Thursday, September 17, 2020

The Rambling must go on....

 As the CORVID- 19 pandemic seems to still keep lingering on and most of life has been practically turned upside down for the rich and poor alike staying home has become an option that most makes sense to me. As the saying goes, careful what you wish for and i have often wished for the solitary and silence in the comfort of my own home where i can look deeper within than having to deal with the externals. I know from years of having the same delusion that the externals is just as valid as the inner state and there is no difference to content with. I am projecting my own inner state of consciousness just as I have been doin for most of my life. My mind will always be playing the tunes of old songs repeating again and again every time I let my sense of awareness down, if nothing else i have come to realize that my mind is about the worse of my enemies in this life and there is not much that I can do about it. No amount of meditation and contemplation and no amount of getting stoned or drunk can make the difference, my mind will always be trying to bring me down towards my weaker and self defeating nature, of low self esteem and depression and worse of all yet to, fear.

I am getting too old I know to be regressing in getting my life straight, but I also have come to realize that in my quest towards self discovery or whatever name I have been giving it has done very little to heal my emotions and my thoughts are the same ols thoughts that i have had since I was young. The only consolation i feel that I have is the fact that I have been able to create an environment where I can keep on practicing what I ahve started and care for my two children as best I can. My inner journey has become my own personal trials and tribulations to deal personally with no hope for help from anyone else; I have to walk my own path to the end for better of worse. This Blog has been an ongoing record of where i ahve been and where I am headed God only knows. I have put faith into so many religions and belief systems  that I have lost faith in myself, in who I am or what I am; I have lost the confidence that I had in myself when I was not concern with the question of being in the right or being good. Most of my questions about the nature of my being has been answered at one time or another, however nothing seems to last as I keep slipping and regressing into self doubt and depression.

I find myself lately wasting my time watching movies and listening to talks and lectures on the interenet, mostly just to occupy my mind and I keep on posting sketches from my journals of my past on to the Face Book in order to keep those interested entertained if not learn something from them. I have distanced myself from my close friends and fellow artists here simply because I have lost the desire to deal with any more new dramas that would trigger my mind to latch on to as it always does. In short I am living day to day hoping that it will all come to an abrupt end, my life snuffed out from this round of my existence, even my prayers seem shallow and it seems like I am destined to ride this roller coaster whether I like it or not. If there is any silver lining to this state of consciousness that I am going through it sure is not showing on the horizon, like there is no light at the end of the tunnel I am in. I can only say one thing for it is worth, it is that I will not give up this route I have chosen. I will perservere and keep on digging deeper for answers and demand that my right be met with as a being seeking the light of truth till the day I die. 

"Eternity does not mean having endless time, it means timelessness." " If you want to experience infinite enlightenment, you need to get the past and the future out of your mind and stay in the present."



Tuesday, September 15, 2020

How I got myself to Sandpoint, Alaska.-1982

OM - Lead us from the unreal to the real,

          Lead us from the Darkness to light,

          Lead us from death to immortality.


My friend Robert Sergei and I left Green Bay, Wisconsin on the First of May and we made a pit stop at a small town called Little Suamico where Robert had some friends who were setting about to plant some 500 pine trees as an ecological venture. From there we set our journey West towards Seattle Washington which took us three days. We traveled in Rob's car a beat up Chevy Nova that had leaky fuel tank that had to be refilled every 60 miles or so; it was long and arduous journey where we slept by the roadside parks all the way when nights fell. I hardly knew Rob whom I met a month or so before the trip where we had a two man art exhibition at the Belin Hospital in Green Bay; Rob was a photographer and I was very impressed by his works which were mostly taken in, the Aleutians, Alaska. The pictures were so out of this world in nature that I became obsessed making a trip to the places they were taken even if theyw ould take me to Alaska and that was how I persuaded myself into buying a one way ticket North to Alaska.



I met Ms.Judy Pennini on the fourth of July 1982 after out fishing for Halibuts for ten days out in the Bering Sea along with four other crew members including the Captain. We had a good catch and had headed for the only restaurant in town, the Windward Cafe ran by two young ladies, Ms. Judy and Ms.Brenda, both from the 'Lower 48s'. How i made my acquaintance with Judy was perhaps one episode that the fishing community including the Boat owners and crew of most of those present for the Halibut season at Sandpoint, would forever cherish as a story worth laughing over as a fish tale. It being the 4th of July, the Windward Cafe was jam packed with customers who most had returned for the occasion; it was a mixed bunch of rough tough fishermen and well mannered lords and ladies of the small fishing community and most were two sheets to the wind. Being the last to enter the place, the crew of the Iceland led by her Captain Donald Bark sat at the first table closest to the door. When we entered I got the feeling like what was going through everyone's mind as they turned to notice our entry, the saying,"Look what the cat dragged in!" never rang more true in my mind; we were a filthy mess fresh from the sea, with no time to shit shower or shave. I might have been the only colored guy among the Aleuts and their spouses and the red necks from down south. To help celebrate the occasion and our bountiful catch, the crew of the Iceland had also just emptied a whole bottle of Jack Daniels, so much of what happened was like in a daze to me and beyond my control, pretty much

