Saturday, 26 August 2017


156. When commanded to 'say something', and I have nothing to say, silence is my stern response.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017


155. When the disciple has nothing to say the master will demand, 'Say something!'

Tuesday, 15 August 2017


154. In the watches of the night,
        a wind gets up -
        mu-u-u-u ...

        In the watches of the night,
        a window rattles -
        mu-u-u-u ...

        In the watches of the night,
        a blowing in the trees -
        mu-u-u-u ...

        In the watches of the night,
        a sudden silence -
        mu-u-u-u ...

Saturday, 12 August 2017


153. Years ago I tried to read an old philosophy book written in Latin. I did not get very far but what I did get were two formulations that have stayed with me ever since. They articulate an important distinction with regard to being. They go like this: 'Ens a se' and 'Ens ab alio'. When one is injured and in need of care by others, any illusion that one might entertain about being an independent, self sufficient, and autonomous entity is quickly shattered. 

Friday, 11 August 2017


152. Pressing the 'action replay' button:

                    seized and spun about
                    then flung to a slamming halt -
                    cars stop men approach

Thursday, 10 August 2017


151. Better to give than to receive, they say. But this walking wounded, on the receiving end of so much giving, has come to a clearer appreciation of the kindness and generosity, not only of family and friends, but also of strangers. Someone told me that in the Tamil language the word for 'beggar' has a positive connotation in that the beggar is a rich source of blessing for his or her benefactor. May this wounded one be a source of blessing for the strangers, the professionals (ambos, nurses, doctors, physios), family and friends who have helped me, and continue to help me, deal with my current situation.    

Wednesday, 9 August 2017


150. Car crash - as sudden as unexpected, everything out of control. No time or chance to think. At the mercy of some irresistible power. A blinding blur. Coming to, everything has stopped. Find myself sitting in a wrecked car. Stunned. Looking out I notice other cars stopping and some men approaching. They wrench open the door and help me out. Walk me away from the car. Get me to lie down and cover me with my jacket. Very caring, very gentle, very efficient. Hear talk of grain spilt on the road. Another car nearly lost control. Ring for ambulance and police. Surrender to the care of others.

Friday, 4 August 2017


149. The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein said , 'The work of the philosopher consists in assembling reminders for a particular purpose'. Taking our cue from Wittgenstein we might say that the work of the Zen master, like that of the philosopher, 'consists in assembling reminders for a particular purpose'. We might even say that this work of 'assembling reminders for a particular purpose' is a fairly accurate description of the sort of practice that we, as Zen practitioners, are engaged in. Recall our basic practice of 'just this breath' and how we come back again and again to 'just this breath' and to the treasure that is to be found in 'just this breath'.