Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Stay in the game or step out -your choice.

Every morning I wake up thinking what to do to fill the day up with creative and productive activities that would benefit me from drifting into a state slothfulness and boredom which would lead to depression. One of the things i kept myself busy with is to stick to my daily routine of take care of my children's need like getting them ready for work with coffee and takeaway food as they often do not like to eat  breakfast as it is too early to eat as they decided for themselves. Then I do the laundry and whenever I feel up to it clean the house. I have been doing this for many years now ever since i lived with my daughter and now my son too has joined us. I try to figure out how or what to prepare food wise for their dinner by checking what is available to cook in the refrigerator and often worry about our financial situation ever since the COVID-19 displacement of our lives like everyone else all over the world. Life is no doubt hitting the rock bottom for most of my friends and the shift caused by the pandemic in everyone's life especially in financial situation has turned many a normal situation and relationships sour except for those who are well established already.

The well to do, the rich have many excuses not to help the poor citing giving a fishing rod instead of a fish analogy whenever they express this reasoning and it is the not so well to do that finds themselves scouring deeper into their pockets for change to help the needy. We have millionaires and billionaires in my country whose interests from their assets alone can support a whole community of poor people but chooses to further enrich themselves in the name of being successful in life. Most will tell you how they had come from very poor and humble beginnings and how they had striven to make it to what they are and thus everyone else should follow their ways. It is as though everyone has the same mindset and opportunities like them. Having made it big in life they soon forget their humble beginnings and hard work to become misers hoarding as much as they can. Gone are their humility and compassion towards the less fortunate making sure that their hard earned wealth stays and keeps growing till need becomes greed. This is the world we live in, a life of dog eat dog world. 

This is how the average dual thinking mind perceives life in a day to day state of existence, right and wrong, good and bad, black and white, rich and poor...opposites. An awakened mind strives to become free from being stuck in this rut day in day out until it seems like there is no way out and one is destined to rot in the same hole one has dug fo oneself all these years; and awakened mind would rather die than submit to such a bondage. However in many instances one is held back or trapped by circumstances that is the result of past commitments or perhaps a sense of responsibility or duty towards any given situation that stops one from total renunciation of life as it is. One simply cannot up and leave it all without ramifications for oneself and to others. Perhaps this is the sacrifice that is required for one to embark upon the road towards  the ultimate self liberation. To become free of all attachments to family and friends, to home and comfort, to security and well being, this is what the sadhus and Sunnyasi India has committed themselves to, a life of complete detachment from this physical world and existence.

When choosing to step out of the game it is no more looking back, no more regrets or reflections over what has been and all the bridges are burned behind you, this is true detachment. The human mind is not capable of undertaking such a tall order, a mind that has become comfortably numbed by soft and comfortable living we have been pillowed with. The Western mind especially will find it much harder to make such a choice and being homeless in the West is not the same as letting go of the physical to embrace the spiritual like it is practiced in the East. In the West being in the state of homelessness or destitute is not by choice but from economic downturn or in some case due to one form of addiction or another. A true renunciate is one who have lived life fully having gone through the thick and thin, trials and tribulations and walk out of the game with full intention of seeking the ultimate sate of liberation from this cycle of life, death and rebirth. 


Sunday, July 12, 2020

Out of the Body Experience - Magic Mushroom.-Part 2

The second out of body experience I had was after I was walked home to my lodging, which was my two man tent pitched within an unused horse stable. Rayo my friend from Argentina had made sure that I got home okay after having ingested a large portion of the 'King Mushroom'. I was am unforgettable event in itself that i have written earlier in this Blog. Briefly speaking my short walk home as a fiesta of people and animals, a bustling of women and children running all over the street and even a somber elderly gentleman sat erect on a white horse in full regalia of a Don wearing a huge black sombrero, he reminded me Cervantes Don Quixote. It seemed like everyone knew Rayo, 'Ola Senor!" came from young and old from the doorways and windows on both side of the cobbled stone street. It was a stark opposite of the scenery I had first experienced while on the way to their  abandoned coral lodging, where I saw no one not a dog, not a soul in sight and the whole area was somber and chilly; almost depressing it was.

Rayo left me with the owner lady who spoke English as she was once and airline stewardess and they spoke quietly to each other before he waved goodbye to me. My stomach was at its worse as I walked past the only toilet in the place and the sight of it scared me into holding back what needed to be released. I only had a piece of banana since the morning as the house ran out of food and so I was in bad shape where my tummy was concern. As I was about to reach my tent I heard someone calling me and I turned around and noticed a guy standing by the trough looked like he was doing his laundry. He looked familiar but I could not place where we had met. "We met in the small town of Sylvia in Colombia, don't you remember? I had long hair back then but decided to took it off when I arrived here." "Brian from Canada! I remember you. Come join me for a smoke, I have a bag of Colombian Gold I bought from two French girls yesterday evening, they said they needed money and me a sucker for helping others decided what the heck!"  

So we ended up in my tent and were smoking a fat joint between us. After a few tokes I felt light headed and passed the joint to Brian. I felt my body slowly falling backwards and laid down staring at the colorful tent to see red and blue serpents moving right before my eyes. I heard Brian asking if I was alright and bounced back up to my sitting position and told him not to worry. I grabbed my small towel and my cowboy hat and crawled out of the tent and stood up clutching on to a small rope that tied my tent to a post to steady myself. As soon as I was upright it hit me. I felt like I was in a vortex, the whole world seemed to spin around me accompanied by a loud sound, I was in a whirlwind. I heard Brian calling out loud at me as he poked his head out of the tent and the whole whirlwind phenomena came to an abrupt stop like a hand brake was pulled. I was myself again and I told Brian not to worry or interfere but just watch, while in my mind I was telling myself to breath. As soon as I could move I stepped out into the corn patch and started walking on the grass towards the middle of the small rows of baby corn growing.

