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“Who is the best swordsman?” asked a warrior of his master.

“Go to the field near the monastery,” his master answered. “There is a rock there. I want you to insult the rock.”

“But why would I do that?” the disciple asked. “The rock will not respond.”

“Well, then attack it with your sword,” the master said.

“I won’t do that, either,” the disciple answered. “My sword would break. And if I attack the rock with my hands, I’ll injure my fingers and have no impact on it. That wasn’t what I asked. Who is the best swordsman?”

“The best is the one who is like the rock,” said his master. “Without unsheathing a sword, it demonstrates that no one can conquer it.”



Once upon a time a fox was roaming in a forest in search of food. Unfortunately he was caught up in a trap. He tried his best to get free. Heaving to get out of the trap, he was able to do so but lost his tail in the struggle. The fox felt very small. He knew that every fox would laugh at him. He was so sad that he thought of killing himself. But then he said to himself, “It is cowardice to kill oneself. I should do something else.”

At last the fox planned to persuade all the foxes to part with their tails. It was sure to divert their attention from his tail less appearance. So, the fox called a meeting of the foxes and advised them to do away with their tails. He said, “They are ugly, heavy and tiresome. We must get rid of them.”

But one clever fox said, “Good,sir ! you wouldn’t be so keen to give us that advice, if you were not tail less. Isn’t it ?”


Hypocrisy seldom works.


Honor, is a way of life 


Life is like, watching trees grow

you can never see yourself rise

dancing in the wind at the moment

 results bloom when years die

Art (2013)


I had been playing with the thought, “Watching trees grow” after I was sitting in contemplation on the river, doing nothing at all. When I realized, I am doing something, even if it is just sitting, or watching trees grow.


Art (2011)

on so
a Grasshopper goes
to leap from where it stands

there is no guarantee
where it will be
when it finally lands

it knows not
that death exists
yet jumps to be safe

and rides the wind
to destiny’s whim
in a leap of faith

(I have been very busy lately, but as you see, I never stop seeking zen in life)


a tree limb lay

like thoughts fallen yesterday

art (2009)


have a zen filled day



One day an elderly man entered into a hospital. He was grumpy from being on medication and the nurses thought him to be insane, as he yelled for his wife to get the apple basket. By the time they had checked him into his room the nurses were exhausted from the fight he was putting up. “Sir you have to calm down we are doing everything we can for you” they would try to explain. “I don’t need your help” the grumpy man would yell “I want my apple basket”. He finally slept. The nurses sighed with relief and talked among themselves whether they should call the hospital psychologist about the old man and his obsession with the apple basket.


As they talked and laughed about the situation the wife came in carrying the basket of apples. They looked kind of stunned as she asked if she could see her husband and deliver his basket. Sure, they agreed as they watched her slip past into his room. Curiosity consumed them over the next few weeks as they tended to the elderly man. He was eaten with cancer and the doctors had given him no hope of survival. He turned out to be a very calm, happy man once he had his basket. His wife, they noticed, would come in with apples and go out with apples and the curiosity grew even more till one nurse couldn’t stand the suspense. One night as he was nearing the end, the nurse sat down in a chair by the wife.” May I ask why do you have that apple basket? I just don’t understand the significance.”


“I am an apple farmer by trade he sighed. From the time I was 20 till the day I do die I will forever have my apples.” The nurse nodded thinking she understood. He just likes his work, she thought, assured now he was a little bit crazy. As she started to leave, the old man asked her to sit down. “At age 20 I was saved, I accepted the Lord as my Savior.” Oh no, the nurse thought. Here comes the lecture on religion. The old man continued. “The day I accepted the Lord as my Savior I got this basket, and each time I had a problem or concern that I could not handle, I put an apple in the basket un-shined.”


“Why?” the nurse said shaking her head.


“Because it reminded me to give those problems to the Lord for him to shine. See my basket now, he stated. As my problems disappear so do the apples. As I get new problems, ones I cannot handle alone, I put an apple in.” The humble nurse looked into the basket… only one apple was there. With that, he took a big breath and grabbed his wife by the hand and faded into eternal sleep. The wife paused for a moment and got up from her place to take from the basket the last remaining apple. She whispered in his ear that his reward awaits him in heaven.


