On The Road | Puerto Vallarta and Barra de Navidad

IMG_1416On the waterfront, Puerto Vallarta, early Friday night; it reminded me of Bourbon Street, New Orleans, with a Mexican touch. It is beginning to look like Mazatlan. I didn’t stay long.

IMG_1432This is where the laguna meets the ocean in Barra de Navidad. Of all the places I have been on this trip I like Barra the best. It still has a friendly atmosphere. I’ll be here for a while. San Blas was noisy, rude-noisy. 

IMG_1426This tree is close to the estuary in Barra.

Some Mexicans know, but most Americans in Mexico are unaware of what’s happening in their country; they are the walking dead, fans of Fox newsthe programmer. We refuse to see the emperor has no clothes. There is more response in Canada also, and I quote from a recent article at AE 9/11 Truth  “This will be the third nationwide tour of Canada by AE911Truth. Why? A real 9/11 investigation is more likely to evolve from outside the US. Canada’s hundreds of 9/11 Truth activists have been the most unwavering in their pursuit of this goal.”

Do you ever wonder what happened with Hitler’s Germany? Well, wake up! It is happening again, sheep to the slaughterhouse. Spread the word!

I’ll upload more pictures later; my wi-fi is slow today.

The Forest Moon | Reincarnation | Enlightenment

The Forest Moon in Thumb Butte, AZ (Click to enlarge)

I was recently talking to a friend over dinner and the subject of reincarnation came up. I said there is no reincarnation.

I know, some Buddhists (including the Dalai Lama) believe there is reincarnation. But if the Buddha explained that there is no “self,” who is reincarnating? Hindus believe in reincarnation. And Paramahansa Yogananda, a very respected spiritual master, stressed reincarnation, with proof. But Hindus do stress that only the “Self” exist; everything else is an illusion, a projection–including time and space. So, it would be an “illusion,” reincarnating into a bigger “illusion.” Right? It gets complicated, doesn’t it? I suggest that what we need to do is forget other lives until we master this life, our present challenge. Once we do that everything will be revealed to us, and there will be no more doubts or beliefs. We will know and be free.

This reminds me of an interesting question: Are you enlightened? “I” can’t be enlightened because “I” is the problem. In fact, everybody is enlightened but that “I” pulls the wool over our eyes and doesn’t let us know. If  “I” am looking  for enlightenment, “I” am missing the point and making enlightenment one more item on my “I want list.” All we need to do is drop that “I” with its incessant jabber and selfish wants, and . . . wake up!

The moon is a symbol of enlightenment in Zen Buddhism.

A Dream | A Sound | A Koan

I had a dream recently. It was not “lucid dreaming”; it was a regular dream. In the dream I was clearing a table which had an uncorked bottle of wine, or maybe champagne. Accidentally I knocked the bottle over, and it started spilling its content emitting a swishing sound. At the same moment I started to wake up. When half awake and realizing it had just been a dream, I was still hearing the swishing sound; when fully awake, it stopped. Where was the sound? What made it?

And . . . what is the sound of one hand clapping?

What is Yoga? | What is a Yogi?

Recently, I came across an article in a well known Los Angeles Yoga magazine. It had the picture of a young lady in terrific shape doing the scorpion pose with total ease. The article said she was kicking ass. If she was, she was a gymnast not a Yogi.

The Sanskrit word Yoga means, literally, ‘union’. Yoga has nothing to do with competition; it is a way to unite with the Spirit. The pose you are adopting do have health benefits, but its main objective is to help you concentrate, to help you silence your jabbering mind and touch the ‘One’, unite with ‘It’.

Yoga is something you can do while washing the dishes, so don’t worry if you can’t do the scorpion pose, let alone kick ass with it. Just do Yoga!

Non-Attachment | The Buddha’s Teachings | Thich Thien An

“When Zhuang-Tzu’s wife died, his friend the philosopher Hui Shih went to his house to console him and found him not weeping and wailing as one might expect, but laughing and singing. Asked how he could be so ungrateful to his wife, the sage replied :”When she has just died, I could not help being affected. Soon, however, I examined the matter from the very beginning. At the very beginning, she was not living, having no form, not even substance. But somehow or rather, there was then her substance, then her form and then her life. Now by a further change, she has died. The whole process is like the sequence of the four seasons – spring, summer, autumn and winter. While she is thus lying in the great mansion of the universe, for me to go about weeping and wailing would be to proclaim myself ignorant of the natural laws. Therefore I stop.” From this story we learn that the key to happiness is non-attachment, and the secret of ono-attachment is right understanding.”

