Category Archives: This and That

Connections

Quite by chance, on Monday, I saw a chap briefly who I’d met at Throssel before. It was a significant meeting back then since he’d been helping an isolated member I have responsibility for. Turns out he’d been here all week-end, and I didn’t know. That sometimes happens since guests are generally on retreat and the monks help that process by not engaging people in casual conversation. Which means we are not looking about to see who’s here, of course.

If you plan to come on retreat, or to stay, and would like to say hi please drop me a line before you get here. Or say something the the Guest Department monks. That way I can make sure to bump into you at an appropriate moment. It’s always a pleasure and a joy.

Yes, it was a happy meeting on Monday. Not only for seeing a familiar face but for being reminded that he was, and still is a Jade reader! And because our on-line conversation, via the comments section, back some time last year was connected with death I promised to mention the name of a book I find most helpful. And the book is: There’s More to Dying than Death, Lama Shenpen Hookham.

Monday’s meeting was just one more nudge to get more Bodhi Leaf pins/badges made. There are more of you out there gazing at the screen than I had thought. And one more old friend tells me, via email, he will be checking in again. Welcome back! Glad you’re alive.

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Bodhi Leaf Pins and Pendents

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For years the Abbey ran a mail order business selling Buddhist Supplies. Guests and monks laboured long and hard stuffing meditation cushions during working meditation periods. Cushions, as well as benches and mats, were then sold both in the Gift Shop on site and via mail order. Oh, and when the China Order arrived it was all hands on deck helping to check through the boxes lining the cloister to make sure the goods had survived the journey. Sometimes statues came broken and were sold as seconds in the Gift Shop. The shop remains, however the mail order business ceased several years ago.

As I understand it these Bodhi Leaf Pendents were designed by us then manufactured in the east. I’ve always liked them a lot and since I’d some Dana looking to be circulated I bought a quantity at the Gift Shop today. Now I’ve something to give regular readers I bump into in person, or hear from via email and comments.

If you are a silent reader, let me know. Your invisible presence is appreciated, welcomed and received with gratitude. As is the presence of those I know about.

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People and Their Dogs

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Jim and Joanna are my hosts this night. Their Corgi dogs are two sets of pointing ears with bodies attached who dote on Jim, who in turn dotes on them. Bless ’em all.
Jim writes a blog about these remarkable dogs.

The two dogs looked back and forth from me to the merchandise and other shoppers. I am fairly sure I detected some eye rolling on a couple of them. I suppose it is a common reaction to seeing a seedy-looking, sixties-something guy, crooning away to his dogs and wheeling them around the store in a shopping cart. From a post titled, Dog People are Silly

This evening during the meditation group meeting at Seabold Community Center I realized, not for the first time, how very fortunate I am to be invited into the lives of so many interesting, impressive, funny, eloquent people. And their dogs. Who are interesting, impressive, funny and eloquent!

We all have our special qualities which carry a particular charm. There is love in this.

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Entering Into Faith

I’ve been talking about the Flower Sermon. This is the teaching from the time of the historic Buddha which is at the heart of the practice within Zen.

“I possess the true Dharma eye, the marvelous mind of Nirvana, the true form of the formless, the subtle Dharma Gate that does not rest on words or letters but is a special transmission outside of the scriptures. This I entrust to Mahakasyapa.” Shakyamuni Buddha.

As I see it the ‘flower’ is constantly being raised before us throughout the day. It may not look attractive and at first may not be seen for what it actually is. These flowers are however no less the flower held up by Shakyamuni Buddha and we can smile in recognition. This is where faith enters in, or there is an entering into faith.

In the spirit of holding up the flower I thought you’d be interested in this small dog in a Japanese temple who has learned to copy the priest it lives with.

Mimicking his master, priest Joei Yoshikuni, a 1 1/2-year-old black-and-white Chihuahua named Conan joins in the daily prayers at Naha’s Shuri Kannondo temple, sitting up on his hind legs and putting his front paws together before the altar.

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Blogger Appreciation Day

Walter of Evolving Space is back in Singapore and writing again. Sometimes it’s good to take a break and come back refreshed helping to make the world a better place. Mensch is the word, Walter is a mensch in the scientific community. Blush all you like I believe it is true. That’s enough for Blogger Appreciation Day. Here’s a picture taken last week at the British Library in London.

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See Guy Kawasaki’s blog for more on Mensch qualities.

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