Friday, December 30, 2005

Moon Watching

I contemplate the moon
through the night.
Human beings will gaze
upon it for eternity.
The Sermons and preaching
of the Buddha
Surely occurred under
the same kind of moon.

Zen Master Ryokan

I'll be back after the week-end, perhaps with my own photo of the moon in a night sky.

Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

From Half Way Round the World

The Buddha protected by Mucalinda, King of the Nagas.

I received this in the mail to-day. It has come more than half the way round the world. It originating in Thailand, thence to England in luggage and onwards to Canada in a mailing tube. And there it was waiting for me at the front door of the Priory on my return from the library. It gives me pause for thought when considering the minor miracle of items reaching their destinations: that 'planes stay in the air for long periods of time, that mailed items, 99% of the time, arrive in one piece, and packages can be left alone on the doorstep and not get picked up and taken away again!

At Shasta Abbey there is a huge statue of the Buddha protected by Mucalinda set beneath a structure to protect it from the elements. It's the very first Buddha image that visitors encounter when entering the monastery for a visit. I believe it is covered in gold leaf and was a gift from devotees in Singapore.

The image, above, appears to be silk screened and the background is black fabric. It's a kind gift and treasure it. Thank you.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Passing on the Teaching

As good fortune would have it I just received, via email, a link to an article on receiving the Buddhist Precepts. There is a lot of good teaching in it for those who have received lay ordination and those who have not, and may never do so. I should mention that we do not follow the practice of new aspirants sewing a rakusu (small kesa) and to not give a Buddhist name at the time of Jukai, (Ten Precepts Meeting). The teaching given in the article about the making a giving of the small kesa still stands very true though.

Lay Ministers of our Order, the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives, wear a blue/green small kesa which is made for them and given by a senior monk when they become lay ministers. Here is a photo so you can see what a small kesa looks like and to take you into the spring heat of China in May...

I'm wearing a small kesa. Iain Robinson who is a lay minister was not wearing his at the time. Taken this May during a visit to Tiantong Temple near Ningbo, Zhejiang where Zen Master Dogen came to practice in the 12th Century. That's the Abbot and his mother in the middle with other relatives and attendants.

Looking back on early postings I realize that there is hardly a mention of the visit to this temple. Making postings while in China at all was quite a struggle though. Got anything to say Iain?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Listen and Hear

'The Wild, White Goose' is the personal account of Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett's early years training as a monk in Japan. She was there in the 1960's where she faced unimaginable hardships. Being both a woman and a foreigner and the time being relatively soon after WW2 all contributed to the way she was treated. And, I have to remind myself that she was there over forty years ago, a different time, a very different place and novice training IS testing were ever one is. I sometimes wonder if I would have been able to stay the course as she did during those years.

I still find it hard to read my teachers diaries, to mentally travel beside her through those grueling times. There were 'warmer', as well as 'cooler', moments of course. Two years on the run she was alone in her country temple on Christmas Day. She records, "I don't think I can remember one which was more enjoyable." Having visited that temple this year I can now picture her there. Simple temple, simple pleasures.

There is a poem at the start of the Introduction to 'the Goose', as we affectionately refer to Rev. Master's book, and it goes thus:

Flying clouds in a flying sky,
I listen and hear the wild goose cry;
Peaceful eve but it's no use
For I am sister to the wild, white goose.

My heart knows what the wild goose knows
For my heart goes where the wild goose goes;
Wild goose, sister goose, which is best,
The flying sky or a heart at rest?

Author unknown.
I read the diaries for the first time over twenty five year ago and had no conscious thought of flying the same course as the author. However the call to take to the wide uncharted sky was strong enough to lift me up and follow her.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Music for the Heart

This afternoon I watched a dramatized version of A Child's Christmas In Wales (1955) by Dylan Thomas the renowned poet. I didn't manage to watch the program consistently as there was a phone call and then a couple, very kindly, brought a ready-to-eat festive lunch for me. When I eventually returned to the TV I heard, .......'I said some words to the close and holy darkness, and then I slept' . Those were the closing lines of the story!
They speak to me and I hope they speak to you.

More and more I appreciate the 'music' of language and the facility it has to convey that which is not well approached through words.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Past Times

Very many thanks to all those who have sent cards, via regular mail and e-mail as well as special e-cards. Unfortunately there has not been time to send out greetings this year. The cost, in terms of both time and money, may mean that mass mailings will be a pleasure of the past. So I thought I'd publish a 'Past Times' retrospective as a way of offering something. Here below are three cards sent in the past five years, with photos of where I was in 2002 and 2003 when cards were not made. Our collective efforts in 2004 would be a hard act to follow!