As we sat facing the whole crowd of rumbling conversations of fishermen recapping their tales of the first halibut run which lasted for ten days, I noticed one of the ladies making  pizza delivery with two large pizzas in her hands walking and I felt all my senses came alive. Her view from behind especially her long curly hair reminded me of  someone I had left behind me in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Before I knew it I blurted out loud,"I am in love!" The whole room fell dead silenced and even the dog that was lying close to the door asleep raised uup her head to see what was happening. The waitress/owner of the cafe stopped dead in her track and turned around slowly to face me from the distance and seeing her looks I blurted out again and this time even louder, "I am, in Love!" I felt the Captain's hand grabbing mine under the table and he leaned close to my ear and whispered quite tersely, "Shut the fuck up!" That was how I came to let myself be known to the Sandpoint community and the rough tough fishermen and especially to Judy Pennini of who I was. We ended up living together in her trailer home for the next two years or so. Of all the members of the FV Iceland I might have made the best catch of the season.
Mr. Phil Rowe, a former Biker for the Hell's Angels in LA, Calfornia was a crew member of the Iceland, he was also an artist. We almost went head to toe while in the midst of hauling in the lines one dark windy night on the Iceland and was stopped short by the Captain who stood by the galley door with a gun in his hand. We became good friends after that.


Saturday, September 05, 2020

Each sketch and each picture is a moment in time and space telling their own tales.



37 Years ago, in 1983 I wrote these in my journal.- I was in Sandpoint, Alaska.

All dependency on other than one's self is Pain

Whatever is controlled by one's self, is Pleasure.

Know tis to be briefly, the definition of Pain and Pleasure.

                                The Lawbook of Manu. - 

Written in 1983 at Sandpoint, Alaska.

And look at me pass my age of 30 and still can't get my shit together. Here I am sitting in a Trailer Home in Sandpont, Alaska, passing al kinds of judgments over myself. Still asking what is the connection between the pain and pleasures of my life, how limiting can a amn get. My justification trip has not ended, sad to say, it has taken a different  shape and forms. I am the same still running in circles over some sad old songs I once sang out of tune. Selling my painting on the street, that's what Ia m doing, selling mu painting on the street. Nothing is worse in this life than the illness call, sefl doubt- it crippling both to the body and mind. I am still the same - only my doubts have changed. 

But for a Malaysian Boy from the 'Sungai Pinang Village (Better known bakc when as Kampong Selut,) I am not doing too shabby. I have come a long way from home and even if I am sitting here all by myself drinking this Budweiser Light and listening to the album 'WAR' on the stereo, I am happy to be who I am.I know I am in love with a woman who will share the rest of my life with me- this I fully accept now with no doubts. My future quests for truth and consequences...well who can tell. They call me the 'Gypsy Man', a Gypsy Man ain't got no home.

I am a boat painter now, painting boats both on canvasses as well as on the vessels themselves. I have just started working on the Fishing Vassel, Miss Ingrid and she belongs to Dicky Jacobsen. Sold a painting of the F.V. Rossella to the owner , Mr. Don Eubanks.

A letter from Charles S. Lueck, attorney at law, University of Wisconsin- Madison, Accounts Receivable Office - They are ready to crucify you, Bahari!, if you don't start payingbakc your direct student loans. Maybe thy will have to fly me out of here first and perhaps later they will let me paint or teach art in prison, or maybe if I return my diploma they will have a little more compassion and let me pay the back when I really can.

AAH Soh!! Quoting my former Professor and friend, Mr. Elmer Havens: "Every stage along life's way is fraught with these times of seeming directionless-ness, self doubt, fear and groping in the dark when nothing seems clear!"

Aah! So! Perhap I will feel better tomorrow.

Someone mentioned once somewhere that you are never to trust any man who writes about himself. At my age now, I do not give a damn if they trust me or they don't. I write to understand myself; my moments of doubts and ignorance.Perhaps it is not the wisest thing, it is ti admit to yourself your inner faults; Death is at my door, what have I to loose? I want to be awakw when we come face to face. If nothing else ut of this very ignorance I would like to grab it by the neck and demand for a bloody answer as to, why was i born in the first place. Only the heart may know. Life is suffering, upon this I will meditate: suffering is because of desire. My cardianl sin; desire! Nothing can be said that is not a desire even the very desire for me to wade through the quagmire of my desires and understand it, is a desire. To admit to yourself is not enough, to accept as you and to renounce as not anymore yours is necessary.

Some 34 years ago I was thinking along the same line as I am today about my life and practices towards self discovery. I would not have remembered this had it not been for my 34 year old journal kept while I was in Sandpoint, Alaska, loated in the Pacific Northwest in the Bering Sea; my quest did not began yesterday and this I can prove to myself.



Thursday, August 20, 2020

And the Rambling must go on....

Each moment you live and each moment you die one frame at a time, you make your movie as you mover from one episode to the next, you are the actor the mover the director on and off screen you are no different but simply moving from one frame, one episode one event one breath to another. If you have not already realized this apparent phenomena that you are manifesting for every moment in your life, then you had better know that the fact of the matter is that you are living in an illusion that you assume to be what is reality or your life, and this is who you are.  Saidina Ali (ra) is said to have said that," You assume that you are small and insignificant, whereas within you lies a universe far greater than your mind could ever imagine and you are this universe." The Power That be did not create an insignificant entity and call it His ultimate creation, Man is the sum total of all that is and all that will ever be, for he was created complete and perfect, in the image of The Lord and man was sanctified by All that is and all that will ever be for he was created as the witness to the existence of God. If you had not realized and accept this as your Primordial Ground of Being or as your Dharma Position, your platform, then you are still groping in a world of Maya or delusion and ignorance. Hence you deserve to be enslaved by the phenomenal world to live like a cattle bred for the slaughter house.

