Saturday 31 December 2016

Our wish for you

Dear Friends 

We wish you all a most wonderful wish fulfilled New Year...

" A new day is here.

Yesterday is a memory.

Tomorrow is unknown.

Now is the knowing."

Ajahn Sumedro

Without passion, 

without dedication, 

without striving for a result...

Just Sit.....





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With love

Friday 16 December 2016

Do we need to be enlightened?

"When you walk the Way, it is not near, it is not far. If you are deluded, you are mountains and rivers away from it.

I respectfully say to those who seek enlightenment: 

do not waste your time."

Shih-T'ou (700-790)

Also known as 

Sekito Kisen, (Japanese)

Student of Hui-Neng 6th Patriach

Ts'ao-Hsi Mountain Temple in China.

Shih-T'ou's body was mummified in black lacquer and due to a fire during the Chinese revolution in 1911, was brought to Japan.

It can be viewed today at the Soto Zen Temple in Yokohama....



 A potential student went to see a Master and asked;

"If I work really hard, how long will it take me to become enlightened?"

"Ten years" the Master replied.

"No, I mean really work at it."

the student said.

The Master replied,

" I am sorry I misunderstood you, it will take you twenty years."

The student then said,

" I am serious, I am willing to do anything to gain enlightenment."

"Oh that's different,"

said the Master,

"it will take you thirty years."



What say you?

Do we seek, or not, is it a total waste of time, sitting, trying so hard to find something we already possess?

Why not take Shih-T'ou's advise;

Be simple,

walk the Way....


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With love

Tuesday 12 July 2016


The importance of having an occupation after retirement.

As we get older we sometimes begin to doubt our ability to "make a difference" in the world. 

It is at these times that our hopes are boosted by the remarkable achievements of other "seniors" who have found the courage to take on challenges that would make many of us wither. 

Harold Schlumberg is such a person: 





"I've often been asked, 'What do you do now that you're retired?' 

Well, ...I'm fortunate to have a chemical engineering background and one of the things I enjoy most is converting beer, wine and spirits into urine.

It's rewarding, uplifting, satisfying and fulfilling. I do it every day and I really enjoy it." 

Harold should be an inspiration to us all.


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With love

Sunday 3 July 2016

Today's wisdom...

From Osho 1988...

"From where have you come?"

asked Matzu,

"From the Great Cloud Monastery at Yuehchou," answered Hyakujo.

"What do you hope to gain by coming here?" asked Matzu,

Hyakujo replied, 

"I have come seeking the BuddhaDharma."

Matzu then said,

"Instead of looking for the Treasure House, which is your very own, you have left your home and gone wandering so far, what for, I have nothing for you here."

Hyakujo then asked, 

"Please tell me what is the Treasure House of your very own?"

Matzu replied, 

"Your Treasure House contains absolutely everything you need and you lack nothing at all. 

It is there for you to use freely, 

so why this vain search for something outside yourself?"


Once we realise all we need is within ourselves, then we have the necessary equipment to let go of anger, remorse, judgement, in fact all forms of suffering.

The desire to search, is in itself,

 a form of suffering.

To be at peace, in the skin we are in, is mastery of the self, and true enlightenment.


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With love

Thursday 12 May 2016


Influence ---

We are influenced throughout our lives by events and people. School, parents, our first trip overseas.

These shape our lives. 

It could have been our first job, our first friend, lover, first wife, any number of things.

We are now living our lives according to how we felt at the time of those events.

Some of us cope and some of us don't.

This has been going on since the time of the Buddha, 2500 years ago and even back to first recorded history from the Vedas of India, 5700 years of recorded history from China, and from the Testaments of the Middle East. 

The Buddha was influenced by events such as death, for the first time, when he left the palace.

The Buddha then gave thousands  of  Dharma's on how people should live and behave.

Of course the best way to live our life is not to be influenced by anyone, or anything, but to live according to ones own credo.

"To do the right thing, 

because it's the right thing to do," is a good start.

Should we wish to change our lives, we can decide to

 'Begin Again', and the first step, is the choice to take the step. 

The choosing and re-choosing of what we want and who we want to be, is what makes us human.

We can begin now to make a habit of the person we want to be, as in the past we formed the habit of who we currently think we are.

Should we not like who or where we are, we can 'Begin Again.'

We eventually realise that all that constrains us, and all of our sufferings are temporary and mostly imagined. 

Were we someplace else,

or someone else,

our circumstance would change, and our suffering would be different. Nothing changes,

nothing is different, until we decide to change, and make our circumstance different.

So why not decide to

'Begin Again.' 

A new life's story, getting rid of the old, to make room for the new.

Sit in silence.

