It can only be what it is...



Sunday, November 25, 2012

Shunryu Suzuki Roshi

Basho and his staff-

I recently listened to this podcast and found it very good. So I decided to share it here. The teisho is given by  Genjo Marinello Osho at the Chobo-Ji Zen Temple in Seattle.

http://genjo.libsyn.com/basho-and-his-staff

Monday, November 19, 2012

Way of Tea

http://buddhismnow.wordpress.com/2010/06/22/way-of-tea/

Nice link to how to prepare Green Tea,

Beginner's Mind

When I bought the book(Beginner's Mind) by Suzuki Roshi , this copy of his calligraphy stating Beginner's Mind was inside. Thought it would be nice to share.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Samurai Morning.

Well , not much on my agenda today but decided to fire up a few movies that I meant to see when they came out but never did.
First one was Zentoichi
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuqwMQTc8cE



And then watched this one -Ichi
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFSN5AF2Zq8

Overall I liked them both , although the Bollywood style ending on Zentoichi was a little weird.



Saturday, October 13, 2012

Yoga, Hello old friend,

Well, in the realm of exercise and fitness, I have lost a lot of weight lately, and my fitness is way better than it has been in a long while. I am running almost every day and seriously contemplating running a 1/2 marathon in the Spring.
Yet there are times where I feel stiff, and creaky. Time to look yet once again at Yoga. Yoga and I have a sort of on again off again relationship.
Whilst I logically see the benefits and won't even hesitate to offer it to someone else ...I often get annoyed and the whole commercial side of it, and sometimes quite honestly the reluctance of some to see Yoga for what it truly is.
For me Yoga is much more than just a method of exercise. Just like Tai Chi is more than just slow motion Kung Fu, and Kata's in other martial arts.
They all involve breathing techniques, and concentration of energy (Ki, Prana, you name it.) for beneficial effect on the body and mind.

Now to find a teacher and a schedule that I can make so I can get corrections to my bad habits.

Namasté

Monday, October 8, 2012

Teachings from an unexpected source...(or was it ?)

Well, this morning I received a teaching from my fourteen year old daughter.
Suffice it to say it was akin to "the sound of a pebble", Nansen's cat with Buddha Nature and a healthy whack with a stick all in one.( Figuratively of course).

Gotta love it, embrace it, and go with it.


Monday, October 1, 2012

Father's, Son's, and Time...oh my.

So...past week has been interesting, to say the least. My youngest daughter was ill with a bacterial skin infection. Situated around her eye it was of particular concern. The week consisted of in and out of the Children's Hospital(which does amazing work by the way) and lots of I.V. antibiotics and more at home. She is finally on the mend.
Here comes the second shoe to drop...I find out that my father is in the hospital. He had been there a week already but no one ever contacted me to let me know.(I wish my family put the fun into dysfunctional!) but that is another post all by itself.
Needless to say my father had a bit of a scare as they found some blood clots in his leg and lungs. After a week of intensive clot busting medicine and blood thinning drugs he seems to be on the mend as well.
I went and visited my Dad over the week end and was surprised to see that he(we) got old.
My Dad and I have exactly thirty years difference, give or take a month and like all Dad's he was Superman when I was young. The strongest, by far of all the Dad's I knew.
You know when boys get together and boast "My Dad could beat up your Dad", to me there was never any doubt. He was invincible.
That was then, this is now. He still looks good for his age, don't get me wrong, it bodes well for me as well, full head of hair,(most of it grey) nary a wrinkle and still very much alert and with it.
None the less I was forced to look at my Dad and realize, Time has moved, I am now at the age where I started to disagree with my Dad, my own daughter almost at that same gap in age.
Does she see me the way I used to look at my Dad ?
It's a strange feeling to know that one day I would be here, even stranger when I got here.
My Dad and I get along better now than we ever did. There is a an acknowledgement between us, I have forgiven him, he now respects me I feel.
It almost feels like an imperative to spend a bit more time together, impart what I have learned to him, and from him to me, before it's too late.
The clock is ticking, and it probably won't end up the way I envision it, conflicts of schedule etc. but the effort will be made, and that will have to do.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Day 3-just keep swimming

Well today is day three of a treatment of I.V. anti-biotics for my youngest who has somehow managed to get  a skin infection (we're guessing from the swimming pool at school).
It's been a while since we have had to do daily trips to the Children's Hospital but always surprises me how easy we fall back into the routine and daily medical visits and poking and prodding.
Those who do this regularly will know of what I speak. There is an ebb and flow when you get swept into the flow of medical care and keeping your ahead above water.
In the famous words of Dorie in Finding Nemo,
"Just keep swimming"

