Saturday, January 9, 2010


Every time a dear friend dies I revisit my thoughts about death. I told my wife that we are on a train... and one day the train crashes and that's the end. No, she said, we just get off the train when we get where we are going.

I sat (zazen) all morning, and my mind wandered to thoughts of my former student and friend, Robin Valle. She was one of the first of my students to shun classical ideals and had great fun doing her work. I learned a lot from her.

As I was sitting, I put aside the train metaphor, and went to using a stream instead (more of a Buddhist image). I imagined a particular stream (creek) in Oregon that I love. I saw particles clinging to the side, and imagined that from time to time they would catch a breeze and become a bubble (aka life), and start floating down the creek. Some would float for a long time (Bodhidharma lived to be 150!). Others would hit a rock or a branch, and lights would be out. But the creek (aka train) would keep on truckin'.

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Who's in the world?

Xiushan said, "What can you do about the world?" Dizang said, "What do you call the world?"