are not separate
from the Way.

Words at the start of the 90 day monastic training ‘term’.

And another way of putting the same thing:
Conditions reveal the next step…

Meeting On The Cloister

Who would have thought
A short walk
Today on the

Would lift my day
Bring confirmation
To many a heartfelt

Still I’m amazed
Truly so
That people I meet

What’s more on the cloister
Gentle fullness
Like sun ripened

All of which
Is an inspiration
To keep on

With thanks to Bob


I’ve been going back through post and responding to comments. I think I got as far back as the Berkeley Hat Shop post in late August with the photo of the fluffy pink flamingo hat. For new readers, yes this is a Buddhist blog…with an appreciation and enjoyment of all that comes my way.

I hope you have the patience to go back and read the comments especially if you left a comment recently.

A Proclamation – Not For Cats

This is in memory of Chester who died nearly two years ago. He was a lovely dog and apparently he could sing! This video is for your dog, or children but most definitely not for you cat(s).

Chester ‘Singing’ from Mugo on Vimeo.

There is nothing like a dog howling. I loved to howl along with our dog as a child. He would sit at the door wanting to go out and we would sit there together. Howling. Yes, I did encouraging him but it didn’t take much to get him going. There is something to penetrating sound and we use it in Buddhism. I’m thinking of the Conch shell used during the last ceremony of Jukai. The Ceremony of Recognition.

It is said that the sound of the Conch penetrates the far reaches of the Universe. It is an exclamation, an exaltation. To sound a proclamation that these people have received the Precepts and become Buddha. Dear Chester is proclaiming however I’m not sure what exactly. Hope you and your dog(s) enjoy the video.

On the theme of sounds. A monastic friend announced his new word as we ate our lunch together today. Xylophonically, to speak xylophonically means to sound like rattling wood. (Xylo apparently means wood.) Rather like how one might sound sporting wooden teeth! However the definition can be expanded but I’m not going there….

There must be a word that describes the sound of the Conch, and dogs singing. Xylophonic I think not!

Many tributes to Chester were attached as comments to the Post Animal Rescue- Animal Friends.

Dogen’s Encounter With The Chief Cook


Zen Master Dogen had a couple of major turn arounds while he was in China and both were connected with mushrooms! The first was his encounter with an elderly chief cook who came to buy mushrooms from the boat the young Dogen was on. (When he arrived in China he was not able to immediately disembark and so had to remain on the boat until he was clear to land – immigration difficulties even in those days). The second encounter was when he had gone ashore and had finally arrived at Tendozan. There he came across another elderly monk who was drying mushrooms in the heat of the day. Both encounters were formative and they both pointed to the primacy of simple work and the importance of applying oneself to that as a priority.

We celebrated the Festival of Zen Master Dogen here at Shasta Abbey this morning and Rev. Master Daishin, the Vice Abbot, gave the talk after the ceremony. The title of the talk is Great Master Dogen’s Three Minds and can be downloaded from the Shasta Abbey website. I wholeheatedly recommend listening to it.

Rev. Master Daishin was the Chief Cook while I was training here and I, like most of the novices, benefited from working with him in the kitchen in the 1980’s. The talk reflects his hands on practical approach to monastic life as well as his upbeat sense of fun and joy in living, which have had a huge impact on me. Fantastic. This afternoon I tracked him down to check something he said in the talk that I wanted to quote him on. He was splitting wood, hands on practical as ever. Unfortunately I’m not confident in my memory to quote him now. You will just have to go listen to the whole talk. Mushrooms are mentioned since the Reverend elaborates on Dogens two formative encounters mentioned earlier. I’m so glad too since I was wondering how I’d be able to post this photograph taken at the Monterey Market and have any kind of link to Buddhism. Thank you Zen Master Dogen and thanks to the Rev. Master Daishin too.

This post is for a young Reverend who reads posts here. And for all young Reverends, and trainees generally, everywhere

The following information, in edited form, is from the comment section.

For those who are interested, you can find four talks Rev. Master Daishin gave on the whole chapter of Instructions to the Chief Cook by Great Master Dogen.

The text for the above chapter can be found within Zen Is Eternal Life, by Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett. It’s a free download.

Thanks to the ‘young Reverend’. You should know it is my choice not to mention monks by name, unless I’ve got their permission.