These may sound like tall words and bombastic concepts and ideas the result of being over zealous in spirituality; it is not, it is far short of what it actually is or should be. We are the Atma Brahman. To the Hindus, we are closer to God than we ever realize and this closeness is our inherent Buddha Nature, our Divine Souls, that which is even before the beginning, unborn and deathless. To recognize and become one with this Divinity within us is our goal as spiritual adherents, truth seeker or by whatever name we would call ourselves; it is the way of the superior man., (Al insan Kamil)
What is an adherent.
a person who is loyal to a leader, group, or religion : a person who adheres to or supports a system or set of principles. adherent. noun. ad·​her·​ent | \ ad-ˈhir-ənt \
Spirituality is a broad concept with room for many perspectives. In general, it includes a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves, and it typically involves a search for meaning in life. As such, it is a universal human experience—something that touches us all.
Having the knowledge that we are far greater than who we think we are simply means that we have to learn to embrace this knowledge whole heartedly and this is what 'Practice' is all about. No matter what for of practice one adopts throughout one's life, it has to be aimed at the understanding of of who we truly are beyond the concept of the word-who. This knowledge is and has always been the essence of all religious as well as spiritual practices in our humanity. Getting to fully understand our inherent nature and what we are made of or capable of is paramount in our human agenda and failing this as we are today we are in the danger of being sucked into spiritual decadence we become less than a wild beast or worse yet we become the living dead or Zombies. 
I feel like I am screaming out in the wilderness with not a soul present to let out my innermost self discoveries, self doubts, in the hope of receiving a revelation a guiding light, a simple truth as to how far or fow near am I towards beholding the truth or ending this round of death and rebirth once and for all. Words, meaningless words, thoughts and ideas comes and goes as fleeting as the clouds in an empty skies, changing in shapes and forms ever changing and in motion, ever in motion. I feel like I am drowning in a cesspool of karmic scum and clutching frantically at the strands of sanity or what little is left of it in me for my spiritual survival; I feel alone in this ordeal that I am facing. Having outlived most of my peers I realize that my time too is at hand and the question still remains in my consciousness, in my heart and in my mind, who or what am I? Will I ever come to fully realize my own Original Divine Nature or as the Buddha calls it my own Unborn Buddha Nature in this life before I physically cease to exist. 

Friday, August 14, 2020

And They said life begin at 17. Happy Birthday to Me.

 Yesterday I turned 71 and what a day it turned out to be. It started off with me not in the mood for any fuss or even think about celebrating my birthday bu decided to leave the house in the afternoon simply because it was too dull and dreary to be home alone.So I ended up at the only place that I felt was not going to cost me much and find a mind or two to communicate with. The Restaurant at the Fisherman's jetty, my regular port was my destination and there i sat with someone who I had not seen for a few years now since he moved out of the fishing community. after finding a lady and settled down. His elder brother I knew very well died about a a year ago after years of living the ife of a drug pusher and raising their youngest brother who was a handicap; theirs was never an uplifting story as the elder brother was constantly being taken off to prison and the youngest being taken care of by relatives when this happened. However I witnessed all these over the years not realizing that I was doing so and had become a apart of the scenario of their lives as they were mine. Suffering comes in many forms and some are just beyond our ability to do much about it except acceptance and so Nana and I, we talked of the old days and where and what had become of those that were.

After my cup of Nescafe I decided to visit one of the huts or 'pondok' where I usually hang out with the boys and left Nana by himself watching some Turkish drama series on TV. I found the regular guys at the hut and sat chatting with them while one of them was in the process of frying some rice noodles. I have known Rosli for over twelve years now since I started visiting the fisherman's jetty area and he had always loved to cook. He was also responsible for building the small hut we were in which is built over the water as most of the fisherman's hut are. As a matter of fact he had his hand in building most of these huts from way back when for as long s I have known him perhaps even before. Rosli, or better known as Lee Bakoi among those who knew him is well respected in the community and runs the coffee shop at the restaurant. Here is one of my long term friendship that's worth more than money can buy. Throughout my life I have a few whom I hold in high esteem especially in how they affect my life. There's David Carlson who recently suffered a stroke livng in, Ensinada, Baja California, we met and became friends in San Francisco, through whom I met and married Nancy, my late wife. There's jerry Sule from Green Bay. Wisconsin, when I met him he was 17 years old and he traveled with me on one of my trips to the South West of the US. I was squatting n his mom and dad's basement at one time while I was going to college at UWGB. Jerry is now in his early fifties and a grandfather.

I value people in my life especially those I feel who I could trust and get along with for a long period of time, These are people who can help you by becoming a mirror to yourself and this is crucial in my effort towards self discovery. Then there those that push your buttons and can make you spin like drunk by their ruthlessness in being bound and determined to bring you down and these too over time and with better understanding have become my mentors, my negative aspects of mirror images. I realize much earlier that I learn my lessons well from all the negative relationships I have had in my life. I also found that those closest to me as in siblings and relatives are the ones that I have to watch out for. A close friend once told me that  I had better watched out for my reputation in life and I failed to heed his advice closely and today in many circumstances my relationship failed on account of my neglect to discipline myself when having a relationship especially with the opposite sex. However, live and learn as they say and some had to learn the hard ways. 