“METHOD OF PRACTICE
A common method to help the student lessen his attachment is the koan method of Rinzai Zen. The koan is a philosophical topic given to a Zen student for meditation by the Zen master. It may consist of a single word, a phrase, a sentence or a short passage. A most famous koan is called “the sound of one hand clapping.” Everybody knows what the sound of two hands clapping is like, but what it the sound of one hand clapping ? That is the koan. The student meditates on it until he can hear the sound of one hand clapping. Many of us have heard the sound of silence. If we can hear that sound, then we can hear the sound of one hand clapping also. This koan does not stop with hearing of not hearing, but goes further. If we can hear the sound of one hand, why can we hear it, and how can we hear it ?
If not, why not ? Where does the sound come from, and where does it go ? What is the nature of the sound, and what is the nature of the sound, and what is the nature of hearing ? If their koan is solved, the meditator may consider that he has experienced kensho.”
Source : Zen Philosophy, Zen Practice, Dharma Publishing, College of Oriental Studies, 1975, PP104-112.

These excerpts are from Non attachment, an excellent article in non-attachment.

Maria Kitano’s Art | Abstract Paintings

I found Maria in Twitter and I was impressed by her work; maybe there is hope for twitter. Enjoy! Her website is below.

app1s I have been painting and drawing since childhood, using various techniques , going from pencil and graphite to pastels , watercolors and finally oils which I like the most. There is no complicated philosophical explanation about my paintings , the whole sense of my work is to communicate an emotion to you by watching a painting .

My work is a celebration of life, inspired from things I see every day , things that most of us do not pay much attention to.
My daily experiences: watching the sky , a bird , conversations, media, photos, television, memories, are reduced to abstract shapes and colors which allow me to show what I feel is important and beautiful. Abstraction is the way I come closest to representing the world around.–Maria Kitano

 

 

garden2s

 

 

 

For more information and to see more of her paintings go to: http://tweeart.blogspot.com/ 

 

 

 

 

” When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall, always.”– Mahatma Gandhi

Stalking Castaneda | Excerpt | Castaneda’s Legacy

. . . and in case you don’t know Castaneda, I’ll tell you a little about his work as I go along, for it was a great help in my search for the eye of the dragon. I will also be comparing it with other works that have also been helpful. I won’t delve into any of these works; that is unnecessary. I will just say that their main and recurring theme is our destructive egomania, and I’ll let my own experience illustrate. It behooves you to do your own research and confirm the damaging effects of the ego, for being the bane of humankind its study is worthy of our consideration. Consider this:

     In an article I once came across in a monthly magazine, I read about a six-year-old boy who died after breaking his neck under an extremely heavy load, too heavy for the child to carry. The article also said that he had been a slave all his life. The author knew this because archeologists are trained to read bones. And the child’s bones, together with other bones (a mass grave for slaves) had been found while excavating somewhere in New York City (of all places) to lay the foundation for a new building. His bones not only told this archeologist how he had died but also how he had lived. They told him that he had been overworked all his life, that he had been malnourished, that he probably never had a loving arm around him. His bones told him that that heavy load killed him at the tender age of six years old.

    Should I ever feel sorry for myself? But actually, a more pertinent question would be, should I ever be sorry for that little boy? For just like that little boy I am going to die, and although longer, my life might well end up being much more miserable than his was. For only by reducing my self-importance to the lowest can I claim to be different from his captors and murderers; there is such a thing as a collective responsibility, a social contract. We all endorse a social contract that thrives in egomania, an egomania that causes the suffering of humanity.

Carlos Castaneda is dead now, but his controversial legacy remains.

Father’s Day | Dick Hoyt | Fatherhood

What will a father do for his son?

“One day the son asked his father, ‘Dad, let’s join the Ironman together?’”

“For those who didn’t know, Ironman is the toughest triathlon ever. The race encompasses three endurance events of a 2.4 mile (3.86 kilometer) ocean swim, followed by a 112 mile (180.2 kilometer) bike ride, and ending with a 26.2 mile (42.195 kilometer) marathon along the coast of the Big Island of Hawaii”.

