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2014

April
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15
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6 Dharma Talk with Gene
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13
Poetry Sunday
20 Well Being Service
25 Night Shelter Cooking

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10
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17 Well Being Service
22 Night Shelter Cooking
31 Dharma Talk with Gene

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12
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14
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21 Well Being Service
26 Night Shelter Cooking
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28 Dharma Talk with Gene

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10 Night Shelter Cooking
12
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14 Full Moon Ceremony
19 Well Being Service
24 Night Shelter Cooking

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2 Dharma Talk with Gene
9 Dharma Talk with Gene
11 Full Moon Ceremony
14
Night Shelter Cooking
16
Poetry Sunday
16 Well Being Service
28 Night Shelter Cooking
28 Dharma Talk with Gene

December
1-6 Rohatsu Sesshin with Gene
7 Dharma Talk with Gene
9 Full Moon Ceremony
12
Night Shelter Cooking
14
Poetry Sunday
21 Well Being Service
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No. 2 ~ 2006



Table of Contents


The Americanization of Zen  ~  Gael Hodgkins and Bill Devall

Heart Song  ~  Mitch Trachtenberg

In the Lineage of Good Company  ~   Lynda McDevitt

Skip the car!  ~  Barry Evans

Dharma Gates Are Boundless: A Sangha Column  edited by Michael Quam

Buddhist Peace Fellowship:  In the News





The Americanization of Zen

Gael Hodgkins and Bill Devall

In the following essay, Gael Hodgkins and Bill Devall present a provocative set of issues and questions regarding the Americanization of Zen. In future issues of Rin Shin-ji Voices we will reserve space for creative and lively responses (notice we didn’t say reactions) on this general topic. So, please send your own thoughts, and please, for editorial reasons, keep your responses under 1000 words. We look forward to a long conversation, rich and deep, in the pages of this journal. (The Editors)


“The Americanization of Zen” is the topic we were asked to address by the editorial board of Rin Shin-ji Voices. Further, it was suggested that the article be an introductory one, laying out some of the broader issues this topic inspires and serving as a “launching point for an ongoing dialogue for future newsletters.”

Overarching this thought-provoking subject is Shakyamuni Buddha’s reasons for teaching the dharma. It will be remembered that after his enlightenment, he was reluctant to teach what he had learned because he thought his teaching would not be understood. The god Brahma appeared to him and reminded him that “there are beings with but little dust in their eyes” and so the Buddha Shakymuni went on to teach for 40 years. In more than one place in the Pali Canon he asserted his motivation to be “for the welfare and happiness of the multitude, out of compassion for the world, for the benefit, welfare and happiness” of all sentient beings. Following his dharma, it is suggested that the Americanization of Zen be considered with this teaching in mind: What provides for the welfare and happiness of all sentient and non-sentient beings?

Suggested Questions for dialogue

goldbutton  What is meant by “Americanization”?
goldbutton.png  How does “Americanization” happen?
goldbutton.png  What elements of American culture contribute to the welfare and happiness of all sentient and non-sentient beings?
goldbutton.png  How does American pragmatism influence what we are and are not willing to “Americanize”?
goldbutton.png  Where does authority lie in American Soto Zen groups?
goldbutton.png  How do we make the natural world sacred once more?
goldbutton.png  Are kalyana mitrata (spiritual friendship) and the Four Brahma Viharas (love, compassion, sympathetic joy, equanimity) sufficient to include the various modes of love which touch everyone?
goldbutton.png  How does America’s commercialization of zen impact its image on our dominant religion?
goldbutton.png  Has the presence of women as priests, teachers and heads of zen centers changed other aspects of zen in America?
goldbutton.png  Should elements of Japanese Soto Zen not yet transferred to American Soto Zen now be included? (e.g. The Pacific World of 1994 has an article on “Soto Zen and the Inari Cult” which claims there is an “intimate, syncretistic relation between the Inari cult and the Soto Zen sect.” The ubiquitous symbol of this cult is the fox, noticeably absent from American Zen centers.)

smokeybuddha

Case Example

The use of the kyosaku (“The Stick”) is an example of one part of practice which is dropping off in Americanized Zen. This accommodation to American culture is worth noting because it resonates with other of the broader issues we have chosen for discussion: authority, individuality, puritanism. A story is related by Karen Mueller who heard it from Reb Anderson who was witness to it at Tassajara. During sesshin, the kyosaku was being used liberally, with the wielder going up and down the aisles whacking students. When he came to one student (male), that student whirled around, grabbed the stick by its opposite end, and threw the wielder and student onto the zendo floor in a tussel. The monk in charge, failing in his effort at equanimity, dropped his jaw and sat stupefied.