After taking a few steps on the grass I felt myself again falling backwards in a slow motion as this was happening I found myself again about forty feet up in the air and looking down a myself. I remember telling myself, how ridiculous I looked with my cowboy hat and the white towel slung over my shoulder in my dark blue sweater and brown pants. From a distance came Brian's loud voice calling out to me if I was okay and found myself back into my body and my hand reaching back to brace myself from falling on my back. As soon as my fingers touched the grass I felt my whole body rebounded effortlessly to an upright position. I shouted back at Brian not to worry and continued walking into the corn patch and lowered my pants and squatted between two rows of baby corns and unleashed the most disgusting load of crap that I had been holding back and as I was doing this it rained on top of me out of the blue just for a few minutes. Soaking wet I felt fresh and light while my eyes were glued to the bright sun in the deep blue sky. 

I undressed to my underwear and hung my cloths to dry. Crept into my tent and laid myself to sleep while listening to bird chatting with each other almost understanding what they were about. This was followed by sounds of other creature like pigs and dogs and lastly humans. Thus ended my Mushroom experience and the feeling I had of being out of the body remained with me till today. The conclusion I came to was that I am not my body but I exist in my body like the wise men of old had been telling me. I was hallucinating no doubt but it felt more real than had I not been. My consciousness is relative to the external reactions, sounds, smells etc. and Brian's voice that had kept pulling me back into the present moment, back into my physical self. One thing I could say about the whole event was that i was not afraid at all and all the while I had kept reminding myself to breath. 
#Magicmushroom, #outofbodyexperience,# 

Thursday, July 09, 2020

Out of the Body Experiences - Part one - Magic Mushrooms.

 I had experienced being out of this body twice when I was high on a type of mushroom while I was in a little village called Esperanza high up in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador. The first episode happened just after I had eaten the upper half a piece what my friends with me had called the 'King Mushroom' , because of its size. The top part was as large as a saucer for a tea cup and thick. It looked very much like the edible mushroom I found in the corn fiedls behind my farm house in Green Bay, Wisconsin during the spring. but those had no side effects as these. I was warned by the Argentinian gentle through his Brazilian wife who spoke English not to consume the whole mushroom. I had met the wife traveling on the bus with her little girl from a Small town called Otavallo and found out later that the family were on their way to Europe to sell their leather products. The husband whose name was Rayo was a master leather craftsman who made designed bags and purses etc. out of leather.

I had found three mushroom growing together from a large cow dung hill. The largest was in between two others half its size, I had given the smaller two to the husband and wife and I ate the larger one. A soon as I had eaten the mushroom I went and sat at the edge of the floor of the broken down horse corral that the couple has chosen to stay in, while Rayo took my brown leather cowboy hat I was wearing and went to one corner of the building and sat tow work on my hat with a kind of chisel and hammer. The wife took my flute and sat at the opposite corner and started playing it. Soon there was a rhythm between the sound sound of the hammer and chisel to that of the flute and there was a music in the air; the Sound Andes. I sat with my sketchbook on my lap and stared at the blind white pages and after a while I noticed what looked like long white worms tarted crawling all over my pages. I was surprised and looked up straight at the skies above me. The Andes Mountain air was pure and clean and so the white clouds above me appeared like huge mountains of cotton against a pure blue sky.

It was at this moment that i found myself sitting high above in the air looking down at me with my sketch book on my lap and my small white towel hanging from my shoulder I had a long sleeve dark blues sweater and a dark brown corduroy and a pair of hiking boosts on. I was shocked by this occurrence and found myself back into my physical body sitting at the edge of the floor. The first thing i did was to turn my head to look at Rayo who had stopped tapping away with the hammer and chisel on to the brim of my hat and he was looking straight back at me and nodded his head with a smile and an understanding nod.  I turned to his wife and she was smiling at me and asked, "Are you Okay, Senor?"

Before i proceed to the second phase of the out of body experience I would like to explain why I am sharing this. I am fully aware that i am not the body nor am I the mind, I do not say this I heard it said or the Vedas and the rest of the Hindu scriptures said it or that the Buddha might have mentioned or Alan Watts or Krishnamurti or that I want to sound like I am in the know. No Know I am not this body or mind from experience and years of observation of how both works. I am not saying that it is an easy fact to follow on a day to day existence especially when one has to attend to myriads of interactions from without and within the body itself. However my consciousness accepts the fact, no, I am not this physical form nor am I this formless mind.  Thus one of those memorable experiences that had posed as a challenge to this acceptance was my out of this body experiences of which I an remember vividly had occurred four times in my life. I have related these experiences in the past in this Blog and so am not wasting my time repeating them. 

to be contd. 

Saturday, July 04, 2020

Gratitude - Alhamdullilah

The more you know yourself, the more clarity there is. Self-knowledge has no end – you don’t come to an achievement; you don’t come to a conclusion. It is an endless river.  Jiddu Krishnamurti 

Alhamdullilah HiRabbil-Alaminn... my gratitude to You Lord of Creation. For non Muslim s, not to freak out simply because I said Thank you to my Maker for all that He/She has given me in this life even if for most I know i do not deserve; you aught to do the same with your God or whatever that you look up to as your Source. The feeling of gratitude towards the unseen even if you deem the Universe Itself is a meritorious virtue that is healing and beneficial for the soul, unless you do not believe in the soul itself. IN most countries in the East one can see people doing this by replenishing their shrines with offerings of food and incense and the Muslims automatically do this in their early morning prayers. 