How did my birthday ended? Well by the end of the day I was high as a kite and received an expensive watch as a gift right off a friend's wrist the moment i told him it was my birthday. I received a message from my estranged son the Captain who lost his job and on his way back home to the US to live with his Mom, wishing me a Happy Birthday; a pleasant surprise. The downside was that I learned that my daughter was going to quit her job as she had had enough of her boss, who happens to be my good friend. Hence so much for a day in my life looking at 71 years down the road, the things I gained and the relationships I lost and they say life begins at 70! Or was it 17?



Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Peeking into the windows of my past.

I walked up and down Page Street looking for the Zen Center at 300 Page Street, the first safe place I could find refuge for my first night in this Big City. I took my first bart ride that took me to Burkley, it was because the Korean Monk was headed that way according to the brochure I was given and it was a t Tibetan Center or Temple.; a good place to ask for help. Then I saw a sign for a Zen Center right near where I stopped, it was the SF Zen Center in Burkley. I approached them and was turned away without any second thought. I was disappointed and as I walked passed a shop window on it was a small poster with the image of Lord Ganesha on it. It said that there would a celebration in the Golden Gate Park to commemorate some Hindu Day, like Thaipusam over here in Malaysia. Perhaps the hare Krishna People would be more helpful and so I found my way to the Park by asking directions and what to ride to where I wanted to go, it was nnot hard at all, everyone I met was helpful. They looked at me perhaps feeling sorry after listening to my tale of how I had got there all the way from Green Bay, Wisconsin; I allow myself to be at the Mercy of whatever arose for there was not running back. 

Hoping it to be like the Hindu celeberations in my country, there would always be free food for the needy like me, but no such luck. Safron baggy pants abd bald headed devotees were dancing around all happy and joyful. Big tents under which huge posters of the Guru and his story, more Indian than Indian so I walked back to the road and stood at a corner wondering where Page Street could be, Before i was about to ask someone I looked up the road sign above my head and there it said Page Street! As I walked down the street after a few sores I noticed a lady dressed in a long black dress with her black curly hair spreading around her hed like a halo was looking at me. I smiled, what else is one to do and she waved me to her store. I went up to her and saw that she owned a Curio Store that all kinds of spiritual items with even a white huma skull inside when I entered at her invitation. Let me read your cards she said and I asked how it would cost me and she said 25 dollars. Wow1! Can I afford this? I asked myself and she was saying, it is worth much more than you can imagine. So I sat and she read my Tarot for me. The card I pulled out the Devil and it shocked me. She asked why I was so surprised and I told her the Devil was not exactly what I had in mind.

She went on to explain to me how on this journey I was embarking the Devil was my companion, my aid. She explained and it made sense but I was still shaken and not totally convinced. I left her twenty five dollar short and a heavy heart and headed down the street looking for 300 Page Street. I came upon what looked like a huge Georgian style Mansion and it said 300, Page Street and I walked in with great hopes. I saw a pot bellied bald headed with large and thick spectacles reading a News Paper at the reception table and I approached him timidly. He wa firm as I had expected giving me the, you got to be kidding look. Aplace for the night, which caravan did you drift into the City, Boy?! As I was talking to him I glanced at what look like the meditation hall and a huge painting of the Bodhidharma staring down at me from the distance and I thought to myself that one day I wll sit in that meditation hall and I walked out. I would like to mention here that the gentleman whoose name If I am not mistaken, came to my family farewell party when we were leaving for Sendai, Japan in 1995. 

Later during my stay at Green Gulch Zen Center we had a few seven day Seshins at the City Center and I sat in the meditation hall as I had promised myself and stared back up at the Bodhidharma painting. I even helped my Instructor who is a master japanese carpenter at the Gulch, to build a rostrum from where the Abbot delivered his first sermon upon being ordained as the Abbot of SF Zen Center.
Tenshin Zenki Reb Anderson is a Zen teacher and lineage holder in the Sōtō Zen tradition of Shunryu Suzuki. He is a Senior Dharma teacher at the San Francisco Zen Center and at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center in Marin County, California, where he lives. Wikipedia 
My encounter with reb Anderson was when he came over where I was sitting on my cushions for seven day Seshin  and whispered agressively to stop breathing so loudly or he was going to throw me out of the Zendo. From then on I practiced mindfulness breathing more diligently. In all the time I was at green Gulch Reb and I steered clear of each other but e always smiled and bowed to each other when we passed. I know that if it had not been for my Instructor and Teacher and friend Paul Discoe I would not have lasted too long at The Gulch. Paul ran the Gulch Community, he brought it back to life while I was there as the lace was still in a mourning state trying to recover from the First Abbot, Baker Roshi's scandal. I was fortunate to have been one oh his student during those recovery years and I was all out being myself fighting the demons in my mind.

