….