Thus came about, intentionally or unintentionally, an example of the Americanization of Zen.
Within the Arcata Zen Group, when Maylie Scott Roshi, was alive, she dropped off some things. e.g. trimming the altar candle, continued some things, e.g. Soto Zen style of eating oryoki, and adapted forms to circumstances. When we did our annual Mountains and Rivers sesshin, Maylie dropped off the formal oryoki and spontaneously produced an esthetic but pragmatic form. She was also open to a lay member’s suggestion that during the afternoon we do a long kinhin to the beach and sit zazen with our backs to giant driftwood logs. She drew the line, however, when one of her students suggested doing zazen naked in the hot tub.

These examples show changes in zen in America but they also raise the question of how change happens. Is it spontaneous? Does a teacher make the change? Is it voted on? Does American pragmatism contribute to the “Americanization of Zen”?

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ISSUES IN AMERICAN ZEN

Introduction

Over ten years ago authors of an article in The Pacific World: Journal of The Institue of Buddhist Studies wrote that, “The present day challenge to all of Buddhism is to adapt the essence of the teachings so it is more appropriate to the new audience, as well as to the rapidly changing audience within.” Although a definition of “Americanization” is difficult, that statement adequately addresses the question. A simpler definition is “adaptation to American culture” and the elements of American culture we have chosen to lay out include: the Commercialization of Zen; American Precursors; Feminism; Puritanism and Fundamentalism; Informality; Power/Authority, Majority, Consensus; Social Justice; Science and Technology; Social Class; and Race.

Commercialization and popularization of Zen

Zen is pervasive in pop culture. Zen is seen as serene, quiet, peaceful and healthy, and is found on cereal boxes, news shows and porn sites (yes there is a zenporn website).

In San Diego Bill found a listing for Zen Body Mind Sanctuary. When he phoned to find what they do at this sanctuary he was told, “We do facials and massage.”

When <Americanization zen> is Googled, over 1,000 sites arise.

American roots: Zen without human teachers

In American literature we find numerous examples of people who found spontaneous way seeking mind, zen meditation and experiences in nature. Henry Thoreau, John Muir, Aldo Leopold, John Steinbeck, Robinson Jeffers and Rachel Carson (The Sea Around Us) write with exquisite beauty about their zen experiences. Peter Matthiessen writes explicitly of his journey into the Himalayas in search of The Snow Leopard which became his metaphor for way-seeking mind. He also wrote of his own journey over many decades in the Nine-Headed Dragon River: Zen Journals 1969-1982. Prior to introduced knowledge some already recognized that “insentient beings speak dharma.”

kaaterskill

Falls of the Kaaterskill  Thomas Cole, 1826


Feminism

When Soto Zen began its assent in mainstream culture during 1950s it was expressed in the poetry of male Beat writers, e.g. Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. During the 1960s and onward, feminists took up Soto Zen with a vengeance.

For example, when Gael and Bill did their work practice during sangha week at Tassajara they worked in the library (we were put there by the practice leader who did not trust us with shovels). There were so many books on zen and feminism we ran out of time during work practice trying to cross-reference all of them.

More and more zen study groups offer discussions of Chinese women teachers as our advisor Alan Senauke did during a recent visit to Rin Shin-ji.

More and more women are seeking zen priesthood. This is also true of other religions in America, except of course for the Catholics. The swarm of women seeking to become priests again reflects the Americanization of zen, but whether their presence has significantly changed practice is unclear.

Puritanism and Fundamentalism

These are two separate elements, but we have combined them because of space limits in this essay.
Puritanism popularly refers to an attitude toward sex, but in Christian history it meant simplification of dress and speech and most importantly of ritual. The whole issue of ritual forms has been a divisive one for the Arcata Zen Group, with some preferring simplification (Americanization?) but others opting for adaptation of Japanese Soto Zen forms. The latter dominate large zen centers in northern California, e.g. San Francisco Zen Center; Berkeley Zen Center; and Tassajara, a Soto Zen training monastery.
Fundamentalism is a recurring element in American religions. Some students of religions in America describe fundamentalism as solidification of form and doctrine flourishing especially during eras of stress and great social change. Clinging to the literal interpretation of the Bible, for example, is found in current American Christianity. This is not to be confused with evangelical Christianity which emphasizes self-help through Christ. In Soto Zen, fundamentalism is manifest, for example, by insistence on reciting chants in Japanese. In America it also includes antipathy toward eroticism and discussion of sex. Sex is not discussed or if explicit sex is discussed in the context of following the Precepts the underlying text is that sex is “what those homosexuals do.” The problems of heterosexuals at The San Francisco Zen Center and abbot Richard Baker are discussed in the book Shoes Outside the Door.

