NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) recently captured a unique view of Earth from the spacecraft's vantage point in orbit around the moon.


“Look, here is a tree in the garden, and we call it an apple tree because the tree “apples.” That’s what it does. Alright, now here is a solar system inside a galaxy, and one of the peculiarities of this solar system is that at least on the planet Earth, the thing peoples! In just the same way that an apple tree apples!”



Known as the "Black Marble", this image of North and South America at night is a composite assembled from data acquired by the Suomi NPP satellite in April and October 2012.




it doesn’t keep an eye on itself



My Comment: Today is a day that finds me just drifting from one thing to the next like in a dream. At some point I felt how all is one moving swirl of activities and I am one center of perception among many. Yes, there is also at times the sense of these various centers being like options for the universal activity to look through, to feel through, like channels on the TV. This post then showed up and was comforting in a simple way: just allow the universal movement as I and then also as you to move in its own natural way, whatever that may entail at the moment. I believe most of this excerpt from Alan Watts’ “The Way of Zen” are statements by Linji, but when I made these notes I didn’t keep track of ‘who said what’ – and, after all, it doesn’t really matter.


It (Zen) enters into everything wholeheartedly and freely without having to keep an eye on itself. It does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes.

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zen: wearing clothes and eating food



“It enters into everything wholeheartedly and freely without having to keep an eye on itself. It does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes.

In the words of Lin-chi:

When it’s time to get dressed, put on your clothes. When you must walk, then walk. When you must sit, then sit. Don’t have a single thought in your mind about seeking for Buddhahood… Continue reading

Zen: Voluntary and Involuntary Events


For those of you who enjoyed yesterday’s post, this is the continuation of Alan Watts‘ text in The Way of Zen:

“The sense of subjective isolation is also based on a failure to see the relativity of voluntary and involuntary events. This relativity is easily felt by watching one’s breath, for by a slight change of viewpoint it is as easy to feel that “I breathe” as that “It breathes me.” We feel that our actions are voluntary when they follow a decision, and involuntary when they happen without decision. But if decision itself were voluntary, every decision would have to be preceded by a decision to decide – an infinite regression which fortunately does not occur. Oddly enough, if we had to decide to decide, we would not be free to decide. We are free to decide because decision “happens.” We just decide without having the faintest understanding of how we do it. In fact, it is neither voluntary nor involuntary.

To “get the feel” of this relativity is to find another extraordinary transformation of our experience as a whole, which may be described in either of two ways. I feel that I am deciding everything that happens, or, I feel that everything, including my decisions, is just happening spontaneously. For a decision – the freest of my actions – just happens like hiccups inside me or like a bird singing outside me.

Such a way of seeing things is vividly described by a modern Zen master, the late Sokei-an Sasaki:”

One day I wiped out all the notions from my mind. I gave up all desire. I discarded all the words with which I thought and stayed in quietude. I felt a little queer – as if I were being carried into something, or as if I were touching some power unknown to me … and Ztt! I entered. I lost the boundary of my physical body. I had my skin, of course, but I felt I was standing in the center of the cosmos. I spoke, but my words had lost their meaning. I saw people coming towards me, but all were the same man. All were myself! I had never known this world. I had believed that I was created, but now I must change my opinion: I was never created;

I was the cosmos; no individual Mr. Sasaki existed.

1940's Photograph of Sokei-an Sasaki

1940’s Photograph of Sokei-an Sasaki (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

source: Alan Watts, The Way of Zen, p. 117

There is a story about a Zen master whose monastery was overrun by marauding soldiers. When the Zen master did not appear frightened, the soldier’s captain said, “Don’t you know who I am? I could run my sword through you and not think twice about it.” the Zen master replied, “Don’t you know who I am? You could run your sword through me and I wouldn’t think twice about it.”

Zen: The Net of Jewels


Zen: The Net of Jewels

“Thence it appears that the entire sense of subjective isolation, of being the one who was “given” a mind and to whom experience happens, is an illusion of bad semantics–the hypnotic suggestion of repeated wrong thinking. For there is no “myself” apart from the mind-body which gives structure to my experience. It is likewise ridiculous to talk of this mind-body as something which was passively and involuntarily “given” a certain structure. It is that structure, and before the structure arose there was no mind-body.
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Direct Perception and Choiceless Awareness

Myrtle Creek joins the ocean

Myrtle Creek joins the Pacific

I was out at Arizona Beach Lodge for two days over this last weekend on a private retreat. Here are some of my reflections.

My interest is to connect with those of you who are engaged in their own exploration of consciousness on the background of their direct experience. For me ‘direct experience’ is the same as direct perception. I know that sometimes the term ‘experience’ is seen as that which is recognized by the mind after the fact. For example, I see a tree and then I reflect on that ‘seeing’ and the taking in of the image of the tree. In other words, there is a subject-object relationship.  Direct experience and direct perception for me point to the pure happening of ‘me’, as one integral part of this one beingness coming into contact with another integral part, which I, out of convention, call with the word ‘tree’.
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ZEN: The Nature of Seeing and Ego from Alan Watts

“The ultimate beauty we want to believe is hidden underneath this reality is, in fact, this reality. We become confused about our existence when we assume an ego apart from everything. As we look harder for the definition of ourselves, we not only realize that we have no separate ego, but that everything we experience is in our minds. Everything exists in our minds.”