Robert Thurman

Here we have Robert Thurman—as posted in Tricycle magazine and shown on Facebook with today’s news feed. Thurman is pretty much a mainstay in contemporary Buddhism in the U.S. What many people don’t know however, is that Uma Thurman is his daughter. Yes, the movie star. Once knowing that, I’ve been unable to see or read anything about Uma without thinking of her dad. Pretty sneaky way of keeping Buddhism in your mind, I’d say. (By-the-way, Uma is the name of a goddess.)

“I am insisting that Buddhism be taken seriously as a knowledge system. The arrogance of Western materialist scientists, that they understand the world and know how to fix it, is ridiculous because they are destroying it, not fixing it.” —Robert A.F. Thurman

Robert Thurman in Ubud, Bali. Photo by Christopher Michel

I met Thurman in Shaker Heights before I went to Colorado, some time back. The above photo does him no justice—he is a handsome and charismatic man. I doubt seriously that he has lost all of his characteristics with time. He has an edge. A twinkle in his eye. And a deep husky voice that speaks with great enthusiasm on the topic at hand—usually Buddhism.

He was the first American to ordain as a Tibetan Buddhist monk before returning to lay life to become Columbia University’s Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Studies, the co-founder and president of the nonprofit Tibet House US, the president of the American Institute of Buddhist Studies, and a prolific author and translator. Did I also mention that he has great stamina? You can feel the energy emanating from him.

And he is quite a character. His original house (if it is still standing) is a hodgepodge of thoughts as they ran through his mind, and some that fell though the cracks. Robert’s design and build has leaked from time to time, had parts of rooms fly off in a storm, and a whole section of roof implode. It doesn’t seem to bother him much, he just carries on.

Thurman House in Woodstock, NY—Irish Times

The NY Times published an article in 2017 titled 50 Years of Marriage and Mindfulness With Nena and Robert Thurman. Nena is of course Robert’s wife. Much more can be said of the Thurmans and many articles have tried to capture it all. It will take many more.

Roshi Bernie Glassman

Zen is all of life

As quoted from an article in Lion’s Roar in remembrance of Bernie:

Roshi Bernie Glassman founded The Zen Peacemakers

As articulated by Glassman, the community was founded on three tenets for integrating spiritual practice and social action: (1) not knowing, thereby giving up fixed ideas about ourselves, other people, and the universe; (2) bearing witness to the joy and suffering of the world, and; (3) loving action for ourselves and others.

Glassman saw these three tenets as traditional Zen, phrased in a fresh, modern idiom. “In Zen training,” says Glassman, “koan study gets you to experience the state of not knowing.” Then, bearing witness is just sitting meditation, or shikantaza, and loving action is none other than compassion.

Bernie wrote a book with Jeff Bridges, The Dude and The Zen Master

The article about Bernie is well done and explores much more of Bernie’s life and accomplishments. It’s well worth a look.

http://Zen Is All of Life: Remembering Roshi Bernie Glassman

Recovery Part Deux

Saturday night was devoted to pain pills and anti inflammatories for both Tula and me. Tula could barely walk and I was just sore, from all of the places I’d bumped and scraped against as I was bobbing down the pier side. I was also wrapped in a heating pad. (They are marvelous things, by the way.) And there was a bit of anxiety traveling through the rooms where we were, considering the lost phone, credit cards, driver license, insurance IDs, etc.

And the kid kept saying there was nothing to worry about—she was sure we were going to be able to rescue all. In the morning—Sunday, she went to the hardware store to get some pole extensions and advice on how to make poles longer, attach nets, grabbers, and so on. She came home loaded with search equipment to put together and a huge roll of duct tape. And off we went to the evil-event pier. I was feeling much better—to everyone’s surprise—and was so able to assist in the search. Poles extended into the water and nets dragged along the bottom.

We did the poling for some time, and then some time more. I pulled against the lake water and poked back and forth. I did that for some more time. The kid netted several things, including a nice rod and reel. But no wallet. She netted for yet some time more. And more. Until the futility quite set in, or had set in some time previously. Even though the found rod and reel had encouraged us to continue hoping.

We then made our way to a cell phone store and purchased a new phone for me. Even if I had or would have gotten my phone back, it could not possibly work. And then we went home to talk about guns and shooting. (seriously)

The kid, as notoriously persistent as her mother, was able to get a hold of a scuba diver who would meet her Tuesday morning at the pier. On Monday we went to our respective homes and workplaces. I drove well within the speed limits along the way, not wanting to get pulled over.

Tuesday morning came and went to great success! Yes indeed, the diver eventually found the wallet but could not recover the dog leash. Regardless, we considered that a wrap. Tula will recover and I have recovered. The wallet arrived on Thursday and my kitchen smells like rotten fish—but the cards dried nicely. Oh, and I continued to walk while balancing on a rolling pier for two days.

Recovery—Part One

The trip to visit my daughter—well now. Nothing much went as planned. Some of it I guess, in the general direction. But then.