2000. Cornwall, UK. Outside of my trailer home with Julie and Andrew who kindly gave me space on their farm. Louise the cat and Kate the greyhound in her new coat also feature. This was an attempt to offer something a bit different in terms of Buddha's Enlightenment cards circulating within the Order. I printed around 200 of them using this image. It was a project to be sure! Rev. Saido from Telford Priory took the photo.

2001. Cornwall, UK. Louise (not my cat) basking in the heat from a wood burning stove in my trailer. Printed and mailed a lot of cards and this was the image used. People thought my stove was white, it was in fact silver; they were glad I had a cat, which I didn't!

2002. Cornwall, UK. The civic decorations in Cornwall are remarkable, drawing many people into the tip of the South West of England in December. I think this is the village of Mousehole, either that or Newlyn. Just a few commercial cards sent this year.

2003. Northern California, USA. I was staying high in the mountains at our Hermitage. We had a goodly snow fall and the steep dirt road was a challenge to negotiate for a couple leaving new years day. The picture was taken early one morning in the spring during some extensive ditch digging. It is a beautiful spot at any time of the year. Very few cards sent that year.

2004. Edmonton, Canada. The cards were all hand made and when the children got hold of the glue and tinsel...the sky was no limit! It was fun. The text inside the card was "Shakyamuni Buddha was, is, and will be awakened upon beholding the morning star."

That's it for now. Hope you enjoyed the 'tour'.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Time for Reflection

This time of year naturally lends itself to reflecting. I like the points the Unitarian Minister, referred to in this article, makes in his sermon. So, as we reflect on the year(s) behind us; beware the 'distortion of retrospection' and the 'seduction of self-justification'! Now there's something to reflect upon!

This first appeared on my personal web site, September 2003.

While out shopping this summer I found myself leafing through a rack of posters and my eyes alighted on one with the Robert Frost poem, 'The Road Not Taken'. Apparently this is a well-known poem, however, it was new to me. When I returned from that shopping trip I got on-line and did a Google search on 'Robert Frost' and came up with some interesting results. One link sent me to a transcript of a sermon by a Unitarian Minister in New Hampshire where Robert Frost lived.

The Minister points out in his sermon that, 'Far from being a hymn to rugged individualism, this poem is a gentle satire on indecisiveness, the distortion of retrospection, and the seduction of self-justification. That's why the poem is titled not 'The Road Less Traveled', but 'The Road Not Taken' for there will always be a road not taken, and we will never know where, for worse or for better, it might have led.'

According to the above minister, in 1953 Robert Frost was reflecting upon 'The Road Not Taken', and said the following, 'I wasn't thinking about myself there, but about a friend who had gone off to war, a person who, whichever road he went, would be sorry he didn't go the other. He was hard on himself that way.'

The Road Not Taken
By Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth

Then took the other as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh, I kept the first for another day
Yet, knowing how way leads onto way
I doubted if I should ever come back

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence
Two roads diverged in a wood
And I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference

When I discovered the poem I was thinking of a friend who was, at that time, hovering at a crossroad in her life. Now she has made her decision and, like Robert Frost's friend, I hope she will not be too hard on herself with regards to the path she has chosen.

Postscript: To-day I was talking on the telephone to the woman referred to in the above article. She told me, with a mixture of mild amazement and her characteristic humility, "I'm content; I've never felt this good in my entire life"!

Friday, December 23, 2005

On BBC Local Radio.

One of the senior monks of our Order in the UK, Rev. Master Saido of Telford Buddhist Priory, was recently interviewed on BBC Radio Shropshire. Through the 'magic' of the internet and Rev. Saido's web masterly skills he has posted the talk on the priory web site. For those with a fast broadband connection there is an mp3 file to download and for dial up connections you can 'stream' the talk. OK, that means you will listen through your computer. I don't pretend to understand much more than that.

I listened to most of the talk last evening. It comprises of Rev. Saido talking on Buddhist practice and what brought him to it and also a long section where the congregation talk about their understanding of practice. The whole program is accessible to non Buddhists and puts what we do into a context that people interested in trying us for size can relate to.

