Saturday, August 27, 2005

I found a square watermelon at the supermarket. It cost about $120. I asked why it cost so much and the worker lady siad it was very hard to grow and you dont eat it but you look at it. Also, here is a pic of my Japanese Teachers, more bus ride, and a great sign about being mindful of your ciggarettes.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Some Trungpa

Today i read some excellent Chogyam Trungpa. Here is an excerpt. He is talking about how to deal with confusion. The slogan (or chapter) is called "Seeing confusion as the four kayas is unsurpassable shunyata protection."
(the four kayas are the four aspects of Buddha mind, and shunyata means emptiness or voidness (also meaning infinite fullness or release)
"Shunyata is the best protection because it cuts the solidity of your beliefs. "I have my solid thought" or "This is my grand thought" or "My thought is so cute" or "In my thoughts I visualize a grand whatever" or "The star men came down and talked to me" or "Genghis Khan is present in my mind" or "Jesus Christ himself manifested in my mind" or "I have thought of the most tremendous scheme for how to build a city, or how to write a tremendous musical comedy, or how to conquer the world"-it could be anything, from that level down to: "How am I going to earn my living after this?" or "What is the best way for me to sharpen my personality so that I will be visible in the world?" or "How I hate my problems!" All of those schemes and thoughts and ideas are empty! If you look behind their backs, it is like looking at a mask. If you look behind a mask, you see that it is hollow. There may be a few holes for the nostrils and the mouth-but if you look behind it, it doesn’t look like a face anymore, it is just junk with holes in it. Realizing that is your best protection. You realize that you are no longer the greatest artist at all, that you are not any of your big ideas. You realize that you are just authoring absurd, nonexistent things. That is the best protection for cutting confusion."
I love that guy!

They began cutting the rice fields this week, changing the once bright green fields to muddy brown patches, or smooth reflective pools, sky blue. Incredible how everything can change overnight.

Monday, August 22, 2005

saturday night, sunday, and monday

Saturday night i went to Saijo, my neighboring city, to a "special dinner for new Jets" that ended up being at what I called in Japanese "heaven's restaurant" because it was on a smooth rainbow stone beach next to the mountains and a river famous for its purity (we drank water directly from this river). The restaurant was actually a huge grid of gas stoves where we cooked stews filled with with noodles and vegetables and tofu…Ah, heaven. And the weather was perfect because it had been raining all day. And I met so many people there, including Elias from Zambia. I’m eating dinner with him tomorrow.

So, perfect night, to a perfect, rainy morning, where I went bright and early with Jesse to the Zen temple, which included more people this time (because last week was a holiday, “o bon” where many people stay home to welcome and give offerings like incense to the spirits of their ancestors who supposedly visit during this day. And I was thinking about it, and because the family brings their ancestors to mind, because they re-member them, those spirits DO visit on that day.) Anyway, the sitting was amazing, and the chanting, and walking, and we even did prostrations at the end! Afterward I visited the Niihama Onsen, which was like 9 different baths, 5 of which were outside. One I found in a small circular building, a dark stream room, beautiful music, and stars (tiny lights) illuminated in the dome ceiling, around which glowed a black light, and below which was a dark, brick red bath, just barely visible beneath the steam. The water was brick red, and he circular bath held maybe 8 people at a time, (so some were sitting on the stone benches around it,) and I loved this bath because the water was cool, and very red, like thick tea, and the room was so hot. The naked man next to me immediately talked to me in English. I asked why teh water was red andhe said was an iron bath, good for your skin. "makes you glow adn shiny." there were lots of other kinds of baths. let me know if you want ot know more.
after the bathhouse i found an Egg vending booth by my house. (see pick)

Today, Monday, I took the bus to Matsuyama (the capital) for another free Japanese lesson. Here is the entry I scribbled into my journal at the end of the two-hour ride.

Today on the bus.
I always look at clouds
And today, like many days, the clouds are doing things they have never done, or at least, that I have never seen them do in my entire incarnation.
Its like the clouds are lawless.
True, there are the classic clouds,
The puffy shapes, colors,
But every once in a while,
Clouds surprize us with something
We could never have dreamed of.
So today, I listened to amazing world music and looked at the clouds.