Paul Discoe was in on the ground floor of Zen architecture in the United States. In the 1960s he became a student of Zen Buddhism, studying and building at the Tassajara complex in northern California. His own wood-based Zen-Buddhism architectural structures and renovations in the United States and Europe are the focus of this book. With passionate prose, Discoe identifies the elements of Buddhism that are represented in his buildings and describes the trials and triumphs of blending current building methods and codes of the United States with ancient Japanese joinery techniques. Zen-Inspired Architecture has delightful photography of his structures, and the illustrations show just how a Zen structure has its beginnings. 

I just sent a fb friendship request to my Teacher and I hope he accepts it, We used to sit around the small stove and do our meditation pracie in the form of pulling out nodules from the rice straw which later was used as the mortar for the Japanese Tea House at Green Gulch. We sat ten to fifteen of us huddled into our cloaths heads bowed and fingers busy sorting straw from nodules. Not a word uttered sometimes for two hours straight because we enjoyed it despite the cold. That was the Zen practice that i experienced and began to get deeper into as I was willingly able to accept and endure the pain the pain becomes your teacher of letting go. To let go of the past and not expecting anything of the future, to be absorbed in the moment lost in space and time, this was what I finally learne from the practice. ..I drifted way out into the vast ocean hoping that she would swallow me but she did not, she kept me alive and allowed me to swim back to shore, where the fields of suffering are still in bloom and ...and this too will pass.

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

How I ended up spending ten years of my life in San Francisco.

I have been posting more of my sketches from the past of San Francisco at the present moment where I had spent over ten years of my life ( re- Face Boook addr. Shamsul Bahari). Where I met my late wife Nancy and had two children there. These sketches are of the everyday life and situations, mostly focused on the cafes and restaurants where I ahd visited as a customer, some on a regular basis, like The Clarion on Mission and sixreenth for those wh know the City. As an artist I had a few solo exhibitions in the area and it was some of my memorable days that will be cherished in my mind as a landmark. I remember the day I stepped out of the San Francisco International Airport with my bag Pack on my back and portfolio full of prints in the other. I had just arrived on a Flight from Austin Stroebel Airport in Green Bay, Wisconsin after closing eight years of living in the Mid West State of Wisconsin. I had burned my bridges behind me, I was on the road on a one way ticket. 

My intention was to find my way to meet Dennis Kelly the eldest son of Rosella Kelly a fellow prin making club member at the Print making studio at UWGB> Rossela in her sixties back then and i was standing by the copper plate polishing table elbow to elbow, one evening and otu of the blue she said in my ear, "Sam, I think that you have to leave Green Bay and move on with your life. I was stunned but I agreed with her without hesitation. She saw me like her son needed to be nudged in the guts to wake me up; this was the lesson I cherish most in my experience with the Print Making Club, The she said, "You know you should go and join my son who has just been ordained as a Zen Piest in New York. He is about to open his own place, maybe you can help him." Yes! My heart leapt in me, a door has opened and I am going to step in, into what lies ahead, into the unknown. So I ran around trying t raise enough cash and said goodbyes to those I left behind and I was on the plane before I nkew what was happening. Only I was not heade to new York but to San Francisco instead. Dennis had changed his mind, instead of opening his Zendo in New York he had decided to move to the San Francisco Bay Area, in Marin County to be exact. 

As I stepped out of the sliding doors I felt the heat hit me and physically spun me back into the airport and as I was swung around I bumped into a bald headed all clad in white robes swinging a thick walking stick Korean  Zen Monk. We automatically bowed to each other in apology. I was given a leaflet by one of his assistants as they rushed him into a waiting Limo and they left me standing there feeling like Wow! This is not happening. This was how I felt upon my arrival into the City of San Francisco where I had since spent over ten years of my life. I loved the City with her mixed cultures and out of the ordinary people whose life was intertwined with each other in harmony. The poor and the rich alike had their own charms, From those who lives in the Sunset District to the Homeless one sees the  harmony of coexistence, of mutual respect and tolerance. This was back then when I had joined the community moving from one life style to another till I was married and had children. Mostly through my vocations i got to know the San Franciscans and their City. It was the best and the worse times of my life, and then again when was it ever not. I remember celebrating my fortieth birthday at the Fairmont Hotel in Down Town SF courtesy of my former boss,Will Harris Jr. We were the only ones there my wife and I and was taken care of with special attention. I also remember when I had to leave Green Gulch Farm after two yeas of Practice as a Zen Student, practically booted out for being accused of a 'Disruptor.' I found myself Homeless. I was out on the streets of SF with only whatever I had on my back. 

I did help Dennis to open up his Zendo at 20 Magnolia Blvd. in Corte Madeira in Marin County. Dennis had rented two classrooms of an abandoned school joined together to make one larger room for his Zendo. Through Dennis's connections, I started my first regular job working for an English man who did renovations and installations of office buildings around the SF Bay Area. He was a great man to work for, a no nonsense Englishman who got the job done no matter what was asked to be done. I landed at Green Gulch Farm/Zen Community after I fell ill and could not do heavy physical labor. Having nowhere to go or anyone to turn to I pleaded to be allowed to stay at green Gulch to nurse myself back to health. In more than one way I saw my destiny being played out as things evolved from one phase of my life to another. I was destined to fulfill my original intention of joining a Zen Monastery upon arrival in SF, however i did not realize how this was to happen.   

Monday, August 03, 2020

I am not the body, nor a I the mind.