It is Happening Now!

Geisel Library at University of California San Diego

I was walking up to the main library at the University of California in San Diego one night, which is a long walk even when you pay for parking, when I noticed my absent minded condition. I had been walking wrapped in thought, pondering. I had been oblivious to my surroundings. Does it happen to you? I am being facetious, of course, I know it does. We are all ponderers. We have so many projects, so many things pending and so many expectations! We believe that our efforts will eventually take us to a safe haven, don’t we?

And it is good that we have projects and goals, that is life! Without action nothing gets done. But there is a hidden challenge in taking action that we don’t see, for no matter how many goals we may have all we ever really have is this present moment. We do think that our goals will take us to a safe haven but there is no such a thing; there can’t be because this is a world of change. After we get to our “safe haven” sooner or later a new challenge will sprout. Besides, in a world where death is waiting at every turn, where can there be safety? Our challenge is to realize that we should act for the sake of the action itself because the challenge at hand is all we ever have. Reality is not what we think! Reality is what is here now. Everything is in this very moment.

Therefore, I decided to focus on the present moment, on what was actually taking place. I became aware then of the things that I was approaching (benches, cars, bus stops…), of the trees that I passed on the wooded trails. Soon I arrived at the last stretch of my walk, the wide walkway lined by tall Eucalyptus trees that takes you directly to the library, and I noticed other pedestrians immersed, as I had been, in self-reflection, oblivious to the world.

I noticed the library in the distance, a huge building that rose like a mushroom, like a giant bird spreading its wings obliterating the star-raddled sky. I wondered how that enormous building could remain aloft in such a narrow base, a feat of engineering. It reminded me briefly of the ship “Nostromo” in the movie “Alien” and for a moment my mind drifted in that direction. I brought it back. I walked on while aware of my surroundings, aware of the seemingly approaching building and the steps that brought it near. And then I was awaken from the slumber of self-reflection completely…I was fully aware of my surroundings.

When I arrived at the Geisel library I was present, and the feeling was such that I felt like prolonging my walk. A quote from The Christ interrupted my concentration once more, “Let thine eye be single and your whole body will be full of light”. And then I realized that prolonging my walk really didn’t matter because regardless of what we are doing presence of mind is always an option. Our attention can always be placed on the action at hand.

It does not matter either how well we do it (to berate ourselves for not being present is also a lack of discipline, an ego problem) our best is enough. To be aware of what the mind does is the key. To see how it worries about past events that can’t be changed or future events that will never happen is the first step. But we shouldn’t force the issue, for the mind’s very nature is to think. Make it play! Watch the mind’s moves!

Nevertheless, we should do our best, for an undisciplined mind can’t avoid misleading us. And having a disciplined mind is the only way to vanquish the darkness of self-centeredness, that ego-induced self-reflection that is usually empty blabber, a blind alley. A disciplined mind is the key to happiness…”Let thine eye be single…”

Success Now!

In this world of matter everything is temporary, nothing stays. To try to wrestle permanence out of situations and things is not seeing reality as it is. To cling selfishly to anything is the mark of the ignorant. (This is the ignorance caused by an ego that refuses to acknowledge that everything is interconnected) Success comes when we see clearly that when we unconditionally help others we help ourselves, for we are never separate from the Source; to think otherwise is delusion; it is, again, the work of the ego.

Now, to see things as they are, to see the unity of all things, requires presence of mind, which means that your thoughts are not in past or future situations (unless you are using the past for reference or planning a shopping trip) but in what you are doing right now! Remember, you can’t cross the bridge until you get to the river. If you see ‘Reality’ as it is you’ll see that success, like well-being, does not depend on outside circumstances, for we actually have all we need. If you see reality as it is your life situation could change suddenly and drastically without affecting your inner balance because you’ll see that you are part of a whole that is in perfect balance and working perfectly well.

Of course, you will not see this if you don’t discipline your mind and develop presence because the ego will render you blind. And I am afraid that just reading or hearing about it will probably help you little. But if you do just your best and practice, you’ll see it as clear as sunshine. And allow me to quote from “Mindfulness in Plain English” by H. Gunaratana: “Your practice can show you the truth. Your own experience is all that counts.” Recommended reading: The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, Buddhism is not What you Think by Steve Hagen, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, Journey to Ixtlan by Carlos Castaneda.

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