Posts from the ‘Buddhism’ Category

06 07 2011

So many things crossing my mind and i am so grateful, cause it means i still have one!
and what is that MIND…..mind-body, the brain, the aggregate of central nervous system pathways, the muscles and tissues in which and upon which those nerves operate….the chemicals and electrical impulses that make up the vast messaging system which coordinates action and thought and vice versa….thought is the action of the brain, the action and interaction of chemicals AND stimuli.

Dogen says,- to study the mind is to study the self, to study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to perceive the self in all things.-

Can one be a buddhist without a fully functioning mind….i can be in a wheelchair and be buddhist, but can i have advanced alzheimers, or vascular dementia and be a buddhist…? which is to ask really, can i have a practice and alzheimer’s too? The question is NOT, can i be a buddha and have alz or vascular dementia too? A prior question might be…are people with advanced dementia of any kind, anything at all but a skin bag?

I would say this is my koan right now, but that would mean it is a burning question that i must answer…and i am not sure i will ever have an answer…..nor am i sure that even if i do answer it, even for a moment, that it matters ….why would it not matter??? or maybe better to ask, to whom would it matter and why?

One thing i know , right now , and for sure…..with a mind-body and mind-awareness i can have a practice; which right now means being MINDFUL, not only as a coping mechanism for functioning, but as a way of being able to operate with compassion for myself and the world.Right now, pay attention! Right now, and now and now!


I have found some links by plugging -Buddhism and Dementia-into google. This is one that i am exploring now-
perhaps you will find it interesting.

Here’s another-


03 23 2011

This is a letter that was forwarded to at least some Buddhist temples in the United States as a response to worried queries. I do not know who wrote it. Permission was granted to use it, without the author’s name.
I heard this letter at services on Sunday and have been thinking about it ever since.When disaster strikes, our world is often shattered,and all the things that we associate with security. Homes are lost, food and water is not always certain, and friends and family are not close enough to touch and know that they are safe. You may know that they have died and are coping with the loss of relationship as well as home. In an earthquake, and other natural disasters, the very earth is uncertain beneath your feet.Indeed, Japan itself moved 8 feet on the earth’s surface and the earth’s rotation slowed. Nothing is permanent and nothing shows that more than the fury of wind,water, earth moving, planet shaking natural events.So many social problems are excacerbated by the conditions in which these natural events(themselves possibly triggered by human activity) occur.

However, none of this HAS to shatter our essential being..and this letter shows that it can be so.

Hello My Lovely Family and Friends,

First I want to thank you so very much for your concern for me. I am
very touched. I also wish to apologize for a generic message to you all.
But it seems the best way at the moment to get my message to you.

Things here in Sendai have been rather surreal. But I am very blessed to
have wonderful friends who are helping me a lot. Since my shack is even
more worthy of that name, I am now staying at a friend’s home. We share
supplies like water, food and a kerosene heater. We sleep lined up in
one room, eat by candlelight, share stories. It is warm, friendly, and

During the day we help each other clean up the mess in our homes. People
sit in their cars, looking at news on their navigation screens, or line
up to get drinking water when a source is open. If someone has water
running in their home, they put out sign so people can come to fill up
their jugs and buckets.

Utterly amazingly where I am there has been no looting, no pushing in
lines. People leave their front door open, as it is safer when an
earthquake strikes. People keep saying, “Oh, this is how it used to be
in the old days when everyone helped one another.”

Quakes keep coming. Last night they struck about every 15 minutes. Sirens
are constant and helicopters pass overhead often.

We got water for a few hours in our homes last night, and now it is for
half a day. Electricity came on this afternoon. Gas has not yet come on.

But all of this is by area. Some people have these things, others do not.
No one has washed for several days. We feel grubby, but there are so much
more important concerns than that for us now. I love this peeling away of
non-essentials. Living fully on the level of instinct, of intuition, of
caring, of what is needed for survival, not just of me, but of the
entire group.

There are strange parallel universes happening. Houses a mess in some
places, yet then a house with futons or laundry out drying in the sun.

People lining up for water and food, and yet a few people out walking
their dogs. All happening at the same time.