Basic gray crescents, or a hundred finger nail clippings, crescent moon shaped slivers of clouds all scattered at random as if thrown across a table, some straighten out like eels, some turn light pearl gray or seashell grey.

I look out and think I feel my mind expanding out to touch them. When I look out at the sky, it's like I feel my mind get bigger. My soul stretches to include in its embrace the clouds, the mountains, the horizons. I become so large. The whole sky is inside my awareness, my soul. Clouds, the souls of the rivers, are swimming in my head, as well as the busride and journal.
We stop at the Hospital everyday---old ladies in kimonos, and old men smiling and limping, I am filled, FILLED with happiness when I see the elderly walking and smiling. I look up in joy and I find the shape of a bird emerge out of the hole in the clouds. An omen.
“Whenever you see a feather on the ground, look up and listen carefully.”
And that bird, and those clouds, could not have come into existance without me.

My purpose as a wavetip of life is to discover that I am alive and that I am wet.
Life waking up and discovering it is alive.
And the music calling, the beauty beckoning,
The art whispering, “look around and see what is already true.”
It is as if god herself is calling us home with every cloud and every feather.

Scarecrows in the rice fields, sometimes I see manikin heads on sticks, kind of spooky, but effective I imagine,
Sometimes black garbage bags hang in rows like flags. A contrast to the bright green,

Some kid just got on the bus carrying a very long boa, at least six feet long, Japanese archery, it was wrapped in silk,

The waving rice leaves remind me of
Carpet anemones

Lots of old people on bikes in big hats
Or working hunched over in the green oceans
So bright
And a field of sunflower
Shout, scream, crash yellow symphony “look at me! Look at me! Look at me!

Town after town after town, car dealerships, bodhisattvas, mystical raccoon dogs with erect penises and gigantic testicals
Tiny cars and trucks,
My dad told me last night about a bicycle-powered car.
I am still thinking a lot about an old friend who recently stabbed himself in his heart,
And these clouds make me what to hurl myself down and kiss the ground, open my arms and hands wide in prayer and reverence to the Beauty flowing beneath and through all things,
And I feel my breath,
And my breath continues,
And my heartbeat goes on
Like the mountain rivers,
The clear water and the secret temples
The construction sites and the dead sunflowers
The changing trees and the lawless clouds
Coffee wars, cemetaries,
And more car dealerships,
Gardens and clothes hanging
Scarecrows and streetlights
Cranes and crains
Their necks
Black tire roofs
And telephone lines, I finally roll into the city to start another
Japanese class, step out into the sidewalking traphic, the city,
Lively and
“Enjoy coca cola” “recycling saves the planet” “so many men, so many minds”
Arrows, signs, trucks,
Vending machines, starbucks
pulls me like a magnet. I go in, order a soy makiato and a bananna muffin,
Beautiful people sit around me,

“All dharmas are dreams”
a beautiful old black man sits before me talking english to a beautiful old japanese women with gray and orange hair,
two businessmen laugh engish behind me, I turn around,
at first I snear,
but then they sit down and I see they are whearing the exact same suit
and I think oh, they are not businessmen, sort of,
they must be missionnaries, mormons,
must be,
now I am calm and inviting
but I also wish there were businessmen
my coffee and muffin taste good.

I saw a whole shrine devoted to tanuki ( mystical raccoon dogs) today on my way to the language class. Tanuki are real animals, and the legend is that they can morf into other beings and appearances, and they get their magical powers from their large testicals. Seeing a real one is considered a great omen. Enjoy the pictures.


Sunday, August 21, 2005

Some Wilber

"...The real world is not given to you twice – one out there, one in here. That "twiceness" is exactly the meaning of "duality." Rather, the real world is given to you once, immediately – it is one feeling, it has one taste, it is utterly full in that one taste, it is not severed into seer and seen, subject and object, fragment and fragment. It is a singular, of which the plural is unknown. You can taste the mountain; it is the same taste as your Self; it is not out there being reflected in here – that duality is not present in the immediateness of real experience. Real experience, before you slice it up, does not contain that duality – real experience, reality itself, is "non-dual." You are still you, and the mountain is still the mountain, but you and the mountain are two sides of one and the same experience, which is the one and only reality at that point.

If you relax into present experience in that fashion, the separate self-sense will uncoil; you will stop standing back from life; you will not have experience, you will suddenly become all experience; you will not be "in here" looking "out there" – in here and out there are one, so you are no longer trapped "in here."