At Tassajara Bill interviewed several young men on how they are trained to deal with their sexual feelings. He was told that they are instructed to “be cool.”

One young man said he was reading a book on trantric sex. Gael was informed at Mt. Baldy Zen Center (Rinzai) that men and women used to sit on opposite sides of the room because sexual feelings sometimes arose during meditation. She was not informed on what to do with those feelings should they arise.

Informality

Americans are noted for their informal behavior. This includes, at some Soto Zen centers, attempts to blend into the larger community. When Bill visited the Zen Center of San Diego, doing research for this essay, he was told that Joko Beck insists that priests do not wear robes and that members blend into the Pacific Beach community where the Zen Center is located in an ordinary house.

At this same center, English is the exclusive language used. An aesthetic stone is on the main altar; no Buddha or Bodhisattva figures are present although there is one candle and one incense burner. The service after the dhama talk consists of three bells, three full prostrations, followed by two bells.

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cathedralrock

Cathedral Rock, Yosemite  Albert Bierstadt 1870


Power/Authority, Majority, Consensus

American Soto Zen inherited the hierarchical form of authority which dominates Japanese Buddhism in general. This authoritarian and patriarchal structure was accepted while Japanese masters headed American Zen Centers. However, as these teachers, e.g. Shunryu Suzuki and Maezumi Roshi, died, more egalitarian forms of governance emerged. At the Arcata Zen Center, since Maylie Scott Roshi’s death, authority resides in the Practice Committee. This is a non-elected, self-selected group which decides by consensus on matters of practice, visiting teachers and ritual forms. (A Board of Directors handles money and business matters.) While AZG has two advisors and two Practice Leaders, the Practice Committee retains final say. Mel Weitsman, abbot of Berkeley Zen Center and Maylie’s root teacher, noted that Maylie did not appoint leaders during the weeks she was dying. Mel’s thoughts are worth including. “One problem here [AZG] is that Maylie did not sanction leaders. . .perhaps because she did not have time in her illness. Katagiri gave transmission to eight or nine people at his death, but appointed no leaders, and the sangha fell apart in Minnesota” (taken from notes of Mel’s remarks).

Individualism

Individualism is one of the hallmarks of American values. It is reflected in American self-help movements including the popularity of combining yoga as exercise with zazen. Individualism probably pops up most alarmingly in Practice Committees and other lay zen administrative groups where inidividuality overcomes concern for the sangha as a whole.

Social Justice

American progressive Soto Zen priests are fervid advocates of social justice.

We see this reflected in Alan Senuake’s devotion to the teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr. and in the Buddhist Peace Fellowship. Zen Buddhists are engaged in prison work, care for the homeless and witnessing for peace. Early on in Maylie’s visits here, she initiated an AZG chapter of BASE (Buddhist Alliance for Social Engagement), and she herself was an ardent activist both in Berkeley and in Arcata.

Science and Technology

The 1995 issue of The Pacific World was a “Special Issue on Buddhism, Medicine, Science, and Technology.” A salient section offers a rationale for considering the relation between science and “other systems of thought.” The article, “Comparing Science and Buddhism,” states, “Because science, whatever its faults and limitations, is the dominant intellectual mode in our world, other systems of thought must establish some relationship to science. To understand a previously remote idea system [Buddhism implied], one must see how it does or does not resemble more familiar world views.”

Most Americans accept science and technology although polls show most are disinclined to accept evolution. The most recent focus of dialogue between Buddhism and science is in the area of Western neuroscience. Last year The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine co-sponsored, with The Mind & Life Institute, a conference whose title was “The Science and Clinical Applications of Meditation.” The Dalai Lama was present together with specialists in neuroscience. Zen and the Brain is a 900 page book reporting research done on the effects of meditation (zen) on the brain (and vice versa?).

