Category Archives: Out and About

A Hole in Samsara


There are those little moments, those sights or sounds, which have a powerful impact lifting the spirits when times are hard. Such was the case for a Jade reader, whose wife is on hospice care, who experienced the following while out of the house for a brief time of respite.

A grey drizzly Sunday morning in Lancaster. Walking the dog, we crossed the bridge over the canal and followed the glistening wet cobbles of the spiral staircase specially sloped for the long-gone horses that used to tow the barges. We stopped while the dog raised his leg to leave his mark on the wall.

The drizzle eased for a brief moment and glancing up I saw a tiny hole in the cloudy murk reveal the blue sky beyond. A soft “chug – chug” announced the slow approach of a narrow boat barely making a ripple as it traveled through the water. As the boat past, the man at the tiller and I waved to each other simultaneously and spontaneously. Then he and the boat passed under the bridge and were gone. The dog and I continued on our way.

Nothing special. Yet highly significant. A moment of total harmony. A glimpse of Nirvana through a hole in Samsara.
9th. September 2018

While we teach there is no gap between Nirvana and Samsara such experiences as described above touch a deep part of ones being showing ones heart some much appreciated ‘light’.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Appreciating The Day

Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey at the time of Wesak.

Yesterday, Wesak Day.  We celebrate the Buddhas Birth and Enlightenment sometime during May, the event marks the Buddhist New Year.   Traditionally Wesak is on the Sunday that is closest to May’s full moon.  In Malaysia this year that’s the 29th May.  As a point of interest Rev. Master Jiyu’s Ordination Master, the Venerable Seck Kim Seng, was instrumental in getting Wesak Day made into a public holiday in Malaysia.

As you can see we get out the Buddhist, home-made, bunting and generally decorate brightly around the monastery.  I was fortunate to be at Throssel on Sunday to join in the celebrations.

Moments of repose in the greening of England.

Today, a public holiday.  Moments of repose beside a river:  here  Wild Garlic in profusion, a Blue Heron statue like, birds calling.  A lone duck floats by on the current.  Ah! the sunshine, the warmth. The profusion of greenery.  It’s been a record-breaking day in terms of temperatures.  A good day all around. Even the trash looks good today!

Sitting beside the river this afternoon my mind wandered to those less fortunate all around the wide world.  This post is for them.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Inside Eiheiji – Video

In 2005 I was witness to the training going on here at Eiheiji. We, the late Iain Robinson and I were escorted everywhere and left in no doubt as to where and what was expected of us. Interesting, informative, educational and stressful! The highlight for me was being invited to offer incense at the main altar during Morning Service. All very formal, we survived! Thought readers would want to view this ‘window’ on how young monks are trained to be priests in Japan.

Eiheiji is a world-famous Zen monastery located in the mountains 200 kilometers northeast of Kyoto. As the temple’s founder Dogen prescribed, the core practice is zazen: simply sitting to calm the mind and examine one’s self. Most of the 150 monks are in their 20’s. They live at the temple, devoting themselves to uninterrupted Zen practice. With unprecedented access inside this remarkable temple, where Dogen’s teachings have been practiced unchanged for over 770 years, the program follows the monks’ lives over the course of 6 months.

This video is available until May 2, 2018

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Trees Are?


….as lace tracing intricate patterns across the sky. Trees rooted and flying, simultaneously. As are we.


….relational. Generational. Alive and decaying, simultaneously. As are we.

Ah the wonders to behold, our friends yet to sprout into greens and fruits. Holding Great Potential in their tracery. As do we.

Dear Readers,
Yes, it has been a long age since I sat before my laptop and so easily uploaded photographs, formatted them and now about to publish. I’ve been using a phone and tablet these past…could it be true? Nine months! The call has been getting louder to return to posting on Jade so here I am, answering. I have been active as Hounmugo on Facebook since May. Not at all sure how long that will last though.
Bows, Mugo

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Unapologetic Discriminator

As with dogs, so with us humans? I’m prepared to run with this.

Attention is an intentional,
unapologetic
discriminator.
It asks what is relevant
right now,
and gears us up to notice
only that.

Alexandra Horowitz
Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know

Horowitz introduces the reader to dogs’ perceptual and cognitive abilities and then draws a picture of what it might be like to be a dog. What’s it like to be able to smell not just every bit of open food in the house but also to smell sadness in humans, or even the passage of time? How does a tiny dog manage to play successfully with a Great Dane? What is it like to hear the bodily vibrations of insects or the hum of a fluorescent light? Why must a person on a bicycle be chased? What’s it like to use your mouth as a hand? In short, what is it like for a dog to experience life from two feet off the ground, amidst the smells of the sidewalk, gazing at our ankles or knees?


With a hat tip to Frank whose emails end with the Attention quote.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email