Friday, September 21, 2012

Steampunk, who knew






Over the summer I went to the Shelburne Museum in Burlington VT. They had an exhibit of Steampunk and Robots. It was surprisingly a lot of fun. I kinda like how they bridge Victorian Industrial age and Science Fiction all together. More surprisingly it fits all together.
Who knew

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Running as meditation

So in my quest as of late to lose some weight and get into better shape, I have started running. When I was younger playing football and other sports , running was never my cup of tea. When I was in the military it still wasn't my bag.
It was with some trepidation that I started running for myself. Would it be torture, would I fail at it. All these thoughts came and went.
Well it's been a few months, and well I'm hooked.
It's kind of like meditation for me, the first few kilometers, my body rallies against it, my mind cries out in doubt, but I persevere and and few more kilometers later all is good.
There is just the steady rhythm of my feet on the pavement. Attention to my breath and time seems to stand still.
Who knew running would be so much fun.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Reflections

I was listening to a podcast today by Gil Fronsdal about Meditation as a mirror to ourselves. It made me think of this picture I took yesterday with the clouds reflecting the sky.
http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Finding yourself

I heard a funny story today about a woman in Iceland , who when she heard the call from City officials to help and search for a missing woman, she sprang into action. Droves of citizens all joined in with police to create a grid search for this missing lady.

Only after around eight hours into the search , however did the lady recognize the description.
It was her, that they were looking for, and she went to the officials sheepishly and said so.

Not the finding yourself, you were expecting, were you. I think neither did she.




Friday, August 17, 2012

Things fall apart-what are you going to do ?

Things really do fall apart. It's not a bad thing, it's just the nature of the universe in all it's impermanence.
Yet we will all try from time to time to stop that wheel from turning. Sometimes I know I have expended a tremendous amount of energy trying to keep something from changing only at some point to realize how I'm spinning my wheels.
It's really just how it is.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Dark and Stormy Night






Dukkha Dog

Well, my little rescue dog that we adopted a little over 2 years ago should have been named Dukkha Dog.
Dukkha in sanskrit is usually translated to mean suffering.
When we got her we knew she was going blind, even though she was only about a year and a half old. We figured big deal, we can figure that out. In short order we found out that she has epilespsy as well. Looking back, either she was very mistreated before, or had some sort of accident/head trauma to cause both the blindness and the epilepsy.
Fast forward to today and she had another seizure today, her second in about a month. She is not the healthiest specimen on the planet , poor little girl.
Here she is :

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Poem

Greater vehicle,lesser vehicle,all vehicles will be towed at owner's expense-Tom Savage -- BD108 (@BrianDavidson6)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Stray cat strut

Well it's summer here, warm weather across North America. Some parts really really hot. At any rate today I find myself with a new friend. Seems to be a stray and since today was especially warm I gave him/her some cold water to drink. Think I made a friend for life


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Rainy Night

Sitting, sipping tea,
Rain falls quietly outside
Soul sounds ,through the flute



Saturday, June 16, 2012

For a chuckle,

I have always found Calvin and Hobbes well written.  Fond memories of my grandmother and I chuckling and reading these outloud.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Gate Gate, Kelce,

Tomorrow morning , a little girl named Kelce, will be departing the material world. She has been in intenstive care for a while now, fighting the good fight . Her parents I can only imagine are in a living hell, as medically they have reached the end.
Kayce has Angelman Syndrome and epilepsy like my own daughter. Her seizures became unending, in what is referred to as status epilepticus http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Status_epilepticus hence why this difficult decision had to be made.
Tomorrow at 11:00 am EST. she will depart this earth.
gate gate pāragate pārasaṃgate bodhi svāhā (Heart Sutra in Sanskit)

Gone, gone, gone beyond, gone far beyond, enlightenment amen (In english)

Around the world pink ballons will be released by parents of children with Angelman Syndrome as a sign of support. Should you see some pink ballons floating by your way, think of this young lady here and maybe say a prayer, mantra, postive vibe or whatever you can, to send her on her way to a better place.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Getting out of the gate

If you think you can do it, you're right , you can !
If you think you can't do it, you're right you can't,

The only obstacle is our mind.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Yoga in the Sun

We are finally getting some nice weather for a change. Sun is out and shining and today I decided to do some Yoga outside in the sun.
What a great idea it was.
Felt great to be doing Yoga again and with the natural warmth of the sun on my skin, just the icing on the cake.
Namasté

Friday, April 20, 2012

Suffer the children

While it is fairly true I have never quite considered myself Catholic (too many swipes at the back of the head from brothers and sisters in high school I think) , the quote from the bible (Matthew 19:14) pertaining to the suffering of children has always struck a chord. Although, truth be told, suffering is not just for children but it does feel that it is something that we should as a society strive to avoid.