Time is running out. Too bad. I wanted to post a photo of the space where the priory 'wheelie bin' (garbage can) was before it got stolen early one morning. I was staying at the priory at the time of the theft and saw the bin disappearing up the road. They say there is a market for these bins in Ireland.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Winter Starts

That's right, it is the official start of winter to-day. Each year, on this day, my dad was keen to point this out and would announce: 'We are now entering the black hole'! December 21st has the latest sunrise and the earliest sunset, it's the shortest day. (Bright and sunny here in Edmonton with temperatures rising above 0 c. Hardly winter).

The days don't start drawing out again for a few weeks. My father would announce; "We are out of the black hole. Thank goodness"! when the allotted day arrived. (When is that day, anybody know?) In the mean time in darkness there are lights and I am enjoying them sparkling from the trees on Whyte Avenue, tastefully done too. The city has 'gone to town' with lighting, especially around the legislative building. I saw them briefly the other evening on a trip through the city. Hopefully I'll be escorted there one evening before they get switched off so I can appreciate their magic at a leisurely pace.

Here is an uplifting message for those who need one:

While the light of the world is diminishing may your heart and mind be steady and ever bright. And may you 'go on beyond' the ups and downs of daily life and know the, ever present, 'serene luminescence' now before your very eyes; unchanging, undying, uncreated. Permanent.
Note: In my book on plain English I read that it is OK to split infinitives. I think I just did that!

Keep up the meditation folks.

Speketh so Pleyne

Following a subtle inner prompting, which went something like "you could put more effort into your writing Mugo", I took the plunge and bought a book at Chapters with my gift card. It is called Oxford Guide to Plain English, a compelling read and chock full of easy to digest instructions. Here is a definintion of plain English writing, quoted from the book:

The writing and setting out of essential information in a way that gives a co-operative, motivated person a good chance of understanding it as first reading, and in the same sense that the writer meant it to be understood.

Who hasn't read an official document of some kind and ended up non the wiser? The plea for plain English has been around for a long time. Quoting from the book again:

In the fourteenth century Chaucer had one of his characters demand:

Speketh so pleyne at this time, I yow preye
That we may undersonde what ye seye.

My Master, Rev. Jiyu-Kennett, was very keen on the accurate use of words and encouraged us to choose them with great care when speaking and writing. And Rev. Master Daizui, the former Head of the Order (OBC), a real wordsmith if ever there was one wrote 'Buddhism From Within' which he would refer to as Buddhism in plain English. So I'm developing a deeper appreciation for the need to choose words wisely and to string them together more mindfully.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Buddha Rising

This months issue of The National Geographic Magazine has a feature called Buddha Rising. - 'Out of the monastery, into the living room'. There are some excellent photos including one of the Shasta Abbey monks on Alms Round in Mount Shasta, California. It's a good picture. You might want to take a look when you browse the magazine racks.

One of the wonders of the internet is that The National Geographic, and other large magazines, publish content on their web sites not included in the paper version. If you go to the National Geographic and then go to the Slide Show: Buddha Rising you will see, towards the end of the show, an interesting picture. It's of monks in Thailand, I think, who are knotting kesas (robe given at ordination) around the trees! Apparently the monks are performing tree ordinations. There are a number of monks in Thailand who are embracing the lives of trees, as well as the lives of their human supporters. Do a search on 'tree ordinations' if you want to find out more. Here I go on trees again...!

Anyway, if you have a fast internet connection, and even if you don't, there is a lot of interesting background material to be found. My favorite is the author, Perry Garfinkel in the section 'On Assignment', writing about his meeting with the Dalai Lama.
"Somehow his calm made me feel calm, like a hand-to-hand tranquility transfusion. The man had me at 'hello'."
He was obviously quite disarmed.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Thought for the Day

Early this morning Andrew Taylor-Browne talked on Radio Cornwall, England. Here is what he said:

"In our living room on our farm at the moment we have a Christmas tree, covered in the usual lights, tinsel, and other decorations. Now for people who don’t know us there is nothing at all strange about this. However, our friends and family do sometimes wonder what Zen Buddhists are doing with a Christmas tree in their house.

Well, actually although it looks just like a Christmas tree it is for us a Buddhist Jewel Tree, and we are celebrating the Buddha’s Enlightenment. The Festival of the Buddha’s Enlightenment is traditionally observed on December 8th, but we take advantage of the season’s celebrations to decorate our house throughout the rest of December.

The decorations represent in visual form what the world looked like when Buddha realised enlightenment and so they represent what it can look like to us if we see with the eyes of Buddha, and this in fact is something that is open to any of us to do at any time.