Consider what, where, and who we are, more specifically, 

who we are not.

Choose to 'Begin Again.'



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With love

Thursday 3 March 2016

An "aha" moment....

An "aha" moment...

Our morning reading of  Dharma produced yet another moment of awakening....

Venerable Ayya Tathaaloka, a fully ordained Theravada Bhikkuni, has inspired with her writing in the latest addition of Buddhadharma.

She said, 

"I think what enlightenment looks like depends upon who is looking and how they're looking.

I see a lot of people suffering due to confusion about the stages of enlightenment.

I think of enlightenment more in terms of what is absent: obsession, grasping, aversion, resentment, fear, doubt, discontent. Once we learn to let go of these, all of the energy that goes into running these things,

 is then free, present and liberated."

This for us was an "aha" moment.

The goal for a majority of practitioners, we believe, is to become a better person, more relaxed, and to be rid of worries by meditating. Maybe to look for a way to help cope with stress in general.

Venerable Ayya tells us that;

 "it's easy to assume an awakening is not real if all of ones problems are not gone, there will be disappointment and even a loss of  faith."

As Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche says;

 "Once we get a glimpse of the nature of mind, we have a sense of awakening that actually becomes a part of our mind. 

It's no longer just a theory; 

it becomes a reality, 

an experience."

Thank you both for your insights, Our morning Dharma is worth every second we invested.....


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With love

Tuesday 16 February 2016

Perfect Person....

This time last year, here on this mountain, He shared the following...

Please enjoy....

The Perfect Person.... 

Gatekeeper Yin

and the Silent One....

Yin Xi, nicknamed Guan Yinzi, was also called Guan Yin or "The keeper of the pass."

The Annals of History, tells of his receiving scripture from Laozi, and refers to Yin Xi as 

"Prefect of the Pass Yin."

About 70km west of Xi'an, at Louguan Tai, there is a temple by a mountain range that claims to be the place where Yin Xi was the Gatekeeper. 

When Laozi arrived at Louguan Tai on his path out of the world, Yin Xi persuaded him to write a book, the result being the 

'Dao De Jing.'

After writing the book,

Laozi disappeared westward, riding on an ox.


Guan Yinzi, once said; 

"As for people who are good at playing the 'Qin,'

if they are sad, then the sound is filled with pathos;

if they are thoughtful,

then the sound is hesitant;

if they are resentful,

then the sound is irresolute;

if they are yearning,

then the sound is elegantly grand."

"This sadness, thoughtfulness, resentment and yearning does not come from hands, from bamboo, from silk, or from wood: 

it comes from having the heart matched with the hand and the hand matched with the object."

"People who have Dao,

are always centered 

in the Dao."


One last time....

All of a sudden, 

he appeared.

He was dressed differently, his robes pulled around him like a shroud, his head covered in a cowl of faded yellow robe.

He acknowledged me with a slight movement of his head, almost a nod.

I thought I heard him say;

"we meet for the last time seeker, you must listen well."

The Silent One then told me the following;

....Master Lieh Tzu asked Gatekeeper Yin;

'Only the perfect man can walk under water and not drown, can walk on fire and not burn and can pass over a multitude of lives without fear,

how is this possible?'

Gatekeeper Yin replied,

'It is because he preserves his original breath and this has nothing to do with his knowledge, his work, his persistence, or his bravery.'

'Everything has a face, form, sound and colour, but these are just appearances."

"So, now I ask you, Gatekeeper, how is it possible that this thing, or that thing, 

are separated from each other?'

'Indeed why should each thing be viewed as the first of all beings?"

Gatekeeper Yin continued;

"They are just forms and colours and nothing more."

"However, everything arises from what is formless and descends into that which is changeless."

"If we grasp and follow this, using it to its fullest extent, nothing can stand in our way!"

"It means being able to reside within limits, 

which have no limit, 

be secluded within boundaries, which have no beginning, go to where both the beginning and the end of all life is; 

We then must combine essential nature, nourish our original breath, 

and harmonize virtue."

"By following this path, 

we can commune with the origins of all life."

"We will then guard our unity with the Universe , and our spirit will be without fault."

"Nothing can get inside and attack us."

"We must retreat to the serenity of the Universe,

and as a result, 

nothing can cause us harm."

"We must recognize that everything in this Universe is united."

"It is possible to be rid of punishment and execution, of chaos, violence and war, 

this is the Dao."

"However, we must not cast aside the Universe, 

and ignore the human aspect;

Only then will we draw closer to the realization of Truth."


"This is a Dharma I share with you, seeker.

It is from the writing of Chung Tzu who lived over two thousand three hundred years ago.