And so suddenly, you are not in the bodymind. Suddenly, the bodymind has dropped. Suddenly, the wind doesn't blow on you, it blows through you, within you. You are not looking at the mountain, you are the mountain–the mountain is closer to you than your own skin. You are that, and there is no you – just this entire luminous display spontaneously arising moment to moment. The separate self is nowhere to be found.

The entire sensation of "weight" drops altogether, because you are not in the Kosmos, the Kosmos is in you, and you are purest Emptiness. The entire universe is a transparent shimmering of the Divine, of Primordial Purity. But the Divine is not someplace else, it is all of this shimmering. It is self-seen. It has One Taste. It is nowhere else.

"Spirit knows itself objectively as nature; knows itself subjectively as mind; and knows itself absolutely as Spirit."

The greater the depth of transcendence, the greater the burden of inclusion.

David here. i think this last quote is intereting. to me it explains why some people feel like it is their responsability to save the world. Environmentalists, Vegitarians and vegans, Human rights activists, monks, nuns, helpers of all kinds actually. It is as if one's depth reaches so deep and so wide that it includes all people or all earth's creaturs, and seeing all these beings as part of one's true nature carries with it a painful love that never stops careing, and will never rest until all it's parts are free adn happy. We can only care about others when we can identify with them, or as i have said ealier in this blog, is seems like moral or conscious development is really just the development of who or what we identify with and therefore who or what we can care for. what do you think?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


Finally, a drawing! I did a drawing while listening to ween, sweat pouring off my brow, rapid gestures, my arm skating quickly across the paper, my eraser violently tearing into the meat of blackness. it was so much fun! I hadn’t done any drawing since I got here. Here is poem about it

Shaking my eyes,
Lost the instant I new,
dead already,
Bewildered by the size and symetry,
Fighting my paper,
the arm signs cicada
stickytacked, photographed,
And I relax, black

I also wrote a poem while waiting for my bus in a starbucks in matssuyama

im at a starbucks in matsuyama
reading paulo coelho and chogyam trungpa,
looking out at the busy intersection,
feeling good to be a minority.
The constant current of people parade past,
some look at me, some sexy bodies,
old bodies, hunched over hat and gloves,
kind bodies, each one with a history I imagine. Each with intent.
i write

The carpet of creation shimmering rainbows under the brilliant sun of awareness,
The crystal clear light blanket brings bright billowing babies to tell the tale of terror on TV.
I look up.
Holding hands to cross the street, mother and child.
15 min till the last bus home.
Old man Head wipe sweat swear at the heat head for shade,
Old lady walks with dignity,
she walks with her bag of groceries,
she walks with her angle suspended slightly above her head.

Also In matsuyama I visited the oldest public bathhouse again with jesse and claudia. In the changing room, jesse and i stood naked, looking at about twenty other wet naked men, and a middle aged women in uniform cleaning. they just dont give a damn here!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Zen meditation at Zuioji

