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one should flow through life like a river

being like the sun that warms others

soft as water and yet hard as a stone

poised as a mountain, and yet

fast as the wind that moans


a storm of emotions

delivering our words like a potion

we are all delicate flowers in a field

here merely for the season

absorbed in what we feel


our bodies bound to this earth like a tree

while our minds fly like a bird that is free

and above us all our the stars

the universe’s mystery

of who we really are


…a life…


A Campbell 2014 (~_~)







If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper.  Without a cloud there will be no water; without water, the trees cannot grow; and without trees, you cannot make paper.  So the cloud is in here.  The existence of this page is dependent upon the existence of a cloud.  Paper and cloud are so close.

Thich Nhat Hahn
                Engaged Buddhism
                                                   Found in Entering the Stream, 1993, p. 248


    Zen Master Shuzan held out his short staff in front of his Daoist friend, Shifu Miao Zhang, and said “If you call this a short staff, you oppose its reality and are clinging. If you do not call it a short staff, then you ignore the fact. Now what do you wish to call this?”
Miao Zhang smiled, dropped and pointed to his cane, and said “Yesterday it was a wooden walking stick that helped without speaking.  Tomorrow it may become firewood, crackling in the flames.”


Master Tung Kwo asked Sifu Miao Zhang, ” Show me where the Tao is to be found.”
Miao Zhang replied, “There is no place my cane or my mind goes or rests where the Tao cannot be found.” 

these found here


Only the idea of self remains
Floating on a sea of cells;
Only heartbeats short of eternity
In breath after breath we dwell.

–  Mike Garofalo,



you can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf


 A teacher was watching her students as they all climbed on the big oak tree in the play ground. “Be careful,” she shouted. The whole class room was on the tree. Some were trying to climb to the top while most settled for a perch on the lower branches.

When play time was over and all were back in the class-room, the kids all selected that Tommy was the winner because he had climbed higher than any one else, on the tree.

The teacher interrupted the class and stated, “Tommy may have climbed to the top, and he may climb higher on the social ladder than any one else in life. But the facts are that everyone had fun climbing the tree, right?” The class all agreed.

“Did anyone not enjoy climbing the tree?” She asked. No student raised their hand immediately but slowly, little Sally raised her hand and claimed she did not like climbing the tree.

Why did you not like climbing the tree? Why then did you climb the tree?” The teacher asked Sally.

“I am afraid of heights.” Sally stated. “And I did it because everyone else was doing it. I was afraid they would all call me ‘chicken’ if I didn’t.”

“I think we should all give a big clap for Sally,” the teacher said to the class. “Sally climbed the tree with a great fear in order to fit in.” The class room clapped for Sally. “I think Sally should be the winner today.” The class all agreed, even Tommy. “

moral: As we all go through life, like climbing a tree, some may reach higher than others, but the main thing is that we all enjoy the climb, help each other and especially those who are afraid. Rise above the earth and hold on tightly.

by Art~ 2012


I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree

A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray,

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair

Upon whose blossom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems were made by fools like me
But only God can make a tree.
­Joyce Kilmer

To talk much and arrive nowhere is like climbing a tree to catch a fish.

~Chinese Proverb~

may your climb through life be a joy this day


I was feeling big, and rather strong

in my car and driving home.

When I saw the full moon

peeking through the tall timbered pines

above the road that twist and whined.


It made me feel small and rather meek

a spec on this earth, where I squeak

I bowed to the moon’s ancient smile

like a zen master, it taught me

I am but at the mercy of time.


By Art~


The blissful state reveals itself as a shining light, as a luminescence permeating the still field of the mind. There is a sense of light from an undefined “above,” silence, a fullness of vitality, and deep rest.

In sacred poetry, particularly in Zen poetry, this is often expressed as the full moon in the night sky.

The moon is the individual consciousness that shines only by reflecting the constant light of the sun, which is unbounded awareness. Individual consciousness, like the moon, waxes and wanes, sometimes bright and clear, sometimes dark.

When the moon, consciousness, is full, it is round, whole, complete, perfectly reflecting the light of divine awareness. The full moon is enlightenment. It is Buddha-mind. It is the soft light that illumines the land below when all is at rest.

In yogic poetry, the crescent moon is often associated with the brow chakra or opened “third eye” of spiritual vision. This is why some poetry and Hindu iconography depict gods and saints with a moon on the forehead.

Some Taoist and Buddhist poetry speaks enigmatically of the sun shining within the moon. These poems are referring to the state of full enlightenment when pure awareness (the sun) shines unhindered through the enlightened individual consciousness (the moon).