As I breath in I know I am not the body and as I breath out I know that I am not even the mind. This is a meditation practice that has been instructed by Sadhguru Jagadish Vasudev, the founder of the worldwide Isha Foundation in India, ( For a more detailed information one may Google it. I find this meditation practice to be very effective in the process of detachment of one's original divine nature or simply one's soul from the external influences ans stimulus. My identification with my body as well as my mental formations has been the cause of just about every ailments that i suffer from in this life. It is a matter of fact that my being indentified with my physical and mental attributes have created the bondage I am in, in this life. I am not saying this from having read or heard heresay of the matter but I am saying it because in my years of walking this path of self discovery I find it to be true, however I had no way of putting it into real practice as the Sadhguru's instructions has pointed out.

 The mind is an instrument that has a never ending, continuous state of flux of thoughts and mental formations, including dreams and imaginations. Of itself the mind is a non entity, devoid of self actualization, however when being in the state of consciousness the mind becomes an instrument or a tool of expression and manifestation in relative to the external environment. It is only with the presence of an observer or a witness that the mind exist just as the computer is a non entity untill it is being program by the user. Through the history of man, the human mind has been a subject of in depth study albeit in the form of spiritual, religious, scientific or psychological. Questions were raised as to why do we think or how, does thoughts manifests our existence or are we victims or our own ignorance of our thinking mind.  In growing up, as soon as we are able to think we are confronted with the idea that we are who we think ourselves to be. As we mature and grow older we cling on to the ideas that our thoughts define who we are and that great men are great thinkers. Can consciousness exist without thoughts, or can thoughts exist without consciousness? This is a tricky question that most are not even aware of in a lifetime of existence in thoughts and consciousness. 

I got no answer to these 'out there' kind of questions so I am not going to kid myself as though I can handle the topic, perhaps i can but it would be lengthy and boring effort and there are great minds that have already dealt with this issue, like Nisargadata Maharaj for one and if you follow the topic and you will track down many others on the Internet - just Google it, hate to say it. However for those who are on the road to truly find out, it is imperative that we do the reserch into this phenomena of thoughts and consciousness and how they are related and affect to our daily existence. If and when we have understood the connections we might look at it further into the connection beteen thoughts, consciousness and what is awarenss. Yes there is another level of our psyche that most have little or no understanding of and pretty much left untouched where in trying to understand our human consciousness is concern. Awareness and what it entails to be come aware and who is aware of all that is going on, aware of consciousness and thought processes and so forth. The question arise again, can awareness exist without consciousness and the thought processes? Again this is another study and research to be done for those incline towards self discovery and understanding of who or what we truly are. Otherwise it is a waste of time to try to make sense out ofthis nonsense

I simply have to keep going at it like a bad hbit as  hav made it my persuit in life to dive as deep as I can hold my breath in order to touch the bottom of my primordial ground of being. To me it is more and more aparent that there is nothing more important worth striving for than the course i had laid for myself and that to full ycome to understand the inner workings of my body mind and spirit. I am finding it more and more of a revelation that is happenng to me about myself. I walk away from unnecessary confrontations alot better nw than I ever had and I am getting much better at becoming detach from any negative or impertinent thought that rises in my mind. I feel alot lighter in being. There is no doubt that I am still infested with old negative habits,  however I acknoledge them just as such and nothing more accepting my weaknesses and aspire to end them as I become more detached from them a step at a time. I also realize that the situation I am in my life at the moment is not conducive to taking any drastic measures towards isolating myself in a retreat where i can focus deeper into my practice at self realization, however I aim to eventually work my way towards this goal of total renunciation of this physical and materialistic external oriented form of existence. I know that at my age it is not only possible but must be arrived at if I am to seriously be able to liberate myself from the illusory form, mental formation kind of existence. 

I am not the body and nor am I the mind and this I hold to be the truth as Sadhguru Vasudev had preached and with this realization i feel I have found yet another stepping stone towards deepening my practice of meditation.   



Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Yow! Get that noise out of my head!

Lstening to Anoushka Shankar's, ( the daughter of the Sitar master Ravi Shankar), Homage to Yehudy Menuhin, ( a close friend of Ravi Shankar and used to play with him), presented in Konzerthaus, Berlin. Indian classical music especially played with the sitar is most soothing and meditative for the spirit. Anoushka Shankar has always been one of my favorite musicians who has carried the classical Indian instrument into the future of musical entertainment. The melodic sound of the Sitar can be both soothing and at the same time melancholic like the feeling of time slipping away into the past and can never be regained.  Hence the tunes were to be enjoyed to the fullest in the moment without any thought or interruptions; it is a continuous unbroken flow of sound and vibrations that stimulates your inner being with harmony.

The classical Indian music often begins is a very slow rhythm and gradually gathers momentum building up to a rapid and glorious crescendo as the Sitar accompanied by the Veenar and Tabla each complementing the other like in a long conversation. Nothing like a harmonious tune to pick up your spirits even when the energy is low and there is the need to re-energize and revitalize. Sounds in the form of vibrations is an important ingredient to meditation, to the alignment of the energy frequencies Aldous Huxley wrote, "After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressable is music." Some music are more potent and affects the frequencies of the human body that allows for a smooth flow of energy distribution throughout the entire physical, psychological as well as the spiritual system. Even the loud and funky music has the same effects relatively for the better or for the worse depending upon the individual's health and personality or what kind pf drug he was under the influence of. Scientists in the related field have made discoveries of how sound affects our human system inside out, like how every cell reacts to certain resonance while on some other cases how the neurons becomes more settled to certain tones of music.