Social Class and Race

The stratification of American society is continuing and is a major aspect of people’s life, world and mind set. Who we associate with, for example, is frequently conditioned by our education and social class. A survey of Soto Zen members, discussed by James Coleman in his book The New Buddhism: The Western Transformation of an Ancient Tradition, found that members of Soto Zen sanghas have much more cognitive education than average in America. Over fifty percent of his sample had advanced degrees. He also found that Buddhism appeals to Caucasians who are politically left of center but not wealthy. In other words, we are overeducated and generally underpaid advocates for progressive social reform (but not revolutionary or anarchist). An interesting footnote reveals that only 2.8 percent of his sample were self-identified Republicans.

Conclusion

As we were finishing this essay, a sangha member forwarded a newspaper article about Shin Buddhism in America, also known as Pure Land (see The New York Times, June 13, 2006, “Buddhism With a New Mind-Set"). A bishop in that “church” “began offering meditation several years ago because 60 percent of the people who called his temple were asking about it.” Clergy members, he said, “are supposed to respond to the needs of the people” and “any program including meditation, tai chi, yoga, anything which makes people feel comfortable, or willing to step into the temples, should be offered.”

So, for the welfare and happiness of all beings, what should the Arcata Zen Group be offering?

“The Americanization of zen” is an unfinished story.

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klee

Twittering Machine  Paul Klee, 1922


Heart Song


While trying his hardest to make sense of things, Amadeus realized how free and open everything really is, and was finally able to relax.

This is what he told his friend Sophie, who worried way too much.

"Sophie, it's all one: the stuff that's happened and the stuff that hasn't happened yet. These differences and boundaries? We're making them up. All paths to wisdom have been there before us and will be there after us. We're not creating them, just tuning in. They're neither good nor bad -- they're just reality. Their goodness or badness is just our own trip. You think there's you and it? There isn't: there just *is*. (And there isn't even that.) There's nothing "out there" at all, absolutely everything is absolutely nothing.

"There's no form, no feelings, no perceptions, no formations, no consciousness; no eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind; no color, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, nothing to examine. Nothing to be seen, nothing to be thought, nothing to not-know and not even an end of not-knowing. Nothing at all, until we become old and die, and we don't do that either. There's no start, no path, no end, no achievements to seek out.

"Sophie: let go. Stop worrying. Depend on what *is*. Let your mind take the day off, and you won't need to fear anything. When you see things clearly, you'll know you're already exactly where you need to be.

"Sophie: you don't have to get it -- you've got it. Let that sink in, and it'll all be ok.

"Sophie, spread the word: let go, get out there, wake up!"

Added comment:

"Gate, gate, para gate. Para sam gate. Bodhi, svaha!"

That's it -- the excellent, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious mantra to which the drumbeat of the heart sutra serves as preface.

Translators generally leave gate... as a phonetic transliteration of the original Sanskrit, because mantras are believed to act without rational understanding, bypassing little mind.

Sounds a bit like magical thinking to me. In fact, in his translation of the heart sutra, Edward Conze presents the word "mantra" as "spell."

Often, after not translating the mantra, translators remind us that if they had translated it, it would have come out something like this: "Beyond, beyond, really beyond. All the way to the other shore. So be it!

I acknowledge that this is different in tone than "let go, get out there, wake up!"

Still, I take the heart sutra as an exhortation and encouragement towards seeking enlightenment, no matter how contradictory this appears to be to the "nothing to attain" spirit. That's why I'm comfortable with "let go... wake up." Adding "get out there" seems to me to honor the "beyond...to the other shore." If not "get out there," I'd have been tempted to use "just do it," except for that phrase's having been co-opted by Nike, with the resulting inevitable and unwanted connotations.

One other point I should make, lest it is not totally obvious. I am not a linguist, a scholar of Buddhism, or even much of a Buddhist. Please don't take this too seriously.


~  Mitch Trachtenberg

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triptych

Triptych, Heart Sutra



In The Lineage of Good Company

Lynda McDevitt
read at Maylie Scott’s memorial service, May 11,2006


Now when we chant the Heart Sutra
we offer it to you, Maylie.
We’ve slipped you snugly between
the great Eihei Dogen
and
the great sage Manjushri Bodhisattva.
If you had been present when that decision was made
no doubt you would have skillfully protested.
But what a right and proper place
for you in our lineage:
right after your beloved Dogen-
“Just let his words wash over you” you told us
and so you sprinkled us with Dogen’s dharma
till we were drenched with moonlit dew….
and right before the bodhisattva of wisdom,
Manjushri of the sword of discrimination
like you who taught with clarity to discern
the delusion in our thinking
the ranunculus among the flowers.
So now from your cozy position
would you invite us to join you
in the company of buddhas
or rather would you say,
“See where you are now”?