The full moon reminds us of the ultimate in awareness and spiritual presence. The new moon, in its darkness, can represent the “death” of complete egolessness or encountering the unknowable nature of the Mystery…

Moon (a list of poems with the moon theme)


There is an old zen saying; The finger pointing at the moon, is not the moon.


may your smile be as bright as a full moon


(psst… this is not me in this picture)

Like most, I have to manicure the yard. Cutting the grass is like giving the earth a hair cut; prune the scalp (the yard) and let the rest of the body go. My Father-in-law, like most, has a riding lawn mower and finds any reason he can to ride it. I find this time a marvelous time to reflect, meditate and even inspires some of my writes, like; ‘The rock and the roll’ (a story I came up with cutting the grass today)  compassion for ignorance,’ and ‘praying to say the right thing,’ plus others. At the old house, in my poetic days, I wrote this while cutting the grass;

a tree limb lay

like thoughts

fallen yesterday

Like most, when I was younger I made money cutting lawns. I won’t go into the story of how the riding lawn-mower caught on fire and burned up or who’s fault it was. The facts are, I now have a push mower and don’t mind the work, the rewards are in the muscles and the yard, like a zen master tending the garden. Yep, you guessed it, I just cut the grass.

Be like the grass, even if it’s stepped on, crushed, burned and cut; it always persists and grows back even greener and stronger.

The grass always seems greener in anothers yard.


The Grass Cutting Sword

Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi (is a legendary Japanese sword as important to Japan’s history as Excalibur is to Britain’s, and is one of three Imperial Regalia of Japan. It was originally called Ama-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi (“Sword of the Gathering Clouds of Heaven”) but its name was later changed to the more popular Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi (“Grass Cutting Sword”).

It was discovered from the body of a giant serpent. In the reign of the XII Emperor, the sword was gifted to Yamato Takeru, who was led into an open grassland as a trap by a warlord. The plan was to ignite the grass and burn Yamato to death. In desperation, Yamato started cutting the grass with his sword and discovered to his amazement that he could control the wind. Using this power, Yamato expanded the fire in the direction of his enemies, defeating them. It was after this incident that Yamato named the sword as “Grasscutter Sword”.

Yamato was later killed in a battle by a monster when he ignored his wife’s advice to take the Grasscutter sword with him. The moral of the story: Always listen to your wife. However, In The Tale of the Heike, a collection of oral stories transcribed in 1371, the sword is lost at sea after the defeat of the Heike clan in the Battle of Dan-no-ura, a naval battle that ended in the defeat of the Heike clan forces and the child Emperor Antoku at the hands of Minamoto no Yoshitsune.

In the tale, upon hearing of the Navy’s defeat, the Emperor’s grandmother led the Emperor and his entourage to commit suicide by drowning in the waters of the strait along with the three Imperial Regalia, including Kusanagi. Although the Minamoto troops managed to stop a handful of them and recovered two of the three regalia, Kusanagi was said to have been lost forever.


Once upon a time a flea saw an ox grazing in a pasture. He knew that oxen work for men in their farms. But he didn’t like it. He was proud that he fed on men’s blood and yet didn’t do anything for them. Approaching the ox, the flea asked, “How is it so that you work for men though youare quite big and strong? Look at me, I never do anything for them and yet feed ontheir blood though I am so small.” 
The ox was surprised to hear what the flea had said and replied, “If I work for men,they are very kind to me. They take care of mine in every way, feed me, shelter meand moreover, pat me on my back, head and neck out of love and affectiom.On the other hand, you feed on their blood and they are always up to destroy you.” ~~~~~~~~~~~~~Behavior always counts.
may the grass be soft beneath your feet

Shania Twain

We live in a greedy little world, 
that teaches every little boy and girl,
to earn as much as they can possibly,
then turn around and spend it foolishly.

We’ve created us a credit card mess.
We spend the money that we don’t possess.
Our religion is to go and blow it all.
So it’s shoppin’ every Sunday at the mall.

All we ever want is more.
A lot more than we had before.
So take me to the nearest store.
Can you hear it ring.
It makes you wanna sing.
It’s such a beautiful thing – Ka-ching! 
Lots of diamond rings.
The happiness it brings.
You’ll live like a king,
with lots of money and things.

When you’re broke go and get a loan.
Take out another mortgage on your home.
Consolidate so you can afford,
to go and spend some more when you get bored.

All we ever want is more.
A lot more than we had before.
So take me to the nearest store  

Let’s swing!
Dig deeper in your pocket.
Oh, yeah, Come on I know you’ve got it.
Dig deeper in your wallet.