When faced with children who are in pain, generally we want to do something to alleviate it. Sometimes it is obvious physical pain, but what to do when the pain is more psychological ?



A drop of water into a still pond causes a ripple, and with it it's own set of consequences. What do we do when someone is not able to see past the ripple ? Doesn't see long term, or couldn't care less for short term for that matter , What then ?

I am trying very hard to grapple with this . I am filled with remorse for all the suffering that I am seeing, and the need for action to remedy it, and yet the more action seems to bring me to a deeper pit of a feeling, that this suffering is inexhaustible, too deep to be reached and cleared out. My actions will not ever be great enough to wipe it out.

Samsara (the continous flow) of life, birth ,death will always roll on,

I breath in, I breath out, Om mani padme hum...



 om mani padme hum, mean that in dependence on the practice of a path which is an indivisible union of method and wisdom, you can transform your impure body, speech, and mind into the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha[...]"-- H.H. Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama, "Om Mani Padme Hum


(picture of mani stones in India near the Himalyas, the stones have the mantra om mani padme hum inscribed on them)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Being the Dad-it's all relative

Being the Dad, not as easy as it sounds.
Not that I ever thought it was.
From a very young age, I realized that it's a tough, job, especially if you didn't have the benefit of someone that took it all that seriously. My grandfather was from Scotland and a man of very few words. Children were to be seen not heard. you were to speak when spoken to only, and God forbid show up at the dinner table without a proper shirt (t-shirts were not not considered proper even in the middle of a heat wave.)
Emotions were not expressed either. It has to be said that the man fought in two world wars and that may have some bearing as to the man that I knew.
Regardless, my father's role model had not prepared him adequately for the challenges he would have when my mother passed away leaving him with two young boys and no help from family. His only respite came from a bottle and trying to instill the discipline that he thought was fair and just. Although from the bottom of a bottle, it was skewed to say the least.
I have long since made my peace with my Dad, fully expressing to him that under the circumstances, he did what he could the best that he knew how. Was it always right, ?
Not even close sometimes, but it was OK. I forgave him.
None the less I have always vowed that I would be a different Dad, a better Dad.
Reality Check 2012 : Sometimes I am , sometimes not.
Truth is there is no preparation for what life throws at you. Sure you can tell yourself as I did for years that the same mistakes won't be made, and that's true, I did not make the same ones.
I made some doozies all on my own. I found myself lately wanting to compare war stories with my daughter, let her know that what trials I had faced and how they all were imminently more challenging and tougher that hers, but you know what ?
It's all relative.
I can only hope that one day my daughter reads this and makes peace with herself and the mistakes that were made. Realizing that the mistakes came from a place of love and compassion, that any anger that I had came from fear, fear that she would be harmed, or that harm would come to her and that she is my daughter, I love her with all my heart and she can accomplish anything she sets her mind to.
She too like me is capable of great love and compassion and yes, fear and anger as well as they are the flipside of each other, but if we truly live in the moment, we need not fear.

Symmetry

Distinctions

"In the sky there is no distinction of east & west; people create distinctions out of their own minds & believe them to be true." ~Buddha -- Zen Proverbs (@ZenProverbs)

Monk before the moon

Just like this pic

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The hook of suffering and how to wiggle off it

Suffering, we all  experience it.
Sometimes it is as obvious as the nose on your face. At times it can be a little more subtle, but it's there none the less. I have been reading about shenpa lately. A Tibetan term that Pema Chodron describes as hook, or attachment. I like hook better than attachment if only for the visual of a giant hook grabbing me up.
"Somebody says a mean word to you and then something in you tightens — that's the shenpa. Then it starts to spiral into low self-esteem, or blaming them, or anger at them, denigrating yourself. And maybe if you have strong addictions, you just go right for your addiction to cover over the bad feeling that arose when that person said that mean word to you. This is a mean word that gets you, hooks you. Another mean word may not affect you but we're talking about where it touches that sore place — that's a shenpa. Someone criticizes you — they criticize your work, they criticize your appearance, they criticize your child — and, shenpa: almost co-arising"-Pema Chodron

I think we have all been there, and I see it everyday within and around me. I think that we can never rid ourselves of shenpa, it will always be there, lurking, ready to hook us into some action that undoubtedly we'll regret, begetting even more shenpa and trapping us in the vicious circle that this engenders.

The way off the hook as I understand it is to gently wiggle off the hook. By that I mean whenever we realize this feeling of shenpa, (usually accompanied by tensing up, constriction, feelings of anger and fear etc.) take a second to recognize that feeling, and as Pema says "lean into it".Examine it, become acquainted, it can be uncomfortable to be sure. Often these "hooks" are deep and the result of years of habit. ( Also it's ok to not always stop it before it happens, it's sneaky that way. As long as you do at some point and try to counter it)

Knowing it and taking some time to breathe, and acknowledging it, is surprisingly effective. I have been trying this myself and have to say it has a struck a chord. Perhaps over time the number of hooks will reduce, but if not, at least I have found a way of dealing with them and gently disengaging them.