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Skip the car!

Barry Evans

If you think you'd be happier with a new car, skip the car and just be happier.


Easy for Joan Tollifson to say. For me, happiness is too elusive a target to "just be." Note the Declaration doesn't say that our inalienable right is to be happy, just to pursue it.

Good thing too. Like the end of the rainbow (pot o' gold or not), happiness recedes as I chase it. I don't usually quote Jiddu Krishnamurti (his personal morality just being too out of whack with his teaching), but I find his observation, "To have a cause for joy is no longer joy," to be accurate. I'm happy until I notice I'm happy. And then?

And then one of several things happens:

* Damn, this ice cream tastes good. Too bad it's going to be over soon.

* We spent so much on getting here, shouldn't I be feeling happier than I am?

* This feels so good. Wish I'd done it before.

* What a sunset! Almost as good as yesterday's!

* and etc.

We are not built for chronic happiness. Why not? Because, to a first approximation, our brains evolved during the Pleistocene epoch. Here's the scenario, one million BC:

Ug wakes up, walks out of the cave filled with joy--what a day! Goes down to the clearing and sits, zoned out of his skull with utter contentment. Life just couldn't be better. Bliss! And gets eaten by the passing sabertooth.

Bug, meanwhile, and the rest of the tribe, are worried about where they should hunt so the whole tribe (less Ug) can eat. And with the waterhole drying up, where's the nearest water source? Anxiety is the order of the day. But they do survive, and reproduce, and we're the result. We're not designed to be content--we've got Bug's anxiety-prone genes. We worry and we're unhappy because our genes tell us to be, because that's what allowed our stone-age ancestors to survive and reproduce.

All of which is a great relief. What, me worry? Of course! I'm supposed to!

We spend at least half our lives in either physical or emotional discomfort, yet we persist in believing that happiness is our natural, normal condition and that when were not happy, we're not normal. --Geneen Roth

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buddhabug



Dharma Gates Are Boundless: A Sangha Column

edited by Michael Quam

In this second edition of “Dharma Gates Are Boundless,” we have three items that reveal moments of dharma, even though they were not composed with the express purpose of doing so.

For me, and I suspect for some of my fellow American Buddhists, one of the more difficult or obscure aspects of traditional Buddhist teaching has been the concept of karma. One response to such a statement might be that karma is just how the universe works and so, like gravity, it doesn’t matter much if you understand it or not, it still happens. Well, it may not matter much, but I still want to get some glimmer.

During a six-year period, 1903-08, the German poet Rainer Marie Rilke wrote a series of ten letters to Franz Xaver Kappus, replying to the young man’s letters about the difficulties of life and art. These letters were later translated by M. D. Herter Norton and published in a small volume called Letters to a Young Poet. In Letter Eight, Rilke responds to Kappus’s account of some great “sadnesses” that have befallen him. The whole letter is full of rich and deep reflection, but the following portion contains that glimmer that I have been looking for:

Were it possible for us to see further than our knowledge reaches, and yet a little way beyond the outworks of our divining, perhaps we would endure our sadnesses with greater confidence than our joys. For they are the moments when something new has entered into us, something unknown; our feelings grow mute in shy perplexity, everything in us withdraws, a stillness comes, and the new, which no one knows, stands in the midst of it and is silent.

I believe that almost all our sadnesses are moments of tension that we find paralyzing because we no longer hear our surprised feelings living. Because we are alone with the alien thing that has entered into our self; because everything intimate and accustomed is for an instant taken away; because we stand in the middle of a transition where we cannot remain standing. For this reason the sadness too passes: the new thing in us, the added thing, has entered into our heart, has gone into its inmost chamber and is not even there any more, is already in our blood. And we do not learn what it was. We could easily be made to believe that nothing has happened, and yet we have changed, as a house changes into which a guest has entered. We cannot say who has come, perhaps we shall never know, but many signs indicate that the future enters into us in this way in order to transform itself in us long before it happens. And this is why it is so important to be lonely and attentive when one is sad: because the apparently uneventful and stark moment at which our future sets foot in us is so much closer to life than that other noisy and fortuitous point of time at which it happens to us as if from outside. The more still, more patient and more open we are when we are sad, so much the deeper and so much the more unswervingly does the new go into us, so much the better do we make it ours, so much the more will it be our destiny, and when on some later day it “happens” (that is, steps forth out of us to others), we shall feel in our inmost selves akin and near to it. And that is necessary. It is necessary—and toward this our development will move gradually—that nothing strange should befall us, but only that which has long belonged to us. We have already had to rethink so many of our concepts of motion, we will also gradually learn to realize that that which we call destiny goes forth from within people, not from without into them.

