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Everyday Zen on Facebook

"I was at sesshin at Mar de Jade in Mexico when I learned of the death of Peter Matthiessen. I knew him as Muryo, Zen priest. Sad. I am sorry I won’t see him again. As always you think 'why didn’t I call or write or visit that one last time?' Now I can't. But Peter was 86, had had a good full long life, had cancer, was battling with it, knew what was in store for him and was OK with it. So as these things go, he was lucky, and there is nothing to regret.

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"I guess the past is interesting exactly because it’s a mystery. Uncovering new facts and new perspectives toward clarifying what will essentially remain unknown (the past) is a quixotic pursuit that is fascinating and compelling—all the more so given that we all instinctively know that the quest for the past is a quest for ourselves."

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McHale's Navy

Mar 14, 2014

"The other day while I was exercising I found a TV channel that was showing 1960's sitcoms. McHales's Navy was on, a show I remember well from the early sixties. Starring Earnest Borgnine, who was famous for his role in the movie Marty, it was one of those light comedies about World War II. Yes, that's right, light comedies about World War II, a genre common in those days. There were several such shows. Their basic promise of all of them was that the War was loonie and lots of fun."

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My Promised Land

Mar 14, 2014

"Read Ari Shavit’s My Promised Land, the book about Israel that has been all over the American press in recent months. It’s the first book I know of in English - and widely available here (outside of Benny Green’s early historical works) - that is brutally honest about Israeli history."

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"Acting is interesting, very much like practice in that in both cases you have to project yourself imaginatively into your life, be fully committed to the truth of who you are, what you are about, at any moment — be willing to open up your life completely, no halfway measures will do. Ritual is like acting— in fact theater comes from ritual — in which you heighten your presence in order to perform a non-ordinary imaginative act."

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Lear

Feb 02, 2014

You don’t need a dramatic story of ascent and descent - even a quiet modest life ends in total loss. Awakening is letting go of self and world - that’s liberation. Letting go you find something else. Not a new identity, a new self, a new belief system. Something completely different. Letting go itself. I am arguing that Lear does finally let go - but he has to be beaten into it.

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Flying home from Mexico after sesshin. On the plane I am working on ms of my big book of essays on "reading, writing, language, and religion." I keep cutting, polishing. There is no finished text, but at some point you say "finished" and off it goes to the publisher. Is any day ever finished? No, but the sun goes down anyway, and we had better be satisfied with it.

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As you know, I like to read. I am always reading. I don’t remember most of what I read, but I keep on. And everything I read sounds like Dharma.

Lately I have been reading about light, which is, for us, the world. Without light we wouldn’t be here and neither would anything else. When we see the world we are actually seeing consciousness activated by light, which creates an image in our brains of something “out there.” And the light that activates our eyes and brains isn’t actually light per se - it’s the mixing of light and the objects we see. Light itself, it turns out, is invisible, may or may not actually “exist,” and requires an observer. Light is the one thing in the universe that isn’t subject to the relativity of space and time. In others words, light - the most everyday occurrence there is - is impossible to understand or pin down. It is, in every sense of the word, a miracle. Everyday life is a miracle.

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December, 2012

Dec 04, 2012

I am writing you as another year draws to a close. This last month has been pretty trying and exciting, what with Hurricane Sandy battering New York (where our children and many friends live: all are well) and the grueling Presidential election. Once again, we have survived. There is always suffering but we always survive. That's practice, that's the Buddha's teaching. It inspires us, and gives us great strength and confidence.

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Mid-June, 2012

Jun 16, 2012

It’s summer at Muir Beach. Bright warm days (not the usual fog and blustery wind). I have been reading and ruminating. Two thoughts keep returning to mind. First, the strangeness of life. I can’t seem to get used to it. How days pass by, time moving on, but to where and from where?

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