Meditators often makes use of sound in the form of repetitious chanting or simply repeating a sound like most famously sound of Om as used by the Hindus. For those who have been doing long term of meditation throughout their lives would agree that the sound or sounds that they employ can transport their consciousness to a much higher level of  awakening or at the very least their physical sense awareness. When combined with mindfulness breathing exercises, the energy flow carried by the vibrational sound can be felt flowing up and down the spinal column while at the same time releasing all blocked points like the shoulders would drop automatically or the neck would lock into position and so forth. Bells used in most Buddhist temples to start off a sitting session in the Zendo helps to set this vibratory resonance into motion for the alignment of those sitting, it sort of gathers together all the seventy eighty odd peoples' consciousness into one focal vibratory sound, just like a starter's gun sitting off the runners.

Needless to say, one needs to avoid as much as possible any form of noise that disrupts and even damage the senses in one way or another. Factory workers and laborers handling heavy drilling tools or chainsaws for example, not only suffers their eardrums but more so in their inner organs. One of the reasons why the wearing of proper safety equipment when performing any work involving loud noises is crucial.  The detrimental effect of 'bad noise', may not be immediately notice, however over a long repetitive exposure the effect will creep up on one when age and physical decadence starts to set in. The sure way of compensating the bombardments of obnoxious loud noises from a work related environment for a laborer is to arrive home and after a good meal falls off to deep. In deep sleep much of the repair happens in deep sleep the body revives itself to some degree. Meditation is a more sure way and has a more long term effect in healing the body and the senses resulting from work related exposure. Just as any drug has a short term effect in relieving any pain or pressure, meditation has prolong healing effect and only improves with time. 

Sunday, July 26, 2020

I woke up one Day in Green Bay, Wisocnsin.

I am the one that observes and witness all that is and all that is is a manifestation of my own mental formations, my projections and my perceptions and imaginations. I am the unborn and death does not touch me except in when the time time to change happens and i move on for this physical form to another perhaps in a whole other dimension of existence, until comes a time  when I find liberation from this cycle of life death and rebirth. I am the continuing golden thread that penetrates through eternity unbroken, I am the eternal soul that the Lord had created and sent forth into this realm of causal effects, the realm trials and tribulations we call life. I am neither attached to nor detached from this existence, I am the observer, the witness of the Dharma unfolding and disappearing, rising and falling away. I am just a window through which that which is within sees what is out there; I belong to none and nothing belongs to me, I place none above me nor any below. 

This is how i see myself as I am not this body nor am I even the mind. The mind and body are my tools of expression, of manifestation of touching what is before me real or otherwise. This is what I have understood to be my goal in practicing meditation and mindfulness in my daily activities. I observe life with detached involvement not stained by what I experience one way or another, seeing all is illusion, unreal although seemed real. I avoid as much I can from clinging on to what is the impermanent and let go of what is of no relevance to my growth in spirit and soul. Life is my testing ground to live to the fullest of possibilities and yet not being sucked into its karmic pull and become an added baggage to my already full load. There is no escape to gathering 'stuff along this path we are treading as we live our daily life since the day we were conceived. Through learning, adapting and assimilating we grow into adulthood accumulating stuff adding t our mind the stimulus played out before our eyes, our senses. The whole idea of meditation is to unburden, to let go of to discard and detach from all the stimulants that we experience day in day out.

I can safely say that my second awakening happened when i saw snowflakes floating down from the dark grey empty skies of Wisconsin cold; I experienced the deepest jolt of energy that had helped me to survive the years of my life living in the United States. I was sitting on the thick carpet floor of  mother in law's house, The late Beatrie Goerst who took my family and I in our first year or so of our beginning in the US. Green Bay, Wisconsin a town, city that sits right on the edge of Lake Michigan, where the coldest and meanest winters can be experienced. My mother in law worked for the Farrs family at Farr's Grove, in Duck Creek, Brown County, Green Bay. The Farrs were my adopted family who cared for my family and my welfare in one way or another. All these acceptance happened after I had my mini Satori, I would like to call it. As I watched the snowflakes drifting like ball of cotton the size of my palm snapped my consciousness into a standstill mode where I felt like I am present in a vacuum state. The sounds from the TV of the Gilligan's Island, black and white series simply went silent, I only emptiness within and without, I snapped, I got up dressed in my sarong and T-Shirt I rushed outside past my first wife doing the dishes  in the kitchen, only catching the tail end of something she was yelling about at me and I stepped out on to the small patch of green lawn behind my mother in law's house. I stood in the center with y arms spread and my head pointed up at the sky with my mouth wide open and tongue sticking out, I tried to catch the snowflakes in my mouth. I was dancing in circles with outstretched arms until i hear a loud yell from Beatrice Goerst, who was standing with her hands on her hips; I felt at home immediately!

