Monthly Archives: July 2016

Viewpoint ahead…

Yesterday evening there was a beautiful sunset in North Eastern Oregon, gorgeous yellow to orange, offset with blue then purplish sky. Lovely.

Except for the fact that just 70 miles to the West there was a huge brushfire filling the air with particulate matter and worrying a lot of people who lived in the area of the fire plus shutting down an Interstate highway for hours.

So, several phenomena intersect; fire, particulate matter suspended in atmosphere, sunlight refracted into different part of spectrum due to matter in air, etc:

My viewpoint, and that of the people impacted by the fire more directly, gave us entirely different experiences of the same event. None of those events were particularly unusual in and of themselves. Yet…

Differences in viewpoint, which means location and distance; results in an entirely different experience.

Everything I experience through my senses comes me through an ever-changing combination of filters and “lenses”. It is literally impossible for two of us to have the same experience, of anything.

Yet, we try to see 

Things as they are.

That is a very 

Wonderful thing.

What makes it all

The more precious

Is our need to share,

To agree that what we 

See, and feel, are all

The same; Thus we can

Connect to That Which Is,

Apparent to all born,

A Parent to All borne.

Wonderful, in deed.

quiet, there’s a ruckus going on…

To be still, prepared for

Stillness,   to seek

That which is Still.    To be

Aware within the    clanging

Thumping   grumping   clatter  and

Chatter   plus natter,   in that

Awfully loud and busy   and

Sneaky,   sometimes surly,

Mind.   Within between all   that

Noise and ruckus   there has to be

Stillness,   or the Ruckus   wouldn’t

Have a place,    or contextually appear.

Think deeply   of the ways   and means

By which    that ruckus   has come

Asking  for you,  to see the still


It    All.

One   does not stand

Against   the other.

They exist.    Period

Cool in Hell’s Canyon…


                              The little creature beckoned

                                                    Come closer, look over

                                                              The edge;  there’s a whole

                                                                           Other world down there. But,

                                                                                       Just for today, it’s really special.

                                                                                                   Tomorrow it’ll be different, again.

dawdling, doodling, noodling…

First, sitting in meditation and then during the  Dharma discussion which followed, I was seated between an 82 year old cowboy/logger in the 4th generation of the people who settled this area (after removing by force the Native population), and a young woman who runs an organic vegetable farm/gardening enterprise, she is a Portland transplant several generations younger than the older cowboy. Sixteen people were gathered in this little temple in the northeast corner of Oregon and meditated and then engaged in talk about the teachings of the Buddha and Zen training in  particular. One person, a Catholic nun who dropped by with a friend who attends some of these Sunday events, spoke to the Buddhist teachings by referring to Jesus’ teaching to Mary and Martha in referrence to being more still than busily active. Our Buddhist Master, a female monk, responded to that observation in open agreement as to the values of true teachings that can be seen as True, irrespective of their context, i.e. Buddhist or Catholic.

I was reminded that on the inside of my Small Kesa is a teaching written by RM Jiyu Kennett, the founder of our Order

“That which is True is greater than that which is holy”

So it is.

Part of the discussion had been led off by the mostly retired logger/cowboy about the difficulty of dealing with a lifelong habit of working and doing and not being used to attending to stillness for its own sake, as opposed, perhaps, to the stillness that can come over one in sublime moments in a  natural or “spiritual” setting. Many contributed their views and some natural difficulties encountered in looking at a common experience that is often so deeply personal.

A lovely way to spend a few hours with good hearted/intentioned people willing to come together and be still (deliberately so), and discuss subjects that are at a bit of a remove from the water-cooler or dinner-table but often in our hearts and minds at some level.

Big questions, no answers.

Rumination and searching within the heart with sincere friends; some of them strangers.

What could be better?


A day well spent

Can be a lifetime.

With no achievement

Nothing to show,

But, content.






He wouldn’t herd a fly…

Because I’m now living on a horse ranch I have a lot to learn.

Here’s what I learned today.

The horses being raised here are Lusitanos. A horse that was bred in Portugal for warfare. Before the advent of full heavy armor a  knights horse had to be able to maneuver in any direction during battle. The bigger slower breeds were developed and replaced the specialty horse like a Lusitano. They are very smart and intuitive and like people and are very inquisitive.

On this ranch there are pastures and paddocks that have horses at different life stages.

In one field there are two old stallions. They get along. One of them has only one eye, he lost it in a fight with another stallion; the other stallion was killed in that fight.

All the fences have electric wires on them. Some of the wires are attached to the boards of the fence if it is wooden, as they are in the paddocks; or they are plastic woven cloth with the wires embedded in them. When a horse touches the wire it really hurts them. They know after about an hour if the electricity is turned off and they begin to be rambunctious around the fencing. They don’t like being held captive.

This ranch is small and set in a valley full of smallish ranches and farms, people have to constantly be in the give and take mode. You may not like some of your neighbors all of the time, but if they need your help, you help them. They’ll act the same way towards you.

Helping, assistance, and looking out for the common good trumps religion, politics and all sorts of  behaviors and life styles. The folks here are more egalitarian than all of my friends in the liberal enclaves of the Bay area. Here, you can’t choose your neighbors or community, they are the same and you have to accommodate each other and act respectful; mostly. Life’s just easier that way, it turns out.

Where there are horses there are flies. Although the cabin I’m in is very well build and has great windows with good screens, there are always flies about. They are good to train with in terms of learning acceptance. Herding flies out the front door and moving screens so they can escape probably takes up more than an hour of my day. I understand why they are called house-flies.

They are like cats, they want to go out desperately, yet often fly right back in.

I chuckled to myself this afternoon when I realized I could be a character in a movie of whom its said, “He wouldn’t hurt a fly”. I want to, but I don’t.

It’s in the little things that the Big Teachings are practiced.

Maybe I can claim to be a fly rancher. If I’m on an airplane and someone asks conversationally what I do, I’ll say I have a small ranch in Oregon and run a herd of couple of hundred head of stock.

I don’t have to say my ranch is a small cabin and I herd flies.

Head em up! Move ’em out!