“When you run after your thoughts, you are like a dog chasing a stick: every time a stick is thrown, you run after it. Instead, be like a lion who, rather than chasing after the stick, turns to face the thrower. One only throws a stick at a lion once.”—Milarepa

Source: Wildmind

Hang Loose, the Bathrobe Cinches of Destiny

like peace in the Middle East
sleep seems a remote possibility

the hospitalized dim of my bedroom
has lost all interest in color
(I know the feeling) and
shows signs of developing fog

illuminated by a laptop screen
a weak glow, folding sickly shadows
into their hiding places
among the clutter: I am awake

(though not awake in the Buddhist
sense, alas, luckless pilgrim
it’s the other kind of awake
the kind that taunts your desire
to be asleep) but wait
here comes darkness, as if to mock
my wired-wide dog-barking brain

—the idling display has timed out

sucking the tween appearance of
the room right out of my eyes
and into its greedy dark
little screen, snatching away
what my reasonless eyes had
set their sights upon

my bathrobe hanging from a hook
on the wall by the closet, with its
long flannel waist-cinch dangling
from a couple of droopy side loops
like hanged men, or drape cords
(innocent, in other words)

side by side, hanging as they are
loose, no orders to follow, fretless
the robe doors open to the night, and
the destiny of a naked, sleepless
man is his alone to ponder
as they now slumber


Understanding is alright
as far as prisons go, though

not understanding is better
than misunderstanding.

One foot follows the other.
Once movement is begun

it is difficult to stop,
hence, the strange treasure,

the halting dissonance of
“I don’t know.”

Knowing things obviously is fine and necessary. The insight of the East is that attachment to knowledge as the vehicle of truth is an error. We gnaw at what we know. We can never leave well enough alone. Is truth something that would submit to such nonsense? Consensus maybe, but consensus is just an agreement to stop arguing. To stop gnawing.

Photo: my old bird-feeder, nay rat-feeder.

Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe is the Buddha

I don’t like pink
but my stapler is pink
my stapler is the Buddha

To the mind, appearance
is like that stupid screen saver
with the flying toasters

Marilyn really was the Buddha
you could tell just by
looking at her

Photo credit: I stole it off the Internet. Don’t judge me. Instead, look carefully, deliberately, at your own mind. What do you see?


hallucinating in the desert
I did not see water
in the glassine distance
but I did hear gulls
reciting the Heart Sutra
in its single syllable form
or was that laughter


I lift my glass to mental health
to mind: the source of matters

single pointed cache of wealth
when flesh and bone are tatters

I toast the peaceful, happy minds
of all you non-mad hatters

compassion’s light will loose the binds
of darkness as it scatters


“Why do we need to purify? Because our mind is full of rubbish. Have you noticed that your mind is full of all sorts of illogical thoughts, disturbing emotions, and obsessions? These afflictions are not the nature of the mind. They are like clouds covering the clear sky. They are temporary and can be removed. It is to our advantage to remove them. Why? We want to be happy and peaceful and to be free from suffering, and we want others to be so as well.”
—Ven. Thubten Chodron

Catholics and Buddhists both see the value and import of confession practice. What ever purification ritual you may adopt, consider carefully what you are doing and what you intend to accomplish.


Purification practice begins with recognizing our own past unskilled (un-virtuous) actions. We cannot confess what we have failed to recognize. Expose the faults first.


Once exposed, our faults must be owned. Don’t be casual or lazy and think going to confession once in a while will clean up your bad acts and reset the meter. Care must be taken if you think you can continue to thrash around without concern for consequences. Buddhist practice doubles down on the confessional very seriously and many times over. It is practiced daily, better yet hourly. Better make it by the minute, in fact.


A sense of regret seals the act of confession. We have not gotten away with anything.


Then we seal the seal with a commitment to avoiding non-virtuous acts in the future, and all with a sense that through the interdependent nature of all beings we do so to benefit everyone.

A Gentle But Stubborn Heresy

The Electron can hardly decide
To display an appearance or hide
The spark of synapses
Wave function collapses
The seer and seen coincide

If you wave to me I will take it as a sine

Aside from Einstein’s mind-bending notion of time as a dimension, Relativity also means that the data point D on the sine wave above is a part of the sine wave only in relation to all the other parts. Without that relationship it is a meaningless piece of data: an amplitude at a point in time. The waveform is like our breathing in and out, charting out the states between lung-full and lung-empty. But there is no point in time or thing you can isolate as a breath. It is a process, not a thing. Continue reading “A Gentle But Stubborn Heresy”