Al-Fātiḥah (Arabicالْفَاتِحَة‎, "The Opening" or "The Opener") is the first chapter (sūrah) of the Quran. Its seven verses (āyāt) are a prayer for the guidance, lordship, and mercy of God.[1] This chapter has an essential role in Islamic prayer (salāt). The primary literal meaning of the expression "al-Fātiḥah" is "The Opener," which could refer to this Surah being "the opener of the Book" (Fātiḥat al-kitāb), to its being the first Surah recited in full in every prayer cycle (rakʿah), or to the manner in which it serves as an opening for many functions in everyday Islamic life. Some Muslims interpret it as a reference to an implied ability of the Surah to open a person to faith in God.[2]

The above Surah or verse is fundamental in every prayer performed by a Muslim in his daily life or activity and most important of verses when performing the Solat five times a day. In reciting the verse one feels the an inner gratitude towards that which one holds to be the Giver of Love and Mercy, the Bountiful and the Lord of All Creation; unless one is an atheist and has lived life denying that which is worship through faith alone; the Unseen. Sometimes I say Alhamdullilah even when I am tested by ill tidings or ill fate, the suffering that I dace in the course of my daily existence if nothing else simply to remind that the good as well as the bad comes from the Giver or the Source to help me find my way out of the darkness of the moment into the light; there are times when life's trials and tribulations are simply beyond my will to handle or overcome and by turning inwards and addressing that which resides within me I often feel the strength to face all odds or at the very least by surrendering my will I feel less alone or lost.
Al Fatihah:
1) In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful.
(2) Praise be to Allah, The Lord of the universe.
(3) The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful.
(4) Master of The Day of Judgment.
(5) You alone we worship, and You alone we ask for help.
(6) Guide us {to} the straight path.
(7) The path of those on whom You have bestowed Your grace, not of those who earned {Your} wrath, nor of those who have gone astray.

The word Allah alone would freak out a non-Muslim like it is a taboo to be avoided at all cost. However the meaning of this word is simply -The God
What is the meaning of Allah?
In the English language, the word generally refers to God in Islam. The word is thought to be derived by contraction from al-ilāh, which means "the god", and is related to El and Elah, the Hebrew and Aramaic words for God. The word Allah has been used by Arabic people of different religions since pre-Islamic times. -Wikipedia.
There is no great mystery to this word except to the Muslim it carries much heavier weight as it would the word Jehovah or Elohim to the Jews and Christians or the word Brahman to the Hindu or Wakan Tanka to the Native Tribes of America.
What does Wakan Tanka mean?
In Lakota spirituality, Wakan Tanka (Standard Lakota Orthography: Wakȟáŋ Tȟáŋka) is the term for the sacred or the divine. This is usually translated as the "Great Spirit" and occasionally as "Great Mystery".
Hence, to the Taoist,The Tao is what one pay homage to in expressing our gratitude for our existence for the Tao too is often expressed as the "Great Mystery." Although one does not 'worship' the Buddha, for Buddhist the Buddha and His Teachings is revered with gratitude. 
#Allah,#Tao,#Jehovah,#Elohim,#Brahman,#Wakan Tanka,#The Great Mystery",#God,#Alhamdullilah

Thursday, July 02, 2020

Shedding some light on mind/Mind and how it works - Jung.

"Knowledge of that which is vulgarly called mind is widespread." This clearly refers to the conscious mind of everybody, in contrast to the One Mind which is unknown, i.e., unconscious. These teachings will also be sought after by ordinary individuals who, not knowing the One Mind, do not themselves." Self knowledge is here definitely identified with knowing the One Mind, which means that knowledge of the unconscious is essential for any understanding one's own psychology. The desire for such knowledge is a well established fact in the Wast as evidenced by the rise in psychology in our time and a growing interests in these matters...Even if one wishes," to know the mind as it is, one fails...because it is unconscious...The One Mind is the unconscious, since it is characterized as "eternal, unknown, not visible,not recognized...However yet ever clear, ever existing, radiant and unobscured...the more one one concentrates on one's unconscious content the more they become charged with energy; they become vitalized as if illuminated from within...The 'seeing of reality' clearly refers to Mind as the supreme reality...The 'seeing of the Mind' implies self liberation...the more weight were attach to unconscious processes the more we detach ourselves from the world of desires and of separated opposites, and the nearer we draw to the state of unconsciousness which is the quality of oneness, indefiniteness and timelessness. This is truly a liberation of the self from its bondage to strife and suffering."By this method one's mind is understood."

I came upon the above long quote by C.G.Jung from reading his text on  a commentary he wrote for the, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation. I read this early this morning and I felt like the 'Poet of the Mind', himself came to my aid in trying to figure out how to further explain what the Mind/mind is in order to continue my posting from the previous night. Yes, of late i find that the knowledge i seek for comes to me ever so readily and I try not to get too excited about the coincidences or small miracles as I would call them. I am no researcher and so i do not go around looking for information before i write, I allow for them to come, or not. However i would highly recommend for those who are interested in knowing more to read Jung's work, Psychology and the East. It would of great benefit for Westerners, those who have the desire to further understand the difference between East and Western thoughts on spirituality and perhaps be able to bridge the two for one's own benefit of Right Understanding.

I will not venture to go beyond what I have already extracted from Jung's work for now but will do so at a later date if and when needed. I have yet to fully grasp at the true meaning of his works and so will not venture any further except with careful steps lest i am led to confusion and misinterpretation. Thus far i know i have been gifted towards a little realization as to what I am aiming at in understanding the workings of my own mind, a mind that has embraced the life style of both East and West over the years. I do not consider myself and eastern or western thinker but I hold a greater understanding of both through my life experiences having lived in the East and the West and making my studies through both sources of east and western thoughts and ideas of great minds of both sides of the coin. East and West are no more a dichotomy to my mental, and spiritual perception having lived both in the east and west for a good many years of my life. An added dimension to this was the fact that I had lived for three years in Japan where I consider it to be the transition point on my life before i returned to the east after having spent twenty one years in the United States.

I have always accepted that my mind is not your average mind of an average person who is born and raised under normal circumstances like parents of the same racial group, raised in an environment of close family ties and religious faith, same village same type of people. I was born as a twin and given away for adoption at birth while my twin brother was raised by my parents. I was raised as a Buddhist by my uncle who adopted me and for twelve years of my life remained so. In a house full of Muslim relatives my uncle and I were the only Buddhist, however in order to fit in I also practiced Islam unknown to my uncle. In short my childhood life was a mess as far as faith and religion was concern, I was playing hide and seek with everyone around me including those in school as I grew up. At the risk of repetition I will say no more on the matter but suffice to say I am the way I am simply because I has been exposed to the subject of religion, faith and spirituality at a very young age.