The final challenge in this is as I see it , is being gentle with ourselves. Allowing ourselves to have compassion towards ourselves.
Extending the same love and compassion to ourselves as we endeavor to send to others -not always easy but there's the rub. I leave you with this quote from Rumi :

"if you are irritated with every rub, how will be be polished"-Rumi

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sanity

Sanity is permanent,neurosis is temporary. -Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Fine Line,

A young monk came running up to his teacher, “Master Li, have you heard? The temple in the village has burned down! Master Ghozan was inside. He was in such deep concentration while meditating, he did not notice the fire and he has died. What amazing powers of meditation!” exclaimed the student. Master Li replied, “That fool, he ruined a perfectly good robe!”

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Old Castle in the Moon 荒城の月/ circular breathing



His breathing technique is phenomenal. I am in awe.

The Day after

OK, so as of late I have been searching for the "right fit" for training and exercise.  After 4 years of martial arts I sort of went on hiatus for a year. Did weight training, running and yoga.
Came to conclusion that I actually missed the martial arts but where I was attending, didn't give me much of a cardio work out that I need.
As I get older my metabolism is getting slower and I need that cardio to keep the pounds at bay.
Tried a few different places and styles but nothing was clicking.
Then as luck would have it, right under my nose was a dojo, close to home (10 minutes !) and a great schedule (5 classes a week if I can keep up) and the price is right. (How did I not see it before ?)
Not wanting to get suckered managed to get a week's worth of trial classes before I sign up and yesterday was the first one.

Just the warm up alone had me in the cardio target zone. Classes are around 75 to 90 minutes. Lots of warm up, forms ( Kata) and sparring. It was fantastic.
Managed to even land a few kicks against a black belt. (Probably won't happen a second time though)

The style is mostly Kyokushin but there is also jujitsu, and I detect a little Okinawan karate as well in there. Either way it's fine with me. Some of my friends in martial arts get really tied up in knots over lineage and style and whether it's an approved style by whatever association etc. As far as I can see the Sensei for this school is not affiliated with some of the organisations that surround his style. Not always a bad thing, there is so much splintering and fracturing going on within Karate these days anyway.
I have come to my own conclusion that as long as it's effective, safe and you get out of it what you put into it, it's all good. Today after my first class, I'm sore. I worked out harder yesterday than I have for quite some time. I'm feeling it, and I'm smiling. All good.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Words

Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world.-Buddhist Quote

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Worry...

Listening lately 365 Tao, and came across a passage detailing worry.
Worry and I have long since been aquainted. My father was a worrier, passed it on to me and I suppose I have passed it on as well to my daughter.
What I found illuminating was the idea that worry was cancer of an emotion.  Concern run amok as it were.
It can be crippling to say the least.
It all boils down to control I assume. The illusion that we have some, and that we can affect some measure of control in our lives.
I , of late have recently been shown that all I can do is help, whatever effort that I can, and be reassured ,  that is the best that I can do.
Right wrongs where I can, do the right thing, help , and let the worry go.
In the end things will enfold as they will.
No good, no bad , just as it is.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Free download if anyone is interested

Free download for one track by Shubha Mudgal. I kinda like it.

http://whiteswanrecords.bandcamp.com/track/steadfast-free-download-2-8-2-21">Steadfast [FREE download 2/8 - 2/21] by Shubha Mudgal (feat. Ursula Rucker and Business Class Refugees

Friday, January 27, 2012

Buddha's Dream (2 of 9)



Recently stumbled upon Riley Lee's music. Have to say quite hooked.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

First Aikido class of the year

Well today was the first Aikido class for me of the year. Finally found a class that I can get to, Saturday mornings at 8:30 in the morning. At least a dozen other brave souls ventured out in -20 celcius weather to get tossed around the tatamis.

Have to be honest , feeling a little sore post class, but overall had a lot of fun. We even got to practice with the bokken at the end of the class. A nice surprise I wasn't counting on.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The path of Zen

Please find below a link to a free e-book written by Barry Briggs over at oxherding.com.


http://www.oxherding.com/files/the-path-of-zen.pdf

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Fill your bowl to the brim
and it will spill.
Keep sharpening your knife
and it will blunt.
Chase after money and security
and your heart will never unclench.
Care about people's approval
and you will be their prisoner.

Do your work, then step back.
The only path to serenity.

Verse 9, Tao Te Ching