My Life

read 10,000 books.
sit 10,000 days.
walk 10,000 miles.

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This and That, Here and There

by creating and naming a ‘thing’,
—an object over there
we imply a ‘subjectivity’ over here.
by creating a symbol of the ‘thing’
—a sense impression, a photo
we assume acquisition of it.
by creating a ‘mine’ over there
—we reinforce the fabrication of an ‘I’ over here.
every conflict creates a place,
a location ‘out there’ in space
—where something other than ‘in here’ is happening.
we are all territorial.
projecting, tagging our names
—on the dull concrete walls of life.
every eddy of content versus context
creates another little whirlpool of meaning
—in the river of what we call life.

but wait a minute: what is this thing we call life?
is it not just a river of names?
this life as actually lived
is nothing at all.

As I was Walking…

…up and down beneath a tree,
whistling twittery birdsongs
that i heard for free,
a little bird done said to me:

“every bird sits in its own tree,
with its own song and its own tune.
the squrrels and insects chime in too,
each with its own song and its own tune.

“only you humans do not sing
with your own song and your own tune.
you copy each others tunes
and never sing your own.”

i said, “the no-tune is the best,
the one that holds all the others.”

he said, “bright, bright is the bobwhite
melancholy is the whipporwhil.
each bird sits in its own tree,
with its own song and its own tune.”

The Arahant: Parent and Child

Q: You often say that Buddhism is not a religion. What do you mean by that?

A: Don’t misquote me! ‘Buddhism’ [makes finger quotes] is certainly a religion; the problem is, it has little to do with the Buddha’s original teaching. I make a sharp distinction between the original teaching and the various derivative religious teachings. They can’t be compared at all. Continue reading The Arahant: Parent and Child

From Suffering to Contentment

All it Takes is Integrity.

Suffering isn’t static; when we are in the crucible of suffering we writhe and wiggle, struggling to end our pain. In terms of Dependent Origination, we fabricate many different ‘I’s trying to end the suffering. But as long as the false identities we fabricate are based on ignorance—desire or aversion—we cannot end our suffering. Indeed, we simply perpetuate it.  Continue reading From Suffering to Contentment

The Arahant: Paradox of Teaching

Q: “Those who know don’t teach,” and the corollary: “Those who teach don’t know.” This comes from Lao Tzu or Chuang Tzu; what do you think?

A: It’s true, and this is the essential paradox of teaching. When you know, when you come to realization, you can clearly see that Nibbāna is impossible to express in words or any other way. So how to teach it? It cannot be taught; it can only be learned and experienced for oneself. Therefore if a person wants to teach or be taught enlightenment, it means they are already a failure because it cannot be taught. So if I am realized and I know this, then why would I agree to be a teacher and accept students? Continue reading The Arahant: Paradox of Teaching