Buddhism for beginner- as I understand it.

A man has got to do what a man has got to do, may seem like a Forest Gump simplistic sort of response to the complexity of human life; it was also the Buddha's approach some two thousand six hundred years ago. The essence of the Historical Buddha's message was to not complicate life more than it already is and to as much as possible take a balanced approach or what He called the Middle Way, neither too strict nor too loose. Suffering lies in being extreme in our approach to our daily choices in life; Greed, Hate and Ignorance is the result of our extremism. Man, said the Buddha is inflicted by these three illnesses since the beginning and for as long as he is identified with a sense of I, me or mine, or his ego he will be bounded by these  illnesses; this is the cause of suffering according to the teachings of Buddhism.

Desire is primarily the cause of suffering so much so that the desire to end desire itself is also the cause of suffering. The desire for more than what is needed to sustain one's life, the desire to accumulate and hoard, to cling on to and covet what one has already attain, the inability to let go of to be able to say enough is enough, has led man to cause more suffering in this life than any other motive in life. This happens when man fails to acknowledge the impermanence of life, that at the end of life one leaves behind all that he has struggled to own and depart empty handed just as when he had arrived at birth. In so doing he failed to  realize what is the permanent and eternal, that which is his Buddha Nature. Every living soul is a potential Buddha in the making and as we evolve through this existence we either climb to higher state or descend to a lower through our realization of this karmic law of existence. Hence Ignorance is also the cause of suffering. Ignorance is not only the lack knowledge or wisdom but also the refusal to learn and understand one's predicament in this life due to being unable to differentiate between what is permanent and what is temporal,(relating to worldly as opposed to spiritual affairs; secular
The practice of Dhyana or meditation is one of the simplest form of remedy for man to overcome his craving for more, the need to indulge in excessive and often redundant quest in his life. In the practice of Dhyana ((in Hindu and Buddhist practice) profound meditation which is the penultimate stage of yoga) the mind or mental faculty is being carefully observed of its tendencies and transcended where ignorance, hate an greed is found to be the driving force in any given situation. The human mind is the most potent tool that governs our human traits and habits and when left to its own devices will lead us on to the causes of suffering in this life. The human mind is like fire, a good servant but a destructive master. Right and wrong said the Buddha is a sickness of the mind. Hence Right Understanding is the first of the Eighthfold Path of the healing process that the Buddha has expounded in order to overcome ignorance. Right understanding of the workings of the human mind is paramount to the Buddha's teaching as the human mind is the primary tool that man is endowed with in this life to live and to survive as a specie, that which differentiate us from other life forms.

Our thoughts, impulses, consciousness etc. is governed by a dual thinking mind. a mind of right and wrong, good and bad, black and white, a mind of opposites. To transcend the opposite one has to transcend the mind or bring it to a halt, silence the mind and this is achieved through the practice of Dhyana or meditation. It is in the silencing of the mind that one is able to perceive reality as it is, neither right nor wrong, neither this or that but is is just as it is...a simple tool of expression.
#Buddhism,# Buddha,# Dhyana,#Buddha Nature,#Mind,Dual thinking mind.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

A Bottle of Whiskey to drown my sorrows.

"Amused itself to Death," (cover) on You Tube, a song by Roger Waters, one of my all time favorite performers. I was first exposed to Pink Floyd sometime in 1978 when the album "Wish You Were Here." was going rampant on campus at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay. I remember having returned from a two and hafl month trip to the South West States of New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado driving a Chevy Impala 1964  model sold to me for 2Us Dollars by my girlfriend M.Counard a car that had belonged to her grandmother. Which should I relate?The M.C relationship saga or the trip to the South West, as both were equally eventful as tales to look back upon goes  I will choose the trip or rather the end of the trip upon my return to the campus battered and beaten both the car and the driver. 

The car was smashed in a hit and run incident that happened on Highway 666, between Gallup and Durango on the border of New Mexico and Colorado. The passenger side was flatten from the front to the back after being hit by what looked like a pickup truck at one am. in the morning, it was sheer miracle that I survived the ordeal while driving through the Navajo Reservation and that was another tale yet worth telling and have been told many times in this Blog in the past. When I arrived back to Green Bay after my long trip I was exhausted and spent, physically, emotionally and spiritually. My first stop in Green Bay was at my good fried Francis Wilson's home where I found him leaving his house and giving me the keys telling me that he and his wife were getting divorced ; bummer! Then learned from my mother in law that my three year old son had left for Germany with his mother and God knows if and when I would see him again. I made it to the campus and decided to hang out with my Thai students buddies apartment where they upon feeling sorry for my state of affairs then decided to spare me a bottle of Whiskey to drown my sorrows. 

I remember sitting and leaning against the wall of their living room and experiencing an out of body experience where I felt like I was no more in any pain but watching my painful emotional, physical and mental state happening a few feet away from me and I was blasted out of my mind listening to Pink Floyd, "Wish You Were Here," full blast on ear phones from a high performance sound system only the Rich Thai Kids could afford. I woke up with the earphones still stuck to my head and the music still playing as the album kept repeating God knows how many times. The Kids from Thailand had left for their classes and had left me some food on the table knowing that I would need it when I woke up, I was lucky to have made their friendship. They were cousins and one was the son of the Chairman of Thai Airways. The tires to the Chevy Impala were sports radials which came off one of their fancy cars and when I eventually had to sell the car to the junkyard I got some money just for the tires. 
#Green Bay,Wisc.#Chevy Impala, #Pink Floyd, # New Mexico, Arizona, #Colorado, #Hwy.666, #Navajo Reservation.


Monday, June 29, 2020

The Alan Watts creation group on fb.

