Innovation – Recognition – Ambition

The O.B.C. web site now has a link to Jade Mountains. This means Jade has joined the ranks of the officially recognized order temples and meditation groups listed within the International section of our website. It is the first weblog maintained by a monk of our Order to be recognized. Maybe it will be the first of many…

For an individual to have a personal website, not to mention a weblog, is a departure from the norm within my organization. So I’m especially grateful for the patience and the huge measures of tolerance extended towards my on-line efforts during the past five years.

Innovating within an organization is a testing business. A few months back I stumbled upon a great book called, The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything by Guy Kawasaki. You might think this book is all about how to start a for-profit company, not so. Innovating within for-profit and non profit organizations are equally addressed.

Guy Kawasaki has a blog, How to Change the World and Alltops a news feed site. Jade is listed in the Religion section.

And Zen Master Dogen has a lot to say about getting caught up in fame and gain, he also has a lot to say about giving expression and that need not be driven by ambition.

Jade Mountain Origins

Helmut and Mugo in the garden in Idaho 4th July

Jade Mountains was started originally in 2003 and the first posting was written in the cabin where I’m staying at the moment. Earlier in 2003 I met Helmut, who I’ve know for quite a number of years, he greeted me saying, Hi Jade Mountain, good to see you! He knew about monks going by the name of their temple, which in turn is usually named after a nearby mountain.

Helmut’s greeting probably influenced me to choose the name Jade Mountains for my website, which is a reference back to my temple, as was, Jade Mountain Buddha Hall, a 35 foot trailer in Cornwall. The trailer needed a name and that’s what I came up with. Hover your cursor over the About tab at the top of this page and you will find a bit of website history. Incidentally, there are no mountains in Cornwall however there is St. Michael’s Mount near Penzance and I like to think that is the mountain linked to Jade Mountain Buddha Hall.

The young chap who has walked beside me during and after he transported all the Moving Mountains content into the original Jade Mountain sent an email with an update on site use statistics. I’ve nothing to compare them with however the numbers do seem to be getting larger over the months after the transition in early April.

I hope all is well. I thought you might be interested in an overview of the blog’s performance over the past few months:

Unique Visitors
April 1,187
May 1,632
June 2,079

April 3,706
May 4,876
June 5,950

Page Views
April 35,118
May 26,714
June 44,124

This means that in June 2,079 people visited the site 5,950 times (a little more than twice each) and looked at a total of 44,124 pages. The trend is consistently upward which means the technical bits are doing their job in promoting the site…. Your total page views for 2008 are around 120,000.

Thanks John and it was good to chat on the telephone today. Perhaps there will be a chance to post a photograph of you and me while I’m in North America. Oh, and Happy Birthday on August 9th when you transition to being a young(ish) chap! As it happens that will be the day the overall winner of the Shed of the Year results will be published.

There is something to be said about the flow of cause and effect in connection with the development of this site and the people who have helped it happen. And have helped keep it going too.

Tonight as I sit on a deck overlooking a stream with the light dimming I’m going to leave it at that. Well except to say that none of us know the effects of our actions, we just wish them to be for the good. A good beyond paired opposites of good/bad, right/wrong. (The last sentence was added 14th July 2008 in order to clarify the meaning of my use of good in the previous sentence.)

Thank you one and all.

Beware! Words On The Loose

Visions of errant wheelchair user hurtling across the car park attached to a tow truck!

And here is an author who is Planting Words. I rather like todays posting Too Many Words

I’ve spent the morning thinking, reading and writing words. Answering interview questions for my blog tour. Reading and article about long time Buddhists. Replying to an email from a local artist I met yesterday, and checking out her blog which leads to more blogs, more blogs, more blogs.

Sometimes there are too many words.

I’ll be hosting Fiona July 9th on her blog tour for her new book Small Stones. You can see the contents on the blog of the same name.

Now all I need to do is come up with some questions for the interview and then set up a time for a live messaging session.

Inhaling and Exhaling

If you want to write you have to read;
It’s as essential as breathing.
Breathing in – reading. Breathing out – writing.

A hut in Idaho, a welcomed rural retreat

How may I improve my writing? I asked. She said, Read!
What can you recommend? I asked. She said, You will find what is good to read? It will fall off a shelf, make itself known. And she was right!

On San Juan Island I picked a book off the shelf hoping to induce sleep. Dakota.
At the rummage sale in Portland last Saturday the same book gazed up at me from the sidewalk. Dakota. Dakota: A Spiritual Geography, by Kathleen Norris.

Thanks to Eido-san and to Margaret for your help, encouragement and know-how.

Illuminated log in the early morning after rain

The Grey Dog

Yesterday as we were leaving Portland on the Greyhound bus the driver, in jolly upbeat mood, made his statutory announcements to the passengers. There were ones about not smoking (anything), not drinking (anywhere), and then to sign off he said something surprising.

Sit back, relax and enjoy yourself. When you get home tell all your friends that it’s not so bad to travel by Greyhound after all.

It turns out that Greyhound has recently been bought out by a British company. The very same company that runs trains from Hexham to Newcastle in Northumberland, trains we use regularly. They are not so bad too!

The night before leaving Portland several of us visited the garden and home of two sangha friends. There is much I could say about our visit, the garden was as ever stupendous, the company inspiring and the food offering gratefully received.

For keen gardeners The Oregonian recently published an article about the garden planting and Marsh and Fear have been busy following the publication of the article. Well done it is not so easy to get this kind of business off the ground.

Thanks to both Gary and Anne for showing us around your paradise, and into your home, kitchen and hearts. A bow to Gary for traveling the Buddhist path with us, starting well before I did.