Oh, All we ever want is more.
A lot more than we had before.
So take me to the nearest store  

Can you hear it ring.
It makes you wanna sing.
You’ll live like a king,
with lots of money and things.



poetry source: path to enlightenment (sung by: Shania Twain)


The simple life (a zendictive comment)… I remember when rice and beans with tortillas was the main meal. Saving pennies in a jar was a daily enjoyment. I sat the other day waiting on my brother who was in the doctors office and I spotted a penny on the ground.

 At first I thought to pick it up but the hall-way was filled with traffic, people walking. I saw a lady who also saw the penny on the ground and half bent over to pick it up but then decided not to. I then reached into my pocket and pulled out a nickle and waited for the right time and then rolled it towards the penny.

It wasn’t but a few minutes and a man walking by reached down and picked up the nickle. I walked over and picked up the penny. I just paid 4 cents for a valuble lesson. (people are attracted to things that shine)

Art~ (~_~)


may you shine this day


A few years ago, at the Seattle Special Olympics, nine contestants, all physically or mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line for the 100-yard dash.

At the gun, they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with a relish to run the race to the finish and win. All, that is, except one little boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled over a couple of times, and began to cry. The other eight heard the boy cry. They slowed down and looked back. Then they all turned around and went back. Every one of them.

One girl with Down’s Syndrome bent down and kissed him and said: “This will make it better.” Then all nine linked arms and walked together to the finish line.

Everyone in the stadium stood, and the cheering went on for several minutes. People who were there are still telling the story. Why?

Because deep down we know this one thing. What matters in this life is more than winning for ourselves. What matters in this life is helping others win, even if it means slowing down and changing our course.

Diane Berke


When things go wrong, as they sometimes will
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh
When care is pressing you down a bit
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.Life is queer with its twists and turns
As every one of us sometimes learns
And many a fellow turns about
When he might have won, had he stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup;
And he learned too late when the night came down
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt
And you never can tell how close you are
It may be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.

Author Unknown
may you preserver this day

Once upon a time, there was a seed and because it was only a seed, nobody cared to notice it. Thus, gripped by a sense of inferiority, the seed gave no importance to its existence.

Then one day, a wind picked him up – randomly or otherwise it didn’t know – and threw it mercilessly on an open field under the sweltering sun. He was confused. Why would anything do such a thing? But instead of any copasetic answers, it was provided with rain (in addition to sunlight); sometimes in drizzles and sometimes in torrents.

Meanwhile time flew and years later it saw a traveler sitting by his side. “Thank you God for this. I really needed some rest,” he heard the traveler say.

“What are you talking about?” The seed promptly asked. He thought the man was making fun of him. Sure, he had witnessed many people sitting by his side – more so in recent years – but no one ever spoke to him like that.

“Who is this?” The man was startled.

“This is me. The seed.”

“The seed?” The man looked at the giant tree. “Are you kidding me? You are no seed. You are a tree. A goliath of a tree!”


“Yes! Why else do you think people come here?”

“What do they come here for anyways?” Asked the seed.

“To feel your shade! Don’t tell me you didn’t know you had grown over time.”

A moment passed before the traveler’s words struck the chord of realization within him.

The seed, now a prolix tree, thought and smiled for the first time in his life. The years of relentless tortures by the sun and the rain finally made sense to him.

Author: Novoneel Chakraborty


moral: sometimes we never see what we have grown into. Time does fly and we think of ourselves as we have always been while others are able to see what we have grown to become, sometimes this is good and sometimes not.


Sawing thoughts …by Art~

to build with timber
one must cut wood
sawing for moments
while one stood

a thought see-saw
across my mind
of yesterdays
tasteful as aged wine

to read the grain
predicting the bow
for cutting the wood
releases tension grown

the push and pull
that life casts
like the surf
that comes in laps

To push a blade
with firm hand
minutes of labor
in working strands

Images of you
basking on a bed
sensually wanting
me in my head

a driving force
of pulling hard
back and forth
boards are scar’s

like our salty life
on sweet sugar days
the memories
linger then they fade

standing firm
a strong footed stance
just man and wood
doing a saw dust dance

soft moments
come flooding back
embedded in the grain
of our lives and tracks

hard wood or soft
it makes a difference
sandpaper smooth
becomes entranced

we shared our lives
back and forth
perhaps that’s why
I still carry the torch

drawing a line
placing the saw
cutting wood
that’s all

by Art~


may you build a better day, today



I am almost certain that this is not a statue of Jabba The Hut, though the resemblance is uncanny. I am almost certain that it is a statue of Daruma, the Japanese name given to the Bodhidharma, known as the founder of Zen.

Bodhidharma is believed to have been an Indian monk who took new Buddhist teaching to China where it became known as Ch’an. When Japan appropriated Ch’an they called it Zen.


