Tag Archives: spirituality

Creativity and ego bind


Jeong Kwan, Buddhist monk pictured at her monastery

“Creativity and ego cannot go together.  If you free yourself from the comparing and jealous mind, your creativity opens up endlessly.  Just as water springs from a fountain, creativity springs from every moment.

“You must not be your own obstacle.  You must not be owned by the environment you are in.  You must own the environment, the phenomenal world around you. You must be able to freely move in and out of your mind. THIS is being free.

“There is no way you can’t open up your creativity.  There is no ego to speak of.  This is my belief.”  — Jeong Kwan, Buddhist monk (nun)


The Master

Truth. Intimacy. Love.  Even the Master breaks sometimes, and it is beautiful.


Not an Emergency


“Within the silence that follows the final breath of a dying person is the certainty that something is occurring. In the nonmoving movement of air in the room one senses a deep, deep loneliness and at the same time the connectedness of everything.”

—Robert Chodo Campbell, “Death Is Not an Emergency

Cross over it

Country Bridge 2

If you give up everything you own,

You will experience a reality that is not of this world.

What you think is a place of power and position,

Is really a prison.

Your lust for the things of this world makes it

Impossible for you to leave good and evil behind.

Your hair turned white without your permission

And in the end passions bring you to shame.


“Life is a bridge. Cross over it. Don’t install yourself upon it.”  –Jesus

Three selections

“How sad that people ignore the near

and search for truth afar:

like someone in the midst of water

crying out in thirst;

like a child of a wealthy home

wandering among the poor.”

–Hakuin Zenji, verse from “Song of Zazen”



Merton Shack Geth

“The trees indeed love You without knowing You. The tiger lilies and corn flowers are there, proclaiming that they love You, without being aware of Your presence. The beautiful dark clouds ride slowly across the sky musing on You like children who do not know what they are dreaming of, as they play.”

— Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude, written at the the Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky (photo: Merton’s shack in the woods)



Desert Sunrise

“It was in the desert the womb was cut;

in the desert that Inipi woman healed it with

spirit breath and feathers.

The grey fox will not decompose,

there are no vultures to pick her clean.

And yet. . .

the sun rises in purple paint, a gift from burnt dust.


–K. M., Ahwatukee, AZ

A year in the desert: burning, burning, burning for the woods.


path heart

“Does this path have a heart? All paths are the same, they lead nowhere.  They are paths going through the bush, or into the bush.  In my own life I  could say I have traversed long, long paths, but I am not anywhere.  My benefactor’s question has meaning now.  Does this path have a heart?  If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t, it is of no use.  Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart, the other doesn’t.  One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it.  The other will make you curse your life.  One makes you strong; the other weakens you.”

– don Juan, Yaqui Way

Looking, looking, breathlessly

Shaman in Tuva“For me there is only the traveling on paths

that have hear, on any path that may have

heart.  There I travel, and the only worthwhile

challenge is to traverse its full length.

And there I travel looking, looking, breathlessly.”

—Don Juan, Yaqui Shaman

“The worlds of different peoples have different shapes.  The very metaphysical presuppositions differ: space does not conform to Euclidean geometry, time does not form a continuous unidirectional flow, causation does not conform to Aristotelian logic, man is not differentiated from non-man or life from death, as in our [Western] world.  We know something of the shape of these other worlds from the logic of native languages and from myths and ceremonies. . .”

–Walter Goldschmidt

Meeting the wild fox

The shaman told me she believed that humans were half-monkey, half-angel, a foul and beautiful marriage of opposites. I did not share her view but found comfort in it, thinking maybe it was a better option than Hell, the creation of Hell, the notion of Hell, the myth and reality of this Hell. Her view explained nothing, but she never intended it to.

wild fox

“Baizhang personally met the wild fox;

questioned by it, his heart was greatly perturbed.

Now, I ask you, practitioners of the way,

have you completely spat out the wid fox’s saliva, or not?”

–Facheng [Jingyin] Kumu

Body-mind releases, as one

There is no answer because answer is a label free from inherent meaning and therefore merely a n s w e r.

Lion of fire

“If you take up one koan and investigate it without ceasing, your thoughts will die and your ego-demands will be destroyed.  It is as though a  vast abyss opened up in front of you, with no place to put your hands and feet.  You face death, and your heart feels as though it were fire.  Then suddenly you are one with the koan, and body and mind let go. . .This is known as seeing into one’s own nature.  You must push forward relentlessly, and with the help of this great concentration you will penetrate without fail to the infinite source of your own nature.”

–Hakuin (1686-1769)

Nothing Cuts Like a Diamond

Nothing cuts through delusion, illusion, ego, self, body, labels, categories, language, like the sharpness of a diamond; nothing cuts through like the Diamond Sutra.

Diamond Sutra

“Therefore, Subhuti, fearless  bodhisattvas should get rid of all perceptions in giving birth to the thought of unexcelled, perfect enlightenment.  They should not give birth to a thought attached to a sign, nor should they give birth to a thought attached to a sound, a smell, a taste, a touch, or a dharma.  They should not give birth to a thought attached to a dharma, nor should they give birth to a thought attached to no dharma.  They should not give birth to a thought attached to anything.  And why not?  Every attachment is no attachment.  Thus, the Tathagata says that bodhisattvas should give gifts without being attached.  They should give gifts without being attached to a sign, a sound, a smell, a taste, a touch, or a dharma.”   –Diamond Sutra, Ch. 14


“Who looks for me in form

who seeks me in a voice

indulges in wasted effort

such people see me not.”

DS, Ch. 26

*Adapted from Red Pine’s text and commentary on the Diamond Sutra.