Now it is probably quite sensible to understand this imagery in a metaphorical way. We often notice that our ideas and emotions stop us realising what is really going on in a particular situation. Indeed, we can be so caught up with ourselves that we hardly notice what is going on at all. If we can manage to stop looking at the world through our own fears and insecurities, clouded by the grasping after things, the anger and confusion that so frequently fill our minds, then the world truly presents itself in a very different way. In fact what we can then see is a tremendous love, compassion and wisdom in all people, all circumstances and indeed all things. So, in one sense the jewels on the tree symbolise this love, which shines through all things.

And in another sense we can often see these jewels more directly. When we look with love, sympathy and understanding at people their eyes sparkle as jewels. And some people find that the world can take them by surprise and break through their personal worries and concerns. Clear night skies, light on the waves of the sea, morning mist hanging in a valley, houses, hedgerows, trees and fields covered with snow, even rain droplets hanging like jewels on the winter branches of a tree. All these have the capacity to speak directly to our hearts. And what they say is that we are not separate from the world or from anything in it.

So, I can only wish for you all that during the coming fortnight you each get a chance to see your own real life jewel trees, and glimpse the true nature of the universe, and its all embracing love, compassion and wisdom."

Andrew that was great, thanks for giving permission to publish your words.

Here is the priory altar, with jewel trees.

Life Changing

You might be interested to follow this link to a chapter from Crossing the Unknown Sea by David Whyte. In this chapter he remembers a conversation with a Christian monk about the poem The Swan. It turned out to be a life changing meeting.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

How To Get a Blogger Account.

This is how to sign up for a Blogger Account so that you can post comments. I am no expert and if there is an easier way or refinements can be made to the instructions below, let me know please. I can be emailed via Jademountains web site.

Before you do anything make four choices about your future account:

user name - your name will do fine, what ever you will remember;
password - it has to be at least 6 characters long;
display name - the public will see this name,(an example could be Sarah in Jasper, or Ziggy so nobody knows who you are, except you);
email address - it will remain private, don't worry.

TIP. Write down your choices exactly, especially your use of upper and lower case letters. Sorry to 'hand-hold' however it is SO easy to loose track of such information. For some of us this is a high stress project. So pause, take a few deep breaths to steady yourself.

Now Get Started

1. Scroll to the bottom of this posting and click on 'Comments'. A window opens.

2. Click on the 'Sign up here', another window opens asking for your details - which you have on a piece of paper beside you.

3. Fill out the form, then click in the empty box to accept terms. (To read them, click on the blue lettering. Then click on the X at the top right corner of the page to return to the form.)

4. Click on the large orange arrow to CONTINUE.

5. Choose another use name if your first choice is rejected. Write it down first, then type it into the appropriate box.

6. Click continue. You are asked for information to set up your own blogger. If you want to write a Blog - continue, if not - close the window. You now have a User Name and can post comments.

I just set up a new user name and password for myself, you can see my comment under the November 15th posting. No wonder people are not leaving comments, it's a lot of work! Have a go why not.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Rods Not Cones.

There is something rather primal present when the lights go out.

Yesterday morning started with my plugging in the Jewel Trees on the main altar and, after a brief flash, the 'jewels' went out! This time of year, with the days getting ever shorter, is when light takes on a significance greater and deeper than one might imagine. For one thing, with attention more inwardly directed, past actions can slide into the present and be learnt from, if Compassion is in the ascendancy. People who suffer from the Winter Blues also know about the significance of light and I suspect most people get a bit down as the sap descends, brown leaves remind of impermanence and the turning year asks us to move on.

It has always been the case that when electricity fails me, I am transported from the 'lights of Wisdom',(so to speak) to the 'darkness of delusion', in other words I feel helpless and hopeless. And that is how my day went yesterday, in darkness, as I pondering unhelpfully on past actions. The combination of needing to, in fact, cross the road and remembering the Swan poem took me right out of myself and the light went back on. Life is like that sometimes, it just springs up and teaches when you least expect it to.

Wednesday night is when people come to the Priory for a ceremony, meditation and a class. We talked about The Swan and little did I know this was written by a well favored poet. The conversation tended towards 'taking the next step' and how life is made up of little ones that can lead in directions one could not have predicted standing on the shore.