This morning I went to Zuioji temple to practice zazen, or Zen meditation. This was very exciting for me, as you can imagine, and I have been waiting to see this specific temple/monastery ever since I learned I was going to live in Niihama.
It took about 40 min to get there by bike, all up hill, for this temple is located at the base of the mountains (and I live by the coast.) The entire last stretch of gravel road leading up to the entrance was lined with a cemetery, as if asking you to remember that yes, you will soon be visiting here too.
I got the entrance around 8:00, exhausted, greeted by a stunning sculpture of Daruma, the founder of Zen, and Kannan, the bodhisattva of compassion. Everything was fresh, glittering light, luminous, numinous trees and stone steps, wood walls, the insects and birds singing away. I stumbled around finding my way to the sitting hall and I discovered about twenty other “first timers” already there. I guess I was a little late. A beautiful, Beautiful monk holding a large black stick ushered me in, showed me where to sit, and I tell you I was so tied it felt wonderful to sit down. Mingure Rinpoche, a Tibetan teacher who came to talk at KU, told us that when you sit, imagine you have just run a marathon and you get to finally sit down. That is how relaxed you should be. I was also reminded of the Zen temple in Lawrence that begins its morning service with 108 prostrations leaving you sweating and exhausted by the time you get to sit and look at the wall. I guess if I do this every Sunday the bike ride will be like my prostrations.
Sweat still dripping down my back, I got into posture and stared at the wood wall, finding a nice white knot to rest on. In Zen meditation, one just simply sits looking at the wall, placing awareness on the breath, and the instructor walks around looking for any signs of drowsiness, and if you show any sign at all, such as droopy shoulders or eyes, he will give you a light hit with his stick. I didn’t get to experience this, but I almost slouched a little just to see what it would be like.
So we sat for 30 min, then chanted for fifteen, then did walking meditation for another fifteen. Afterwards, we all went across the courtyard to a small room where tea and sweets awaited us. There, we asked the monk questions and talked about how we liked our zazen experience. I heard one man say his legs really hurt. After everyone left, I told the monk that I am a beginning practitioner and would like to come back and he gave me a book of sutras and a Zen newsletter in English. Isn’t that wonderful!
The sutra we all chanted together seemed to be about how to sit. That is all. Just sitting instructions. “…Put your right foot on your left thigh. Put your left foot on your right thigh. “Keep the back straight. Place hands in lap. This is how we sit.” That kind of stuff. It probably says more. I will translate it later.
On my way home I explored the cemetery. I saw many people cleaning/sweeping, the gravesites, lighting incense, placing flowers and offerings such as sweets, rice, and even canned drinks in front to graves. I liked seeing the city down below the cemetery. It reminded me of a drawing I did, where it looks like the city kind of turns into the cemetery. Only here I thought of the ancestors, the dead, looking out at their children, knowing they are only moments away from joining them on this mountainside. Buildings do look like, or at least have the same shape, as tombstones.

Now for a more in depth look at Zen Meditation. In Zen, and particularly in Soto Zen, a sect founded by Dogen (1200-1253) Buddhist practice itself is enlightenment. It is “Buddha activity.” “The journey is the destination.” If you are interested, Zen meditation places emphasis on single pointed concentration, whether that is on the breath, or on a spot on the wall in front of you, or on the sound of a bell. Whatever. The most popular is the breath. And you should have a straight back, and you must not close your eyes.
Anyone who practices “being mindful of the breath” even for a few minutes discovers that their minds are, as the Buddhists say, like that of a monkey’s, jumping all over the place, compulsively active, obsessively thinking. You are always talking to yourself! And therefore it is nearly impossible to keep some attention on the breath for even a few minutes. This is exactly what you are supposed to discover. Then the question arises “well, shit, why can’t I stop thinking and just focus on my breath!? Who is in control here?”
Eventually it might dawn on you that your mind is out of control! Actually, most people already know this, but to sit down and take at look at your mind, and then try to direct it where you want it to go, such as on the breath, can be very disheartening. In fact, it keeps many people away from ever meditation again. But if you take up the challenge, and do the experiment of meditation, you will see results. You will develop concentration.
One way this is done is, after following after thoughts for a while, you remember that you are supposed to be following the breath, and so you release the thoughts, and return to the breath. This is very natural and easy and gentle. Another thought comes up, and you let it go again. The point is to keep letting everything go. Let go let go let go. Desires come up, thoughts, plans, fantasies, doubts, concepts, horrible memories, all sorts of stuff will come up and you just let it go and return to the breath. After a while you see that thoughts are like clouds, they come and they go, and they come and they go, and you are actually a presence that remains unmoved. You are the sky, looking down at all the clouds passing through you. And, like the sky, you are clear, spacious, open, and free. You are actually an opening or clearing through which all thoughts and experiences come and go ceaselessly. Discovering this clear, spacious nature of your being is like discovering the vast ocean residing beneath all the waves whiling on the surface. There is a release, a stillness, a peace, a freedom expanding without limit. And that is just the beginning of Zen meditation.
(Initial meditation experiences are also likened to being at a movie. You sit and watch all these fantasies and thoughts pass by in front of your awareness, without actually getting up and following after them. You just watch them go by, just like how you watch a movie, or you watch clouds go by in the sky. You let your monkey mind go wherever it will, and just watch. Let me know if you want to know more. Or, just meditate and see for yourself. )
Yeah, looking at meditation like a science experiment is very important. Actually, im not going to rant about meditation again. Nevermind.

May all beings be Free and in Love.

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