Daruma dolls are found all over Japan. They have no arms or legs as the Bodhidarma spent so many years in ascetic meditation that his limbs dropped off through lack of use.

Daruma dolls are usually sold without eyes. They are used to help achieve your goals. After purchasing one a single eye is painted in as you set your self a goal. When you achieve your goal you paint in the second eye.

this story and other interesting information on Japan

More glimpses of unfamiliar Japan



Here is a poem I wrote about turtles that I should have pasted with yesterdays post but here is the link…

Turtle Time

may all your wishes come true


Zen’s dying…

A famous zen master was lying on his death bed. A line of people trailed out the door and across the zen garden of those who had come to pay their respects to the master before he passed. They had come from all over to see the great zen master one last time.

The zen master’s student, Ryon, was also in this long line to see his master for what was permited, ten minutes for each patron to allow time for every one to visit with the zen master.

As Ryon entered the zen master’s room, the master graciously welcomed his student. The student stood next to the zen master’s bed, silent. Tears rolled down his cheek as he could see that the life was evaporating from his beloved teacher.

“I know not what to say master. You will no longer be with this world and I can not seem to find any words worthy.” The student sniffled.

“You need not say anything,” the zen master mumbled. “Your being here is enough. I however have a request.”

“Anything master,” the student stated. “Your wish is my command.”

“I will soon die…” the master began. “Do not let zen die.”

“I shall see that your teachings grow like the flowers in a field.” The student said. With this the zen master smiled.

“Of all the words I have heard spoken today, those were the most comforting.” The zen master stated. The abbott ushered the next visitor into the room as the student bowed to his teacher who lay withering and yet smiling.

by Art~ 2012            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you had ten minutes to spend with a loved one who was dying, what would you do or say?

This story evolved from the task I had on my friday at work!

Don’t wait until it is too late to tell some one how much you love them and how much you care. For when they are gone, no matter how loud you shout and cry they won’t hear you anymore!


…as one Zen master laughed on his death-bed: “All this time I’ve been selling water by the river!”

This famous Zen saying says it all about the quandary of the spiritual dilemma. What we seek… is what is seeking, our own self. And since what is seeking is already here, in other words, you are already here, then what we are seeking is already here as well!  But, alas, many of us don’t realize this, don’t know this. And therefore we seek, we search.

The Zen Master says, “but, but… the River, your own self, is already always here!”

“Free Water really…. religion is like, selling water by the river!”


A contemporary zen master lay dying on his death bed. His monks had all gathered around his bed, from the most senior to the most novice monk. The senior monk leaned over to ask the dying master if he had any final words of advice for his monks.

The old master slowly opened his eyes and in a weak voice whispered. “Tell them Truth is like a river.” The senior monk passed this bit of wisdom in turn to the monk next to him, and it circulated around the room. When the words reached the youngest monk he asked, “What does he mean.’Truth is like a river’?”

The question was passed back around the room to the senior monk who leaned over the bed and asked, “Master, what do you mean, ‘Truth is like a river’?”

Slowly the master opened his eyes and in a weak voice whispered, “O.K., truth is not like a river.”


Traditionally a Zen Master would write a poem when about to die. The poem served as a summation of life and a gift to inspire his disciples.

Coming and going, life and death;
A thousand hamlets, a million houses.
Dont you get the point?
Moon is the water, blossom in the sky….

Empty-handed I entered the world
Barefoot I leave it.
My coming, my going –
Two simple happenings
That got entangled.

Senryu, died June 2, 1827

Like dew drops
on a lotus leaf
I vanish.

Shinsui, died September 9, 1769, at 49

Now it reveals its hidden side
and now the other—thus it falls,
an autumn leaf

Ryokan 1758-1831

One Zen master, Takuan, was on his deathbed.
He asked for some paper and his calligraphic
brush. It has been a long-standing tradition in the
world of Zen that masters when departing from
life give their last statement, written. Takuan
wrote on the paper a Japanese word which
means dream. He laughed, closed his eyes, the
brush dropped from his hand…

During his last moment, Shisui’s followers requested that he write a death poem. He grasped his brush, painted a circle, cast the brush aside, and died. The circle is one of the most important symbols of Zen Buddhism. It indicates void — the essence of all things — and enlightenment.

 (When I first started posting on this blog I placed a lot of what I would call the best of my collection and yet back then not very many read these stories. SO, I will post some of these stories as they become relative.)

another zendictive post (related story)

Butter and Stones

death is a journey we all must experience at the end of our travels through life!


 may you live as if there were no tomorrow


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Emma (Sunshine),

wedding day