The impending new year brings up questions around future directions, renewed resolve, next steps in life. We tend to think that what is ahead is completely unknown and ultimately this is true. However, if one 'looks' in the way one uses ones eyes in dim light, through the 'rods' at the edges of ones vision and not the 'cones' in the centre, the sense of what is there to do will emerge. I'm not talking about anything other than simple meditation practice however perhaps the above will help take the 'angst' out of lowering your self into the waters of the year to come.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Wholehearted Way.

The Swan
Rainer Maria Rilke

This clumsy living that moves lumbering
as if in ropes through what is not done,
reminds us of the awkward way the swan walks.
And to die, which is the letting go
of the ground we stand on
and cling to every day,
is like the swan,
when he nervously lets himself down into the water,
which receives him gaily
and which flows joyfully under
and after him, wave after wave,
while the swan,
unmoving and marvelously calm,
is pleased to be carried,
each moment more fully grown,
more like a king, further and further on.

Translated by Robert Bly

As I stood waiting to cross Calgary Trail to-day I realised for myself, not for the first time, that it takes a special courage to "let ones self down into the water". The word courage comes from an old French word 'cuer' which means heart. Ours is the Wholehearted Way, no half measures, no half lowering oneself into the waters that carry us with infinite compassion. Thinking about it, there is no room for half heartedly crossing Calgary Trail either!

It has been an interesting day. Hope you like the poem as much as I do.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Shooting Baskets.

Time to inject a photograph I have been wanting to offer for some time. Somehow this picture always makes me smile. I hope it does the same for you.

Cactus ready to shoot baskets in Arizona!

I took the picture in Tucson in 2001 while taking a night stop-over on the way to visit congregation members, a very long days drive, further East. I have always had a fascination with cactus, beside this array of 'adults' were vast green houses stocked full of 'infant' ones!

Infant cactus.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A Pure and Gentle Heart.

It might have been the young women in black charging down the isles with headsets on asking me, "can I find something for you", "do you need help"? Or it could have been because it was the end of the day and it was getting dark outside. Or simply that there was just too much choice and I didn't actually need any of the books. What ever it was I left Chapters book store this evening empty handed, again!

There is a line from a scripture which goes something like, The True Way is easy for those who do not pick and choose. Of course we all have to make choices all the time. This line is pointing out the mind of discrimination, a mind set in the opposites. So when I can discern wisely what it is 'good' to buy with my gift card I'll return.

We had a good day on Sunday with quite a few people coming for the Buddha's Enlightenment Ceremony in the morning. Afterwards a number of us went to a vegetarian restaurant run by a devout Indonesian Buddhist. Thankfully I'd been there before and so I just ordered what I'd had last time. Menu's are particularly difficult as monastic training in Zen is very strongly geared towards exercising non discrimination around food.

Zen Master Dogen wrote rules to regulate every aspect of the trainees life in the monastery. They are called the "Eihei-shingi". The Fushuku-hampo (Meal-Time Regulations), being one of the rules, starts with this quote from the Vimalakirti Scripture (written by a lay-man by the way).

"When one is identified with the food one eats one is identified with the whole universe; when we are one with the whole universe we are one with the food we eat."
The first time I went to the above restaurant the owner asked me, just as we were leaving, if I'd do a Dharma talk at the restaurant. I said "I'll think about it"! Returning this time I kinda hoped he would not ask again since talking in public is not something I am naturally drawn towards. As it turned out he didn't ask; I offered! The generosity emanating from the people there just caused me to set caution aside and be generous back. If something comes of this I am sure I'll be able to think of something to speak about. The Tenzo-kyokun (Instructions to the Chief Cook) for example is all about the attitude of mind while cooking; cooking with a pure and gentle heart. That kind of 'heart' can go anywhere.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

When The Lights Went On in Washington.

I happened upon the Oprah Winfrey Show this evening while taking a moment to relax and found myself gladdened to encounter a highly creative performance of a poem entitled An Amazing Peace. It's author, Dr. Maya Angelou, was joined by Oprah and a choir, not your ordinary poetry reading however I don't remember ever seeing one before anyway.

Maya Angelou said "I wrote about what is in everybody's hearts", she spoke to mine. The poem is a call to peace with arms wide open, heart extended far beyond the boundaries of religious affiliations. Beyond affiliations of any kind, she was after all pointing to a 'heart' at rest. Dr. Maya Angelou, you are quite a lady. Thanks.

Today a good friend of the Prioy came for tea and most generously brought a Gift Card for "Chapters". That's the oft mentioned book shop on Whyte Avenue that I visit from time to time. Now, armed with this card I can allow myself to wander the shelves with intent to purchase. Maya Angelou's poem has just been published, I'll certainly pick it up and take a look if I see it.