 The late Alan Watts is no doubt one of the most influential contemporary spiritual/ philosopher that has today garnered a good following in his thoughts. He is indeed one of those who has been able to bridge what the East and West has to offer in terms of spirituality and religion in the practicality of our daily life. I have read most of his works and am now following a group on the Face Book link entitled "Alan Watts creation." I joined this group out of curiosity to see if i could fit in with my limited understanding of the man himself. I was however able to visit his House Boat docked permanently at the Sausality Boat slip. The S.S. Vallejo si today upgrade to a tourist attraction status if it has not be turned into a restaurant already. I visited the boat sometime in 1983-4 when i was living in the area.

A few years later while I was living at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center as a Practicing student a couple of friends and I made a trip up the hill to visit Alan's memorial site which lay close by to the memorial site of the son of the Author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, the sixteen years old was killed in an alley on Polk Street in downtown San Francisco or so I was told. My Zen brothers and I would normally have with us a bottle of 'Sake', or Japanese wine and a few joints of the best to set our mood in the right direction towards the dear departed Zen master's presence or we just needed a place to hang out reading poems and and reciting Haikus like we were real Zen Bums. And I later met his son who came to stay at the Green Gulch for a short time and i called him mark like everyone else. He was definitely not his as he was mostly quiet and reserved, kept to himself mostly, perhaps why he was at Green Gulch. So I never got to tell him how his old man's thoughts and ideas changed my life when I first read his book, The Way of Zen and the rest was history.

Here are a few questions raised by the group;
a) Can consciousness create consciousness?
b) Where does wisdom come from?
c) Has Alan Watts helped you in your day to day life and if so why and how.
and there is a host of other questions that is simply thrown in there to help stir the mind to think like Alan Watts would have wanted one to, or perhaps would have discouraged one to. But each to his own perception and understanding and in the spirit of being inclusive and sharing i decided  to entertain myself by answering one or two questions and off course i came up against the die hard, I am ..that...I am individuals who quote God Himself in putting up a defense against a nonexistent offense. I most probably will withdraw my participation with this group as it is cluttering up my fb page with too many postings of irrelevant issues.

Yes I have set myself up to be sucked into the digital media world of  communication like it is another addiction which occupies hours of my time every day. My intention in seeing that this has become a way of life now for me is to use the media as much as possible and tell my story, share my artworks and give my two cents worth of advice where it is needed and worth giving. At 71 I am entitled to be able to come to one or two conclusions about life and it it would seem a waste not to let it be known to the younger generations of my time. Against better judgement sometimes I will let my  thoughts and feelings, talent and intuitions go if it makes sense and hope that they help to heal or cheer up someone far away unknown to me. As I have maintained in the past, my thoughts and actions are done out of the need to heal myself much more than others and they are also my own personal state of consciousness. What is right is always God's and what is in error is mine, for those who read my postings the choice is yours.
#Alan Watts,#Haiku,#Zen Bums,#The Way of Zen,#The S.S.Vallejo,#Green Gulch Farm, #Sausalito, #and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Happy International Jazz Day!

You can wake up early in the morning with a bad head ache and lower back pain thinking of what next, to make breakfast and take away food for the kids going to work, do the laundry, feed the cat and the birds outside or simply just lay back down and continue to vegetate. Nah laying back down is not an option and doing a little meditation with a good breathing exercise would help to start off the day like it has always done. Ate some Quaker oats with resins and a banana mixed into it and topped up with full cream milk. Breakfast of champions? Hardly, just something to fill up an empty tummy, to avoid getting gastric attacks from an empty stomach. No matter how hard you try to maintain that you are the master of the Body, Speech and Mind, your physical body will continue towards its breakdown as you age in one way or another, The decadence of the mind follows sooth as you become less and less mindful and more and more resentful of the outcome of your life thus far, wishing and feeling that there is always more to it. 

I am fortunate that I am always woken up at precisely fine am by Furby my cat by scratching the mattress until i responded and in my state of aches and pains I would have to walk to the kitchen and fill up her bowls. Often my body refuses to bend down to pick up the bowl from the floor for fear of throwing out my lower back with muscle twist, happened many times in the past. By the time I got the dishes done and started to cook I notice often enough that all my aches and pains simply disappear. After all that is needed to be done has been done, I then turn on the computer to see what the world is up to out there, what good or bad news lay in store this morning and discovered that today is Jazz Day and a video hosted by the Master Jazz Artist, Herbie Hancock, was on the the Face Book post. It is a beautifully done Video honoring Jazz artists all over the world. I was introduced to Jazz music at the age of twelve onward by my eldest Brother who had a collection of Jazz Albums in his home.  I got to know Cannon Ball, Ramsey Lewis, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Satchmore Amstrong, Ray Charles and many others at an early age and I still fancy Jazz as the most influential music in my life.

Then I turned on You Tube to see what gives and found The Maharaj Sri Nisargadatta talks on, 'Prior to Consciousness,' could not let that slip by and so listened to part of it telling me again and again that I am the Para Brahman, the ultimate, primordial state of Pure awareness. I realized the truth of the matter that the Guru has been telling me while listening to his talks time and again over the past years, but to embrace such a revelation in totality is a bigger challenge, it is like dropping off the ego if not the self itself, the Buddha's final leap of faith, in letting go. Complete detachment from, the body, mind and finally the spirit itself or that which I would consider to me my true nature; that which existed prior to the 'I' consciousness. Scary! It is definitely not for the weak at heart or weak in spirituality to grasp fully, however the Maharaj talks has moved me to a whole higher level of my understanding of who 'I AM' or what am I.  I do not claim to fully understand what the Guru has explained, however from as much as I could comprehend, I must say not teaching thus far has brought me to the edge; Sri Nirgasardatta is of the contemporary Buddha of our time or should I say a fully enlightened Being of our age.

And now half the day has passed, i feel like its nap time. My salute to all the Jazz masters who have taken music to a whole different realm of creative evolution.


Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Living the life with my son in Dubai.

When times are  rough it is good to remind yourself when it was sunshine in Dubai. the sea was busy you walked the Souk accompanied by two lovely young ladies.

Precious smiles that money can't buy, it was good to feel young again every now and then, even if it was a momentary grand illusion.

You feel like you are on top of the world, you own it all this is your projection this is Your manifestation! Yeah right! I created this scenarion! The ego at times has to be entertained too so you know how to maintain your posture in life.

Nothing wrong with that if it is all bought and paid for, I have earned the right of passage to be in this moment enjoying the gift of life. I don't ask where it came from and how i got there, I was just there. merging into the background.

Moments like this comes but once in a lifetime where two cousins meet in Dubai, the meeting of 'Great Minds'  

My nephew who I used to carry on my shoulder when he was a toddler. 

My son's passion, Ice Hockey and he is the Goal keeper. He has been playing this game since he was at San Jose State University. 

Remember the good times you've had -cherish them.

The most delicious lamb shank I ever had at an Iranian Restaurant. The meat just melts in your mouth with the spicy taste that sends your senses on the Silk Road.

A  Boat will ferry you to this Thai Restaurant for it is surrounded by a moat.. The food is out of this world served with best of Thai hospitality. 

I was driven into the desert and got a taste of what being in an ocean of sand is like. As an artist who like monochromatic drawings, the desert, like the snow in winter, attracts my senses.  

Walking 'The 'Souk' or Market place was like being back in time  during the times of Harun ul Rashid, or Omar Khayam. The antiques and the jewelries on display makes your head spin with a sense of a time traveler. I like to imagine to myself wherever I go..

Having a good relaxed  evening among friends.

Having dinner at one of the most
 well known and fancy Iranian Restaurant in Dubai with Eleanor and Tarik. 

Capturing the moment on paper as I always try to do wherever i go.

Today this is all but memories that remains and the good memories are worth keeping for they can heal or ease your mind when it is needed, you enjoy life while it last knowing that each moment will pass.

Perhaps our path will never cross again, I will always remember your kind and gentleness;thank you. You made my visit to my son and Dubai most comfortable, I felt at home, knowing inside me that this too will pass...#Dubai, #Ice Hockey,#

Working on a Mural in Dubai - 2011?

I am a Story Teller when it comes to about who I am.

And I ask myself what else have i got to  look at in my day to day life for the past few days, nothing eventful to talk of, no dramatic life changing episode, nothing out of the ordinary, life as usual. Do the dishes and wash the laundry, think of what to cook and perhaps sweep the house, not forgetting to feed the cat and the birds outside. Water the plants and before all that do some yogic stretching after having sat in meditation on the bed for half an hour or so. All these started at just before five in the morning. Then there's the drive to the store to pick up this and that and dropping by the fisherman's hut by the sea to chat with a few friends about this and that, including how I take the self pursuit of who I am as my prime motive in living; Know thyself, I tired to explain what it means. I shared about my life experiences and what i practice throughout my life and I wonder how much they had understood. I raised a few questions that I know had made them stop to think, I tried to share myself being the eldest in the group and one who had earned the rights of passage to speak spiritually. 

I had joined the Alan Watts Group on Face Book and am enjoying seeing how the works of Western Zen Master is being studied and understood by an international group of people involved in making a study of the Zen Philosopher. Alan Watts as I have written many times in my past postings was on of the first few contemporary philosopher who had influenced my life. I first read his book "The Way of Zen" and knew that I was destined to study Zen Buddhism as past of my spiritual experience; i joined the Zen Buddhist Monastery a few years latter in California. I spent two years as a Practice Student at the Green Dragon Temple aka Green Gulch Farm Zen Center. The monastery is located in the Sausalito area of Marin County, in a valley that stretches from the top the Tamalpaias hillside and stretches all the way to the Pacific Ocean at Muir Beach. It was one of the most beautiful yet painful life altering experience of my life, I came to understand the teachings of the Buddha for what it is, simple yet a tremendous challenge to act upon.

This was basically I was trying to share with my fellow Malay Muslim friends who were relaxing there having  trying to make sense at what I was talking about. I find that as i began to relate about myself through the years, the stories began to unravel one connected to another albeit into the past or the future. This was what I had done or been through for every stages of my life from childhood to being an adult and now an old timer...Malays call us Otais out of respect. I realize as I shared my experiences I could go on and on forever as each story , an episode, a minor or major event, changes has interrelated stories connected to them; I am a story teller and I have stories to tell. This is my story, this lengthy Blog, Ramblings of the Cheeseburger Buddha posted since very regularly since 2005. This Blog which started off just as a journal of my travels and experiences I have had in 1978 was as a sketchbook journal of my travels in England as a student. This too has an interesting story that is connected to it, what, why and how come this happened, like how come you ended becoming a student at the University in Wisconsin at Green Bay?(UWGB), and so I start talking about how i worked in the meat packing plant for three years in Green Bay, Wisconsin before I was talked into becoming a student at the University...and that story is as interesting as the one that I was trying to share to begin with.

But the show must go on...I have sang my song and played my music and I have told my story, now it is time perhaps to manifest them in my daily life, here we are all telling our own stories some we are proud of and some not so. What have we to share except for our own stories in the hope that it would be entertaining as well as beneficial towards those who listen. 

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Gold, - The trap.

Woke up this morning catching the tail end a dream that was saying something like, " ...because man worship gold he will always have difficulty in making changes in his ways. Hmm, what does it mean? So here I sit and am trying to unravel this revelation an the first thing that came my mind is that, gold is immutable, incorruptible, hence the answer to this message in from my dream?
Gold is Money.. Gold has been money for thousands of years. And one of the easons gold is money is because it's immutable. That's just a fancy way of saying it can't be changed or destroyed...
But humanity in more than one way needs to change, man needs to change his ways or he will not survive as a species into the future. How can man change, how can I change if that which i hold most dearest is an immutable element, gold (wealth)? With gold, life can happen in a much more expansive and productive ways, for gold is a symbol of wealth and wealth leads leads to good health or so it seems. But as gold is corruptible through a chemical process as my father who was a Goldsmith by trade had proven to me, wealth often turns to greed. Gold can be made into an alloy by melting it down and mixed with copper. Muslims it is said should not wear any form of pure gold for it is believe that it saps your energy and so the gold items were 'watered down by mixing with other metals., wealth too if acquired without obsessiveness is commendable. So what does all these got to do with the dream I had?

