Category Archives: Teachings

Being Mortal

Being Mortal - A Bubble in a Stream
Being Mortal – A Bubble in a Stream

As a bubble in
a stream
a phantasm
a dream.

Who knows how and where
the sweet dew
of mortal life
will…make manifest.

In life do we notice?
Yes! But life is eternal
Isn’t it?
Right now never ends!

With a crash or a thud
or a slow dribbling
Life breath stops

Eternal night? – a fantasy.

Opening palms skywards
the sweet dew
in our deepest Heart.

This is for Rosie who met a tragic end the other day and for Grant, My Luminous Friend, who took his last breath a year ago. My thoughts for those who watched the breathing stop. And still the ‘sweet dew’ remains. In the words of Neil Sedaka, Breaking up is hard to do.

And thanks to Mark, once again, for his photograph.

Understanding Commitment – a Talk

Dragon Fly 2Well done Mark for capturing images of this Dragonfly. Sometime I’ll write about Dragons and the Buddhist teaching they are associated with.  Needless to say the photograph, and dragons in general, have nothing to do with the subject of this post!

A talk by me titled Understanding Commitment, or appreciating the evolution of commitment to practice, has recently been uploaded onto the Throssel Hole Abbey website. Thought you might be interested.

Tomorrow I head towards Norwich for the start of a nine day ‘tour’. The weather doesn’t look that special. Have a thought…please.

Cannot Be Given or Stolen

Ryokan, it is said, returned to his hut late one evening to find a thief there. He took this calmly – it was clear to both of them that there wasn’t anything worth robbing in his hut.  Ryokan was troubled because he didn’t want the man to leave empty-handed having walked up the mountain to see him. So he took all his cloths off and gave them to the thief. The thief took them and slunk off down the mountain…..

After he had left Ryokan mused, ‘Poor fellow, I wish I could have given him this beautiful moon’. Ryokan sitting naked gazing at the moon wrote the following poem.

The thief left it behind:
the moon
at my window.

Thanks to Mark for the beautiful photograph of the moon, apparently taken a short time before, or was it after, I made my last post.

No Finger No Moon!

I have been sitting with this small piece by Zen Master Ryokan. I love it. It has been a long time since I ventured into his work. However the other day, while passing though the library, a book as good as fell off the shelf.  And here I am – sitting with Ryokan again.

You see the moon by pointing your finger.
You recognize the finger by the moon.
The moon and the finger
are not different, not the same.
In order to guide a beginner,
this analogy is temporarily used.
When you have realized this,
there is no moon, no finger.

We must not allow ourselves to imagine that the moon and the finger are abandoned. Ever! However tempting it might be to think, or say, Oh yes, I know that, no finger no moon. Truth is we both do and don’t know, at the same time! I guess that’s why I’ve been sitting with this poem. Join me.

Take Heed


Iain’s bequest:
to point us in
the right direction, yet
you really have to
look them out
before they’ll
invite you in.
A perfect posture:
not bending
over backwards
to gratify you –
rather bending
towards you,
to meet you
Even sunlight,
brought to its knees,
only half-illumines
such a purpling
of the blues.
No impulsive gusts
can fluster
the playful attitude
of bowed heads.
It may seem that
all is easy
as gazing
off a mossy log,
but, take heed,
or all you will see
is flowers.

June 2015
Paul Taylor

In memory of the late Iain Robinson, who showed Paul this wood in Garstang.