Category Archives: Teachings

Time Not Passing

Limestone Pavement
Limestone Pavement

The unknown, the Unknowing. Falling. Falling over. Hurt. Old body, seen life. Falling. Falling over. Hurting. Much water passing, many clouds wafting.

Through a keyhole. Surgery. Saintly surgeon. The unknown, the Unknowing. Then. A Mallard Duck. Motionless in a glass cage. Stuffed? Later gone. Up through the top of the cage. Gone. Just like that.

Wonders never cease. Do they? Slip a card into a slot, a slit. Later. Cash! (Sorry, no receipt.) Yes, plastic bag please. Crossing the road. Not getting run over. Coins. Money. Purchase. Food cooked and eaten.

Been around and about. Now back.

When people you know and love are on the brink, in danger of passing away. At least the possibility. Simple things come into sharp focus. Crazy things like the trapped duck in the middle of a hospital. Leave a lasting impression. Just everyday living, just for a short while, is deeper than you’d ever think.

How does it go? There is an ‘unknowing’, that goes on for ever and ever. And is even now.

Where is the Joy?

At Throssel last Sunday for the day, Buddha Day, celebrating the birth and enlightenment of the historic Buddha. The Enlightened One.

The main altar was sparkling, the flower bower over the baby Buddha, inspired. One after the other in procession during the celebration ceremony we ‘bathed’ the Buddha. We ladled pure water over the golden statue, and walked on.

Many times over the years I have participated in this ceremony. This year was different for me. ‘Where is the joy’? I asked myself casually. In the singing? The abundance of flowers or people or children? Being with the monastic community?

Where is the joy?
Who knows?
Who asks?

Listen to Rev. Master Daishin’s Dharma Talk, The Illusion of “Me” given after the ceremony.

Writing is for:

1 painted desk

Writing is for:
dredging up
unknowing.
Eternal ‘not knowing’

There are people we meet in life who help bring about a profound change. A change in ones life  direction, thinking and most especially take one deeper than ones own mind. Just so. My first writing at my now transformed writing desk was about just such a profound meeting which came through the medium of television.

At age fourteen I witnessed, I was to discover later, my teacher Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett being interviewed for British TV soon after she arrived in Japan to study with Zen Master Koho Zenji. She was standing with shaven head and flowing robes, resolute, in a garden in the grounds of Soji-ji Temple, Yokohama Japan. As the interview concluded up into my mind came, If she can do it, I can do it too. That’s all it takes. A thought unbidden, seemingly out of nowhere which in my case lead me towards  ordination as a Buddhist monastic. At the time I was not in the least bit interested in religion. Far from it.

Anyway, my first piece of writing at my transformed desk was for the OBC Journal, and I will publish the short paragraph after the Journal is published.

For all the people who have come into our lives, for all the twists and turns they have brought about which have us here now. We are alive, breathing. For that, and much more, we can be grateful. But who’s counting?

Is, Was and Will be Enlightened

bud and blossom1

And the day came
when the risk
to remain tight
in a bud
was more painful
than the risk it took
to blossom.

Anais Nin

I love what I read on Listening Ear. This article Asking for Help, Risk and Reward was in the monthly newsletter, where I picked up on the above quote. Thanks Megan. You are a blossom one and no mistake. As are all the budding blossoms in the world. That would be all beings. Note I wrote budding blossoms pointing out our lives are not bound by time. Shakyamuni Buddha is, was and will be Enlightened TOGETHER WITH all living things. And with the historic Buddha in mind……

We are coming up for the time of the celebration of the Buddha’s birth and enlightenment, known as Wesak. This Sunday I’ll be at Throssel  to celebrate. If the snow isn’t too deep!

Unbounded Living

Bird in the sky

Oh Holy Buddha I pray
I may continue to
fly in the clear blue sky.

Falling to the ground I pray
I will land on both feet
rising again on joy filled wings.

Rising, falling
1000 times down
1001 times up.

Near or far high or low
up or gasping
for life itself.

Within and beyond
is the boundless sky.
We are as that.


This post, the merit of this post, is for those who are struggling with life itself.
The gist of the above writing comes from a piece I recited at the end of my Chief Junior ceremony. Which I did in 1982. The ceremony marks a major step in ones novice training. Thank you to Mark for this amazing photograph. He was not to know how special the image is for me. As it is for him.