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Archive for December, 2011

In front of me is the ocean  – only the sounds of the wind, the waves (Oh! my happy place).  Behind me are the buildings, the cities, and people.

Pueblo Bonito – the Pacifica Resort

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its an honor

Tomorrow is big sister’s big day – her wedding reception.  It has been a long road for them… and finally, she is now married, to her man/best friend.  My oldest sis, the first to wed. I am truly happy for her.  Now as a maid of honor, I have to make a little speech.  Wow, time runs short on me.   It is an honor in deed.  At the same time it’s a big responsibility – representing the bride’s family.   I am behind, and now running on my neck.  Something to be remembered for her wedding day and will be addressed to both the bride and groom but has to be pleasant to the elders’ ears.  Let put these all together in writing.  The worst scenario is just being spontaneous.

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Rippling effects…

A lot of us come across this image at many places, but how  many   have really put some thoughts or got the full meaning behind it. I like symbolic meanings.

There is a quote (Buddha’s quote, I think) saying, “Even drops of water can make an ocean; dust particles a mountain”.  This refers to the Law of Cause and Effect.  All actions have their own effects.  Our apparently insignificant action become causes for great effects.  The Zen thought of this law is also summarized in a similar “tiny garden” called the Eastern-Water Drop-Pot.

The garden is completely enclosed by raised paths and grooves, but the garden itself has no roof.  This allows the rain to drop into the “pot”.  There may be a reference here to the Buddha’s words: “Drop by drop is the water pot filled.  Likewise, the wise man, gathering it little by little, fills himself with good.”

Further, the stones and gravels are used to express water.  The grooves or circles are the waves.  The act of raking the gravel into a pattern recalling waves or rippling water has an aesthetic function. Zen priests practice this raking also to help their concentration. Achieving perfection of lines is not easy.   The rocks sometimes represent a frog jumping into the pond; other times refer to a boat, a person, or a mountain.  It is said the effect of the jump is a wave that goes out and, if strong enough, the wave will come back to push the frog out of the water again.  This is used as a metaphor for our intentional actions.  If we act strongly, with a heart that bears no selfish desires or anger, our actions create far more powerful effects that will eventually return to support us.  I always love Japanese and Zen gardens for their serenity and inner peace-feeling.  It can be both helpful for concentration and also thought provoking.  They are simple but delicate, and serve a deep meaning and sincerity of purpose – a very powerful message.

From an enlightened master’s point of view, we are as stupid as the creature, constantly making incorrect assumptions about the world because of our limited system of thought.

Visiting a garden with a few rocks in it gives our mind just enough information to feel comfortable.  Here we can train our mind to stop jumping about from one unrelated subject to another.    In this way, it is similar to the breath counting meditation.  Calming the mind, like calming water, allows the dirt to settle, and the water to clear.

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