The nurse stayed still and asked with tears in her eyes, “what do you think his riches will be?”


The wife knew what they were, eternal life with Jesus Christ. But she could see the concern and sadness upon the young nurses’ face and handed her the apple and said “the biggest apple pie you can imagine!” That was the day the young nurse was “saved,” and from that day on she too always had a basket of apples by her bed.


When faith give’s one such peace and harmony in their life,

it can only be that spirituality is a good thing.


have a quality day


Author Elbert Hubbard told the story of an incident during the Spanish-American War. It was imperative that the president get a message to the leader of the insurgents. His name was Garcia and he was known to fighting somewhere in the mountains of Cuba, but no mail or telegraph could reach him.


Someone said, “There’s a fellow by the name of Rowan who will find Garcia for you if anybody can.” Rowan took the letter without hesitation. He sealed it in a leather pouch strapped over his heart. He landed in the dark of night off the coast of Cuba and make his way to the mountains, and after much difficulty, found Garcia. He handed him the letter, turned around and headed home.


Hubbard tells this story in “A Letter to Garcia.” Rowan didn’t ask, “Exactly where is he?” or “I doubt if I can do it.” There was a job to be done and he did it. Instead of making a dozen excuses why you can’t complete the task, think about Rowan. Deliver the goods!





We were driving home the other day when we saw above us, in the distance, a cloud that resembled a hand. With outreaching fingers and even a thumb. This cloud truely looked like an open hand. One of the kids said, “It looks like the hand is going to come down and smash us. It is going to squash us like we are little ants.”


I said, “Or it is reaching down to scoop us up and take us into the heavens.” With that came a long list of could be’s. Like the hand was playing basketball with the world. Or, pushing the planet across space.


My nephew was complaining about how our little dog was chasing the deer out of the yard. Stating that the dog was being mean, until I explained that the dog was being protective. The dog loves us and was guarding the yard by chasing off any and everything that was not part of the family. He saw the dog differently and gave the dog a big hug for being the protector.


We were watching ‘Survivor’ and they were about to cut the head off of a chicken to cook it, and eat it. The kids were all astounded that the people on the show were having a hard time dealing with such a task. “But we buy chickens in the store all the time?”


“It is all in how we look at it!”


have a zen filled day





One of my favorite / used quotes is… “It is what it is.” Expectations lead to disapointments, I have a house full of kids who are always wishing it was a certain way other than what it is. The little story below fits with what would happen if things were the way we wished they were.


An old poem describes a woman walking through a meadow, meditating on nature. While strolling about, she came upon a field of golden pumpkins. In the corner of the field stood a majestic, huge oak tree. She sat under the oak tree musing on the strange twists in nature which put tiny acorns on huge branches and huge pumpkins on tiny vines. She thought to herself, “God blundered with Creation! He should have put the small acorns on the tiny vines and the large pumpkins on the huge branches.” Nodding off, the woman stretched out under the oak tree for a nap. A few minutes after falling asleep she was awakened by a tiny acorn bouncing off her nose. Chuckling to herself, she rubbed her nose and thought, “Maybe God was right after all!”


have a zen filled day


My stepdaughter, (like an apple falling from a tree) has decided to make a blog. We spent all morning putting it together. Her Blog is called, Cool123art, and she posted a picture she drew (that I think is awesome. An artist in the making.



emma 8



have a zen-filled day


In Zen temples, monks in training awaken at three or four o’clock in the morning. As soon as they awaken, the monks go to the meditation hall (Zendo) and practice zazen for about an hour. Even if many people are present in the dark, pre-dawn hall, it is as quiet as if there were no one there at all. Occasionally the crack of the waking stick (Kyosaku) striking a monk’s shoulder breaks the stillness, but that rather leads into a pool of deeper quietness which stills the whole body.

During this period of zazen the temple bell in the bell tower (Shorodo) sounds 108 times, now loudly and now softly; rapidly, then, slowly. Some people are good at ringing bells and some are not. Also, depending upon the weather condition of the day, sometimes the bell sounds clearly and sometimes not so clearly.