I arrived in good order albeit later than either of us planned. Nevertheless, the four of us set off for boating on the lake. (The four—2 dogs and 2 people.) And it was a beautiful, a nicely warm and sunny day, but windy. Very windy means lots of waves and rough waters. This didn’t matter much setting out and spending a lovely afternoon aboard. As we were late getting out, most of the docking places (sandy, clear) were taken but we did manage to find a place. Not as lovely as our usual, but the dogs were in delight. As soon as we pulled in, they jumped off in unison. Butts abound!

Sullivan is not as big on swimming as is Tula, who swam and swam to make up for all of the times she couldn’t. Sullivan mostly ran back and forth through the woods. Eyes as bright as the sun, it was difficult to get Tula back in the boat when it was time to go. She was willing to stay there and catch up with us later. She even dug a bed to demonstrate. At last with everyone aboard, we went back to the docks.

Remember that wind? It made it a bit difficult to tie off, but we managed, the kid being an expert at handling it all. Then she took the dogs and went off to get the truck to trailer the boat, and I waited with the boat for their return. The pier was like riding a roller coaster, so I reached out with my right hand to steady myself by holding a brace for the canopy on the boat. I used my right hand as the left side was filled with bottles, dog leash, and phone—in a wallet pack. After a few minutes of bobbing and rolling, I became concerned about my hold on the metal brace, it being not terribly sturdy. Then several things happened at once. Remember that wind? Just as I decided to let go of the brace, the boat moved quite rapidly away from the pier and me, opening up an expanse so that I could not let go. I became a flat reach between the pier with my feet and the boat in my grasp with my right hand

And the boat kept moving, swinging the stern away from it all. And then I took an unplanned dive into the lake—that water between the boat and the dock. Remember my left side and the hand holding the wallet-phone? Sure enough. For some unknown reason, in my haste to hold unto it, I let it go. And there I was, between all of the tied off boats and the pier. I made my way forward, holding onto the pier with my recently emptied left hand while doing some creative form of dog paddle with my right arm while in 20 feet of water. Everything was bobbing.

A fine young man came up and offered to pull me with our hands linked toward land. No pride left whatsoever, I agreed. It took a while, but we made it to where I could touch ground. And as I was making my last little way to the end and a place to sit, I watched my daughter and the dogs walk right past me, faced firmly ahead. Huh, didn’t even say hello.

After a while my daughter gathered enough information from bystanders to find me at the end of the pier. Her words? “I never should have left you alone!” Her volume was mixed with concern and a slightly left-over panic. After all, the boat ascue and no mother, she had a right to more than wonder what had happened to me. And she couldn’t see my little bobble head as she walked past. Credit due: who expects to find their mother in the water below the pier, when you left her quite dry next to the boat? I don’t suppose it helped that someone was telling her not to worry, “she’s okay.” “What? Okay? What do you mean, okay? What happened? Where is she?…”

The notables from that afternoon: the knot from the stern tie-off did not hold, hence the boat’s attempt at an escape from the rear. One wallet-phone and a dog leash in the lake. One dog already showing signs of too much activity in swimming. One very soaked and bedraggled woman walking slightly tilted from too much bobbing.

But wait!…there’s more. The next day the adventure continues—stay tuned. And no photos posted here. Why? The phone camera is in the lake.



Babes & Kids

I’m off this weekend to visit the kid. The plan is to go boating on Saturday, tomorrow, and then go target practicing on Sunday. Of course this will include the regulars: Sunday morning papers and coffee while sitting on the front porch, taking the dogs to the park to play and swim, and the regular chatting and meals and films. Ordinary regular stuff. Good stuff.

My only concern is leaving behind the new baby, the long haired lovely gray—possible Norweigen mountain cat. I haven’t chatted about her yet, but soon will. I swore no more cats after Squeek died, and I lasted about 9 months before the search began. A rescue cat of course. And here she is, a wee glimpse of Lizzy Fig to tide over until my return. And then the full story.

The reason for my concern is that she’s not yet been alone and she is a very timid cat. (She has yet to come out when someone else is in the apartment.) She is quite afraid of most everything when first introduced. I don’t want her to become distressed with neither the dog or I home with her. I can’t take her with me as my granddog is a pitbull who is quite adverse to cats.

And that’s the way things are, this lovely sunny day in Ohio.

Flowers & Flashes

Well I did it. I managed to get a few flowers and plants and pots. AND I was able to take photos on my Android—AND Retrieve them on my Flash drive. Holy Cannoli!

Sometimes the wonders of everyday successes strike plain folk and cause amazement into the depths of being. So now I’m worried that the world will be coming to an end anytime soon.  Huh


Patio 2019


Patio Table 2019

Of course this is not the end of it. I shall be purchasing more and doing further arranging. One trip does not a patio complete.

Spring = Flowers

Flowers and pots and dirt, Oh My! And it’s off to the plant place we go. And about time, I say. So now with the new photo flash drive I’ll be able to easily and quickly move and backup photos on my Android. At least we’ll give it a bloody go, yes?

But of course this brings memories along with it. Memories with flowers and places and people. As indeed the trail of flower roots through out the years.

From Manitou—a touch, just a plant sampling from the upper courtyard:


Manitou Courtyard

My return should bring a flowering of blooms—which shall be published, assuming the new browser and flash drive and computer all cooperate!