I thought it appropriate to the situation all face right now."

The Silent One then said, "Understand what I have just said and you too will become the perfect man."

With that, 

he disappeared.


Sent from my iPhone and
With love

Tuesday 2 February 2016


Taking about what Japan means to me, 

and my heroes.....

One of my heroes once said;

" An individual that knows Dharma can be compared to a lamp that lights up the darkness. 

One who is close will see clearly, while those further away will see less clearly. 

After a period of time the lamp's light may go out or be extinguished, but then, from time to time, the lamp will be relit, again providing illumination."

Why do we allow the light to grow dim or even to extinguish?

Why do we seek a path other than one within ourselves?

Maybe we hang on to old programs, hang on to what we believe is our birthright. 

Hang on to our teaching from past experience.

Stale lessons that are no longer relevant. 

The secret is to let go.

Don't recall;     

Let go of 

what has passed

Don't imagine;       

Let go of

what may come

Don't think;  

Let go of what is happening  now

Don't examine;       

Don't try to

figure anything out

Don't control;      

Don't try to make

anything happen



right now, 

this second....

Japan, for me, 

is a great teacher.

A great reminder.

A great undoer......


Sent from my iPhone and
With love

Thursday 14 January 2016

New year

First thoughts from Japan....

First for a New Year.....

"Once in a while

I just let time wear on

leaning against a solitary pine

standing speechless,

as does the universe!

Ah, who can share 

this solitude with me?"


Thank you for your poem.

And yes, who can share with me? 

This wonderland, full of love, in every snowflake, every smile. What joy.....

There is a Dharma in Ryokan's

poem for me.

Please let me share...

When we left our home for Japan we thought of retirement, meditation, solitude and peace.

What we actually got was a magnificent ski lodge situated on a mountain with an uninterrupted view down the valley.

Attached to the lodge is a twenty seat restaurant  that hadn't operated for more than ten years.

Our requirement for a residents visa to stay in Japan, is that one has to work!

So it's off to work we go, and what's more simple than opening a restaurant. It couldn't be that hard......

I remember in Zen (cha-an) there is a teaching; 

I Chi Go , I Chi E 

(each ee go, each ee ay) 

In Japanese this means ; 

"One time one meeting". 

This means that everything in this life should be unprecedented and irreplaceable. 

My plan now, is to make sure everything we do is based on this.

So we went to a local sushi restaurant to test out whether the teaching works.

It was as usual, outstanding, 

the rice was perfect, 

the vegetables in the sushi roll just amazing. 

The chef had a new one; 

avocado, he told us, that was sublime. 

The wasabi cleared the nose. 

The next plate was also sushi, with asparagus tips all sticking out, the same length, like soldiers standing to attention . 

We sat at the counter where the chef prepares the food. 

I asked the chef who speaks English,

"how do you do this so perfect, every time and don't you get sick and bored with the repetition?" 

His answer to my question was as surprising as his food and the message I got was this dharma. 

He said,  

"I don't get bored with the repetition." 

"The meal might look the same to you, but no two meals are the same, no two pieces of sushi are the same, no two plates are the same ." 

"Everything I do is vibrant unprecedented and unrepeatable." 

"You think they are the same, they even look the same." 

"To me, they are all different." 

"This is because I am not in a habitual thought pattern. 

I don't think "same old same old", 

"I don't think this is boring and is the same as yesterday and will be the same tomorrow ." 

"With that thought my food will be stale and old in a few days. 

"Most people get into a routine of doing something once and repeating it a thousand times, until the mind becomes numb." 

He said 

"I don't think this way." 

"Every sushi is different to me . 

Every mouthful full of love, 

full of flavor." 

When I heard this it was like a thunderbolt in my head. 

I knew what was meant when we become enlightened on the spot. 


Everything should be fresh and new and vibrant. 

Every meeting unique. 

It will not occur again. 

Each moment precious. 

It will not occur again. 

All encounters, 

every breath, 

every prayer, 

will never be the same again. 

They may seem the same. 

It all depends on our way we think!

We started to practice and found new tastes, new sounds, new smells, new feelings, that we had never had before. 

When we start to practice 

I Chi Go, I Chi E 

"one time. one meeting" 

like the sushi chef, 

we suddenly freed ourselves from habitual thought patterns and feelings. 

We allowed our world to reveal itself to us as it really is and reveal who we really are. 

Vibrant, unprecedented and unrepeatable . 

We are not all the same. 

If we are treated all the same, it would be a very boring world. 

It is not the samenesses that are important, but the differences that tell us who we are. 

Who we really are is vibrant, 

unprecedented and irreplaceable. 

Come and visit....


Sent from my iPhone and 

With love