I do not wish to go into the details of it because I must have written this episode in my life several times already in the past post of this Blog. I just love the fact that I was on the brink of madness and insanity was made to awakened from the nightmare I was in; Green Bay became my second home henceforth, three and half years a a meat cutter in the Packing house, almost five years worth of College life as a student at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, a Security Guard Services, J and J Securities and the rest was living the life of a Bum and today I call being and artist, the Art of Living,(as an artist). In this life I direct my own movies, I am the Director of my mini series, my life in Green Bay was one of pride and passion of what Van Gogh might have felt in his life or trials and tribulations to be taken seriously as an artist and a visionary. It has taken me over seventy years to make this claims but they are claims made for me by me. I have proven to myself that i can make some sense out of all these nonsense, to at the very least know for myself who I truly am, how far or how near am I to that which I long for. On that afternoon of my first year of winter in green bay Wisconsin, I became a man who stepped out of his skin as a boy.

" I felt a gentle voice telling me, you are now in a new environment where no too many really know who you are or what you can become if and when you put your mind to it,"Tepok dada, tanya selera!" as the Malay saying goes. Beat your chest and fulfill your appetite, hold nothing back. No one knows how weak or how strong you are or what you are capable of. I was time to drop all my old youthful baggage and took a giant step in the adult father life to afour month old boy, my first born and his mother who patiently stood by all my errors and failings as I later dealt with as I stepped into Green Bay Meats and Cold Storage owned by the Frankenthal Family. I was being baptized with the blood of cattle daily sometimes for eleven hours a day. The experience of working in a meat packing plant along with rows of some eighty men and women boning beef was my lesson of both survival and decadence. I was battering my soul for the temporary of getting drunk after work with the guys and thinking it was all for the survival of my family. I was just another salary man as the Japanese would call me; in short I became worse than the cattle that i was boning, physically, mentally and worse of all spiritually. 

It was not until i was talked into joining the University as a student   and see where it would take me. By then my wife and I had decided it was best to lead our own lives separately for the benefit of all involved especially my son. I did not contest for custody as I had told my wife before we decided to divorce, that she would need him more than I will. I think I had made the right decision as my first went on to become a Flight Captain for the Emirates Air out of Dubai and my wife is doing very well. I have drifted far from what i had intended to share and well it does not really matter anymore...for now.
#greenbaywisconsin,#uwgb, farrsgrovegr.bay, 


Wednesday, July 22, 2020

In the Forest of my mind, I sit alone.

And what have we got to yap about today that would be meaningful, insightful and motivating to the rest of the world? If I know what it is beforehand i know it is not really worth writing, it is stale and the world out there has already found out, i am too late someone else has written it and done a better job. But I cannot resist my need to write like everything else in my life it is about addiction; I am addicted to putting my thoughts in writing and not that because it would me vast number of hits from readers who got nothing better to do then read a piece of waste laid out before them but because it helps me personally to watch the inner workings of my own body, mind and spirit,( perhaps i will call it my consciousness). Yeah, that's about he gist of it of why I keep rambling on even if there is no one out there reading anymore. A cliche, but I always loved it, "The heart is a Lonely Hunter," yes and how lonely it can get, one just has to put it to the test as a Sadhu, or a mendicant monk, become a hermit or a vagabond living on the street, you will experience loneliness; being alone-ness, however is a different story.

To know how to be alone and have a good time at it is an art not too many can appreciate much less accomplish. Hence the heart is a lonely hunter when in seeking for a space to be alone, undisturbed, and not bothered by others in any shape or form; like being in your final resting place, that hole in the ground. It is the ultimate in social distancing and unless one is unfortunate enough to die in a mass extinction program of one pandemic or one war of ethnic cleansing, or genocide or simply a victim of collective fumigation by choice, under normal circumstances one buried individually. However even graveyards are running out of space for this purpose and more often than not you will be buried one on top of the other without the permission of the previous tenant, so much for social distancing. Malays in Malaysia who are primarily Muslims will never cremate the dead and Chinese pride themselves in who can afford the largest plot of burial spot in the whole cemetery, cremation is an option for them. The Hindus are more into cremation as one can see in documentaries of the Ghats along the Ganges River in India. Then there are the Christians and they are either made up of Eurasians and Chinese with fancy western names. How do they dispose off their dead? 
"Interest in Self correction lies at the heart of all true learning. It characterizes a community in which individuals learn, not merely to be open to persuasion, but to consider that one's most outspoken opponent, regardless of his racial and ethnic tradition maybe the instrument of new insight leading one to rethink everything hitherto viewed to as 'normal' in one's science. The sight of someone  who see things otherwise is never an incitement to rage or to protective maneuvering, to withdrawal behind bastions of defense...
 It is the conviction of the present writer, that people deeply rooted in the teachings of the Lord Buddha will be in the vanguard in the present emergency of mankind, quietly offering the solvent for emotional and social fixations, and by precepts and example leading members of power structures, social classes, ethnic and racial traditions, status groups, ideologies and creeds, to find their sense of personal worth and affiliation in the new self corrective community that is spreading very rapidly throughout the globe..."
Nolan Pliny Jacobson,
Buddhist Elements in the coming World Civilization.
The Eastern Buddhist - vol;5 No.2 Oct.1972.  
The quotation was taken from my Sketchbook Journal dated 1985 -done in San Francisco.

From the earliest time in history of Buddhism, devotees ,monks and nuns, were aware of nature and its influence on meditation and the solitary life. After observing the ways of a Bull Elephant in the forest, the Buddha commented;

"Herein agreeth Mind with mind,
Of Sage and Elephant,
Whose task are like a plough pole.
Since both alike love forest solitude."