One cold winter morning Ekido Zenji, who was sitting zazen with a large number of monks, heard the solemn resounding of the temple bell, and he sensed that there was something mysteriously different in the way the bell was being struck.

“That’s strange. This is the bell I’m used to hearing, but this morning I feel sternness in the sound which goes right through my body.”

After zazen Ekido returned to the abbot’s quarters and instructed the attendant, “Go call the one who struck the bell this morning.”

A newly arrived novice monk was ushered in. “You’re the one who hit the bell this morning, aren’t you,” said the abbot.

“Yes, sir. Well you see . . . this morning was the first time I . . . ,” stammered the novice, timidly bowing his head and probably thinking he was going to be scolded for ringing the bell badly.

“No, I didn’t summon you because you rang the bell badly. I want to ask you, what were your feelings when you struck the bell?”

The novice answered, “I was taught that to strike the bell is to hear the voice of the Buddha. It is to bring forth the Buddha. Therefore, when we hit the bell we must hit it with this attitude. This morning my turn to strike the bell came for the first time. So, concentrating on hearing the Buddha’s voice and bringing forth the Buddha from the bell, I put the strength of my whole body into my hands when I grasped the mallet, and I hit the bell. After each strike of the bell I put my hands together and made a prostration.”

“Oh, so that’s it,” said the Abbot. “Well, don’t forget that feeling when you practice.”

This novice, who adored Ekido Zenji’s noble character and who never left his side for eighteen years, was the man who became the sixty-fourth abbot of Eiheiji Temple, Morita Goyu Zenji.

The rosy future dreamed of with the period of rapid growth has already become a tale of daydreams. The technological revolution didn’t simply change the processes of production; it ended up changing, before we knew it, everything – from the structure of industry to the structure of society.

There are many who are constantly lamenting the misfortune of their downfall due to these new forces. Consequently, everyone wants to know when, how, and in what direction the world is going to change.

We know that if we drop a glass on concrete it will break, but we do not know into how many pieces it will break. In just this way, no one knows exactly what kind of change will occur. The uncertain future, the times already past, and the people around us are things we can not rely on too much. Therefore, the most important thing is to acquire the ability to adapt to any change; or, more precisely, to acquire the sense of self necessary to be the master of any situation, and to freely, according to our will, affect our environment which changes moment by moment.

This is nothing other than completely burning up our here-and-now life, which is the most certain thing in this uncertain world.



have a zen-filled day


(The wife and I were watching storage wars: Texas (well, she was watching it, I was listening) any ways, this guy was saying that there are ants, and there is a fungus that attacks their brain, making them zombies. I heard this and had to check it out… this is what I found.)

The world just got a little weirder: Scientists have identified four new species of brain-controlling fungi that turn ants into zombies that do the parasite’s bidding before it kills them.

Identified from samples collected at two sites in Brazil’s tropical rain forest, each of the four species specializes in controlling a different species of carpenter ant.

The original zombie-ant fungus, Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, was first identified in 1865, and it seems to exist around the world.

Once it infects an ant, the fungus uses as-yet-unidentified chemicals to control the ant’s behavior, Hughes told LiveScience. It directs the ant to leave its colony (a very un-ant-like thing to do) and bite down on the underside of a leaf — the ant’s soon-to-be resting place. Once it is killed by the fungus, the ant remains anchored in place, thanks to its death grip on the leaf.

Ultimately, the fungus produces a long stalk that protrudes from the ant’s head, shooting spores out in the hopes of infecting other ants. Two of the four newly discovered species also sprouted smaller stalks elsewhere, including from the victim’s feet and lower leg joints – the equivalent of knees.

The spores of the four species also had distinct features and germination processes.

This article found here

(My step father use to say that if you watch people who are watching television, they look like zombies, I suppose that is the same with cell phones and computers and he would probably say the same about them if he were alive today. I think we all have problems that take over our thought process and that would be like a fungus that is unhealthy for us till we rid ourselves of what has taken over our brain. ) The only cure I know is “too much mind” … in zen, no-thought … ground yourself in the moment, breath in the here and now. And Live!


those who fail to prepare, prepare to fail




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Emma (Sunshine),

wedding day