Other unexpected touches of beauty are first, the silence at night. No
cars. No one out on the streets. And the heavens at night are scattered
with stars. I usually can see about two, but now the whole sky is filled.

The mountains of Sendai are solid and with the crisp air we can see them
silhouetted against the sky magnificently.

And the Japanese themselves are so wonderful. I come back to my shack to
check on it each day, now to send this e-mail since the electricity is on,
and I find food and water left in my entranceway. I have no idea from
whom, but it is there. Old men in green hats go from door to door checking
to see if everyone is OK. People talk to complete strangers asking if they
need help. I see no signs of fear. Resignation, yes, but fear or panic,

They tell us we can expect aftershocks, and even other major quakes, for
another month or more. And we are getting constant tremors, rolls,
shaking, rumbling. I am blessed in that I live in a part of Sendai that is
a bit elevated, a bit more solid than other parts. So, so far this area is
better off than others. Last night my friend’s husband came in from the
country, bringing food and water. Blessed again.

Somehow at this time I realize from direct experience that there is indeed
an enormous Cosmic evolutionary step that is occurring all over the world
right at this moment. And somehow as I experience the events happening now
in Japan, I can feel my heart opening very wide. My brother asked me if I
felt so small because of all that is happening. I don’t. Rather, I feel as
part of something happening that much larger than myself. This wave of
birthing (worldwide) is hard, and yet magnificent.

Thank you again for your care and Love of me,

With Love in return, to you all.
Hands palm-to-palm,


03 23 2011

Lots going on and there are some wonderful things that have happened…last night was Ryaku Fusatsu at the
Zen Center of Pittsburgh. This is a very ancient service in which those participating renew their comittment to the 16 bodhissatva precepts.These precepts are not commandments, but rather are a guide to compassionate and useful ways of being in the world.Applying them to daily life is not a matter of black and white rules, but of how best to interpret them in a given situation, and also serve as a matrix from which to BE.

There is much chanting and the ino (a temple job position) leads it. Ryan was our ino last night and his chanting resonates . Not only does he have a beautiful chanting voice, but the intonations and his rendering are just beautiful. Ryaku Fusatsu takes place once a month, on the Tuesday nearest the full moon.

The Seasons BOM yahoo group recently hosted a rug mug swap. What a great way to practice piecing skills and make something small and useful.

The one made for Pat S.(my secret swap partner) is the blue and white ladder one that was posted.

Then there is this one, made for me by Kathy Bowers. She also inclluded a copy of her book, which can be found here .Stitch,Sprit and Sew is about making curved piecing a breeze! It will wonderful to get started on the projects that are included.

Here is some information about Kathy, and I can add that she is a delight!

And here is the mug rug that she made using her techniques. It is such a beauty that i have it hanging on the refrigerator as a piece of cheer.

I think the fabrics are so pretty, and the colors are so clear and clean. You should see the mitering, frot and back. Of course only the front is here showing, but be assured,the mitering on the back is perfect too!

Even though there is much more happening, this is it for this post.

May you be well, and happy stitching!

November 25, 2010 Happy Thanksgiving

It was a quiet day here, as are most of  my days, really. Quiet inside, and quiet out. The weather was moody…rainy and cold this morning, then rainy and not so cold this afternoon. I was myself quite comfortable. The past few days or so i have been very cold, at least one of my arms and that hand have been like ice. Today was a welcome change  from that.

Listening to the radio and hearing stories about feasts and family or is it family and feast……lol….makes me realize that this day is about so much more than genetics and food, but at bottom, and it is expressed in so many ways , it is about sharing what we have, and sharing what we feel.How many people invite almost strangers to the table without hesitation on this day…that might not otherwise? How many people say Happy Thnaksgiving and really mean it ….my take is that many many people say’s not automatic as are some greetings on other holidays. 

We Buddhists talk about appreciating a human birth as the one that affords the most opportunity to wake up.For me, it is also the one that is about an aware gratitude. And even though i have  spent the holiday without the feast and the family has been spent in gratitude not only for my human birth, but for the existence of all beings.