I do not know if i had interpreted my dream as accurately, but it was the first thought that came to mind as I was waking up from the dream, that it had to do with the fate of man being possessed by greed instead of wealth. We cling on to and desire for more than is needed, never enough. This is one of the cause for our inability to
transcend and change our lot for the better; we as a species are stuck with acquiring the impermanence rather than seeking for the more permanent in life.


Monday, June 15, 2020

Letting go of those I had loved and respected in the past.

My eldest son, was laid off from his job along with some 600 others by Emirates Airlines in Dubai, he was a Flight Captain. We have had a parting of ways for a few years now ever since he got married to a British lady and till today i have no idea what the beef is about.  I was told that one day he and I were going to sit and hash it out man to man and so I am not holding my breath about it as loosing a son is not that big a deal anymore to me than loosing my cat. When someone holds such low opinion of you and take you for granted, it is not worth the salt to try and save the relationship just as I have accepted the same to be true in my relationship to my two remaining elder brothers. The eldest one is disappointed in how my life has turned out to be whole my twin brother is scared of me for some odd reason that is yet to be revealed. Just like my eldest son my twin does not think it worthwhile to explain what my faults are and now it is too late cause it has ceased to matter anymore.

At my age i could exit this life at any moment given that I might be suffering from kind of ailment or another that involves pains in my chest, but till the Fat Lady sings the Blues, I will live the rest of my life with less concern and lighter state of being. I used to carry these individuals in my mind like albatrosses hanging around my neck and rotting with vengeance. I was dumb enough to have thought that being converted to Islam I am to preserve the blood relationship or 'SiratulRohim' among us siblings, relatives and friends, but I feel like I have been a sucker all these years and yes a part of me often still does, but today, this morning I will say to them, "F..k you guys if you cannot take a joke." You can judge me all you want it will soon be over when either one of us is thrown into the ground and as for who was right or wrong, keep it to yourselves, it is too late to matter what they anymore. As far as I am concern all of you have given up the right to point your fingers at me anymore. I have never did nor will I envy you in this life and let this be the testimony this morning. 

I am grateful and thankful for all that you have given me in any form as we have grown over the years and I will forever indebted to you but I too have done my part in giving to all three of you, it may not be much but I give what i could afford. I hold no grudge nor blame against anyone and nor do I deny the fact that i was never a nice man r claim to be so. So perhaps we will never ever again be able to sit and iron out our grievances in this lifetime, but know this much that as for me I am absolutely free of my attachment or identification with all three of you, my eldest brother, my twin brother and my eldest son. All three of you who have axes to grind against me throughout my life and who i had loved and respected the most, ironically, I now cut off my psycho-emotional and spiritual ties with you as my final letting go of the crap that I had accumulated being a man in this life. I am and was never a devoted Muslim, but if I am to be punished for having severed this relationship between us, God willing I accept it willingly.

It is now out in the open, the stench of festering wound has been let out from my aching system and I hope to heal my soul from this deep rooted, ancient and twisted karma once and for all. I am letting three skeletons out of my closet, three ghosts from my consciousness and may they stay out for good. I do not say this out of hate or anger anymore but out of love and respect for my own well being if not my sanity. I will not try to justify even if a gun is held to my head, but suffice to say it took me a very long time in coming to this conclusion and closing the chapter between us.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Time to rake the sand in my garden..

I strongly feel that unless we have done our footwork or homework, our 'inner engineering' or our research into our self thoroughly and fully comprehend our inherent nature, the Unborn Buddha Nature as the Buddha called it, we will never touch the immensity of our true Being-ness. I feel one has to have not a single doubt in the mind and fully become merged with the'observer' before we can the universality of our human consciousness or as some people would have it as saying 'we are the Universe,, observing ourselves through this Being-ness. We have tor remove the veils of ignorance layer by layer until there is no veil between our sense of perception and that which we perceive.. We are not this physical form nor are we this mind and mental formations, what are we? This is what we are looking for, the answer to this insignificant question or so it seems and in order to find the truth to the answer we have work to do.

Talking about work, I find that working doing something albeit for our survival or simply for the joy of working is one of the best form of healing, Working on ourselves, mentally, physically and spiritually is a whole different kind of work, it is self imposed, it is simply called self discipline. Working on yourself takes a whole lot of discipline because there is no one making us do it, it has to happen through our own initiative. We make it happen, We do not get paid nor are we appreciated for doing it, however do it we must if we are to become awakened from this slumber we call life with all its dreams and nightmares. Carrying out work of any form, whether mental spiritual or physical, keeps the mind occupied at least more focused than scattered as it always is. A scattered mind can never find its way to the true nature of itself much less of who we truly are. We are all capable of collecting and accumulating knowledge, but few can assimilate and become the knowledge itself or by letting go of all that we think we know is one way to better know the unknown,(death and afterwards).

If everything you do on a daily basis, cooking, cleaning, driving, planting, fishing,,, whatever, is done in a focused if not meditative mode, you are freeing your mind from what is called a 'scatter brain,' or in Buddhist term 'the monkey mind.' You have four horses pulling a chariot and each horse has its own mind to go in its own direction, how can you get anywhere?  Hence you have the whip and the reins to keep them in line all headed in one direction that your desired destination. This is accomplished through work and discipline and most of us today do not have the time nor the inclination to take on this work or practice. The Japanese people in my experience of having lived in the country for three years, have mastered this art of living closely with nature, most inherently practice either Shintoism or Zen Buddhism, both of which emphasizes the importance of being rooted in the present moment while performing any activity. The need to watch the mind drops once the mind is set focused on an activity that it has become one with through tedious repetition; like raking the sand in the garden.
#Unborn Buddha Nature,#Shintoism,#Zen Buddhism.


