Category Archives: Uncategorized

Human, insightful, Often Profound

The author of the blog Undeceivable came to Throssel a number of times, we must have got talking and kept in touch for a while. I was so delighted to have a comment the other day letting me know he was getting notifications to my posts. Really! There are people following here I have no idea about so it was a real delight to reconnect.

I can do no better this evening than to post this link to Undeceivable – nature, zen and sliding. The link takes you to all the posts labeled Zen for Idiots, human, insightful, often profound. Fun too.

Thanks good friend. Keep on gardening and growing trees. Let’s get down to the important thing.

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Tend one’s Own Garden

I’ve spent several hours writing a post, but Voltaire says it so much better…

This is Voltaire who said in Candide, ‘tending one’s own garden is not only a private activity but also productive’.

With thanks to Annette for the quote. As she says, and I paraphrase, this may not solve our troubled world however it gives some quiet space to think and reflect.

And the ‘garden’, our life lived is a Bodhsattvas playground. Endless opportunities to stretch out a hand, open one’s mind.

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View From My Window

Thinking of those who are suffering in the cold. Caught out doors, sleeping rough.

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Faith to Leap Beyond Fear

First published 29th January 2007.

I left meditation this evening thinking about cats and what a comfort they can be. Since I don’t have one living close by I thought I’d publish this photo of Ms. Marple, an American cat. It makes a good lead into the teaching of Nanzan and the cat.

There is a famous koan about a Chinese Chan master called Nanquan or Nanzan, who cut a cat in two in order to teach his students about grasping. It appears in many different koan collections and is the ninth case of the “Shoyoroku” :

“One day the monks of the western and eastern halls of Nanquan’s monastery were squabbling over a cat. When Nanquan saw this going on he seized the cat and held it up before them and said, ‘Say one true word or I’ll cut it.’

“No one could say anything. Nanquan cut the cat in two.” (sadly the link I published in 2007 no longer points to this quote.)

One will never know if this event actually took place. It was after all a long time ago and far away. However the koan (problem) is still alive because it is, like all the koans, an expression of the condition of the human mind which grasps at things, concepts, ideals. At base the purpose of koans, and the naturally arising koan of daily life, are presented to propel the mind past the grasping.

The answer to all of the koans, and problems of daily life, is faith. The faith to let go of even this. And then attempt to be the best person one can be.

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This story linked to below has touched me. A young air traffic controller staying put in his tower to guide a plane to take off safely. As a consequence saving the lives of a plane load of passengers and losing his.

Time to contemplate. Time to offer spiritual merit. Time to remain open hearted. Could become numbed. Time to sit still, very still.

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