If you follow the link you will understand the title of this blogger.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Happy Buddha's Enlightenment Day.

Back in Taiwan I spent a lot of time with the nun Du-an. The other day she sent me this image which I thought was a brave undertaking on her part since she has very little English.

December 8th is the day devout Buddhist all over the world celebrate the Buddha's Great Enlightenment. We at the priory will be doing that together on Sunday.

Seekers of The Way.

I did not want this day to pass without pausing for a moment to remember John Lennon, one of the 'fab four' Beatles, who was killed 25 years ago by one of his fans who turned against him. (I've not studied the details however that is my understanding of what happened). The song, "Revolution" had a huge impact on the direction I took in life. Namely towards working for a better world by working on changing myself although I did contribute in external ways too. And continue to do so, hopefully.

The words from the song I remembered were, "if you want to change the world, you need to change yourself instead". Through my late teens and twenties this was my silent mantra, it kept me going, kept me focused. The other day I checked the lyrics and discovered John didn't write my mantra, I did! Oh well.

So, I hope you will join with me in a few moments of reflection for a man who helped influence a generation. "A bird does not sing because it has answers, it sings because it has a song". He was a 'seeker' of answers, did it within the public eye and could sing right down to the end of his toes and into the gravel beneath. John Lennon was 'earthy' and, in his own unique way, a charismatic figure.

Zen Master Dogen warns against getting involved in 'fame and gain' and the wisdom of not seeking out association with rich and famous people. Basically because of the potential to incite the desire to want more than one has. To 'seek' outside of oneself. Charisma is found in the light and in the shadows and I'm deeply sad that John Lennon and others get caught in the shadows of somebody else's unhappiness and become a target.

Oh Buddha, going, going, going on beyond, always going on beyond.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Silent Vigil.

In the sub zero temperatures we are currently enjoying I find myself glancing out of the kitchen window willing the birds to find the, afore mentioned, feeder hanging from the washing line. By the way that's the bigger and better feeder, which has attracted very few birds since putting it up. The other morning I spotted a sorry sight, a bundle of feathers all puffed up with the cold and eating away like there was no tomorrow. A sympathetic thought passed through my mind, "Hah, sometimes it takes getting that desperate". As with frozen birds so it is with us mortals!

Many months ago a woman of my acquaintance spoke on the phone, "Well, I would not have thought I'd be grateful for all that's happened in my life, however I am", "I'd not change a thing, everything has brought me to this point, painful as it is, and I have everything I need to move forward". This kind of sentiment is not rare, these people we call 'marvelous'. They catch our attention because they are inspiring examples of people overcoming great difficulties. We meet them at the bus stop, read about them in the papers, they are everywhere.

It is coming up to the eleventh anniversary of my mothers death, she was a 'marvelous woman'. The first blog I ever wrote was called "Entrenching Tool". A good friend helped me to edit it and in the process helped me launch myself into the scary world of talking to the 'world' not knowing who in the world is listening. That was back in June 2003. That article was dedicated to my mother, writing it helped me to clarify my Blogging purpose. Thanks to all you unknown people out there who visit Moving Mountains, may we all move together.

Monday, December 05, 2005

*The Jewel is in the Lotus, Rise Great Sun.

When walking just walk.

When Sitting just sit,

Above all, don't wobble!

Zen Master Lin Chi

Out this morning quite early, before sunrise. The steady rhythmic sound of foot fall on dry snow almost hypnotic, the thin bright air had a particular 'zing' to it. My heart sang.

Anybody who is of a mind to 'wobble' at the moment, I would recommend not. Have faith, the Jewel is in the palm of your hand.

Remember, don't wobble!

*Go to this link for the full verse. I particularly like the ending line: "The dewdrop slips into the shining sea".

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Going To The Heart of It.

Unfortunately I had a problem with reflections in the glass covering the image so the photographer and camera feature in there as well as the message! Not quite what I had planned for however I did want this text, along with the full poem to have a wider audience.

Given by Rev. Master Koten of Lions Gate Buddhist Priory, Vancouver. It hangs in the dining area of the priory as a reminder of the long standing connection between Vancouver and Edmonton.

Here is the full version of the text:

True friendship transcends
Intimacy or alienation.

Between meeting and not meeting
There is no difference.

On the old plum tree
Fully blossomed.

The Southern Branch
Owns the whole spring.

As also does
The Northern Branch.

Nyogen Senzaki.