Friday, June 12, 2020

Stop looking to what was and be in the here and now.

The habitual looking to our past has one of the most negative impact upon our consciousness and the human mind is very much attached to this especially the intense, more dramatic or traumatic events of our past life experiences. Events and episodes that has left indelible impressions upon our psyche, events that has triggered guilt in us having caused misery towards others, events that we witnessed or participate in that we can never reconcile, or justify with, these are among the most corrosive of our past experiences and our mind is attached to them throughout our lives resurfacing every now and then to remind us of our shortcomings and weaknesses in the past. Some of which has become so ingrained in our consciousness that we identify with them as who by nature we think we are.

One of the most common and has a very high impact on our memories of past experiences are those that involves relationships especially with the opposite sex. Our sexual encounters albeit good or bad stays with us for a very long time or perhaps even for the rest of our lives. Most of us blame ourselves for our shortcomings and why we failed and we carry this blame like a sore that will never be healed. Sometimes no matter how we try to dismiss or forget an episode the drama will pop up at any time when it is triggered by any similar situation in our present moment and often cripple our mind with negative thoughts that equates with the circumstance we are experiencing. Negative past experiences enforces in us the sense of low self esteem with guilt feelings. We need to find ways and means to drop these old negative baggage and move on with new re-enforced positive ones. Determined not to repeat past faults we have to learn to accept, forgive and forget; letting go is never easy but not impossible.

In Zen Buddhist practice, meditation practice is the essence of the teaching and one of the practice of sitting meditation or Zazen in the meditation hall or Zendo is how one enters the meditation hall. As one takes off one's zoris or sandals and lay down one's back pack or whatever, one also lay aside one's mind. The student walks into the Zendo with an empty mind all thoughts and phenomena is set aside like the physical baggage and they can be collected on the way out if they are important enough. Hence when is meditation one's mind is devoid of any interference by irrelevant thoughts especially those of the past experiences. There is popular Zen story of two monks on the way back to the temple where along the way they came upon a river that was rising. There they noticed a young lady sitting in distress and when asked what the problem was she told them that when she crossed the river earlier it was down and she had no problem crossing it. However now she cannot return for the water has risen and so one of the monks without hesitation carried her on his back across the river. When they crossed the river and left the young lady, the other monk was perturbed at what had happened and accosted his companion over the incident saying that as monks they were not supposed to come into contact with the opposite sex much less carry one. The monk who carried the young lady replied, I Have left the young lady behind quite some time ago, why are you still carrying her in your mind?"
#Zen Practice,#Zen Buddhism,#Zendo

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Practice ,Bare Attention - to keep the mind less cluttered.

Attachment to phenomena is one of the mental habits that I feel is often left unchecked by those who seek to understand the workings of the human mind. This includes, images, thoughts and ideas, past experiences etc. The mind to me is like a sponge that attach itself and absorb all that it comes into contact with every second of the the day whether we are aware of it or not. The mind is like an invisible wide angle lens panoramic camera, equipped with extra sensory audio attachment that is ever left on to snap at every sense of experience, sight and smell, thoughts and ideas; it is the eternal recorder of life. There is a simple practice in a school of Buddhism, the Hinayana school that teaches us to deal with this mental weakness that we have and it is simply called, 'Bare Attention'. It is a form of meditation that helps us to not get  drawn into or attached to any external or inner given stimuli, imagery, episodes or experiences that occurs in our daily existence. It is a sort of a strainer or blinders to ward off unwanted or irrelevant objects or phenomena etc. This is what is known also as in the words of Trungpa Rinpoche, 'Meditation in Action', whereby you become almost impervious to the external stimuli around you except for what is really needed to be dealt with in the moment.

When you see a lady walking by you, it is just a lady passing by do not see a nice piece of ass or a nice pair of tits,  sexy or ugly short or tall, to put it blatantly, you simply sense a lady passing by or a car driving by and not an Audi or a BMW, white or black, driven by so and so and why you cannot own one and so forth. Bare attention is the act of bringing it all into the bare minimum perspective and when there is no added interest to what you sense or experience, the phenomena simply drops off having no hold on your consciousness. Watching the Videos of what is happening around the world with CIVID-19 you learn to simply watch and understand without adding on to what you see with your thoughts and opinion, judgment and like or dislike. Same as, as you watch what is happening in the US on videos, you simply watch, feelings may arise but you do not need to add on more than what you see, you simply watch just to be more aware of what is happening for better or worse even, you are simply an observer, a witness being a part of the whole it is in your nature to know. Witnessing with bare attention keeps you from being attached to the events and become involved much more than you need to be and thus more thinking added to clutter your mind.

Bare attention does not imply that you become blind to what is going on around you, it simply means you are less attached to what you see, feel or  even taste; the details This practice helps toward keeping the mind less distracted and easier to bring to a complete silence when performing a sitting meditation. Even while sitting and trying to bring the mind into silence, bare attention towards what arises in the mind and the ability let go becomes much easier. Often times we keep an ongoing thought when the thought is pleasant or productive even and tries our best to shove aside a negative thought; practicing bare attention allows for am ambivalent attitude towards all thoughts that arises while meditating. In essence we try not to walk around attracting to ourselves thoughts and images, events and episodes that have no positive values for us. It is like trimming all the unnecessary branches, so the tree can grow more lighter and taller.

"An entire sea of water can't sink a ship unless it gets in the ship.
Similarly the negativity of the world can't put you down unless you allow it to get inside you." - Thich Naht Hahn.
#Thich Nhat Hahn,#Bare Attention,# Trungpa Rinpoche,# Meditation in Action.