[Letters to a Young Poet, Norton, 1954]


In this issue of Rin Shin-ji Voices, we begin a dialogue on the Americanization of Zen. Living day-to-day in American culture, saturated as it is with commercial entertainment, the cult of the celebrity, and the worship of material success, can be challenging to someone following the Eightfold Path. The following poem by Jonathan Aaron expresses that challenge and a moment of resolution.


Mr. Moto's Confession

The famous Tokyo detective looked as if he’d taken a shower
in his linen suit and then slept in it.
He mopped his shiny forehead with a handkerchief.
“Pascal was right,” he said, his tenor slightly nasal.
“Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to
another form of madness. What’s more,” he added, the cat
eying the canary, “contradiction is not a sign of falsity,
nor is the want of contradiction a sign of truth—Pascal again.”
He took out his fountain pen. I saw my chance.
Mr. Moto, I asked, should I believe all those stories
I’ve heard about you? “Please do not,” he murmured. “I do not.”
He was writing something on a cocktail napkin.
“In fact,” he said, his pen continuing to move, “my real name is
Laszlo Löwenstein. I was born in Hungary, I drove myself crazy
as an actor in Zürich and Berlin, and now that I live in Hollywood
I have bad dreams. Last night one of them told me
I’ll end up buried alive in a tale by Edgar Allan Poe.”
He coughed politely, capped his pen, and getting to his feet
handed me the little piece of paper. “An ancient Japanese
poetic form,” he said. Even as I stared at it
the little cairn of characters, each a tiny, exotic bird cage
with its doors open, blurred, melted, and reformed as if rising
to the surface of a well, where these words trembled
but stayed clear enough to read: As evening nears, how clearly
a dog’s bark carries over the water.

(in The Best American Poetry 1998; originally from The New Republic)


motodog

Mr. Moto's Dog


And finally, Karen Mueller shares with us several folk precepts that she received over the Internet:

Always remember that you’re unique. Just like everyone else.
If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.
Some days you’re the bug; some days you’re the windshield.
A closed mouth gathers no foot.

In keeping with those last words of advice, I’ll close this column. Keep sending me items you think might fit this space.

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Humboldt Area Chapter/Buddhist Peace Fellowship:  In the News


from the Times Standard:

Humboldt Buddhists call for withdrawal from Iraq

Saying the Bush administration has failed “to provide a convincing justification for the resulting tragedies” from the war in Iraq, Humboldt County Buddhists are calling for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

”We, the members of the Humboldt chapter of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, believe that the U.S. government should begin an immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq,” the contingent said in an e-mail to the Times-Standard.

The e-mail said more than 2,300 U.S. soldiers have been killed in the conflict and that according to the Iraq Body Count project (www.iraqbodycount.org), “there have been more than 33,000 Iraqi civilian deaths.” Mitch Trachtenberg, of the Humboldt chapter of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, said Humboldt County's share of the war, which has cost the U.S. coffers more than $270 billion, comes to more than $84 million (www.costofwar.com).

”The amount spent on the war,” Trachtenberg said, is “enough to have ensured that every child in the world would have been given basic immunizations for the next 90 years.”

”Three years after invading Iraq, the Bush administration has yet to provide a convincing justification for the resulting tragedies,” Trachtenberg said. “We believe the Bush administration's policies with regard to Iraq have been a moral and practical disaster for our country and the world, and we join with others in calling for immediate withdrawal from Iraq.”

(c) 2006 Times-Standard (Eureka, CA)  April 11, 2006. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc. Record Number: 3697622  


The Eureka Reporter had two articles on the International Day in Solidarity with Victims of Torture, in which local BPF members participated.  The web article ("Groups hold vigil against torture tonight," by Rebecca S. Bender) is still available on-line; it gives some background on the UN Convention against Torture and includes quotes from an interview with sangha member Catherine Cascade; the short print article ("Torture Vigil," by Tyson Ritter, July 2, 2006, p. A7) included this picture:






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