Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Lankavatara Sutra

The Queens Public Library in New York City is awesome. They have a copy of The Lankavatara Sutra: Translation and Commentarywhich is one of my favorite sutras. The only downside is that because of how it's classified, I can't renew it on line, and have only 2 weeks at a time with it.

(Guess I'll have to concentrate on it. I like to read where my whims lead me.)

Pine writes in the introduction, "Just as the Diamond Sutra teaches detachment from dharmas, and the Heart Sutra teaches the emptiness of dharmas, the Lankavatara teaches the non-projection of dharmas, that there  would be no dharmas to be empty or to be detached from if we did not project them as existing or not existing the first place." (p.4)

Pine also writes, "the Lankais not a text that welcomes the casual reader."

I found the Suzuki translation very interesting. Suzuki translated from the Sanskrit. Pine translates from the Chinese, which is from the Sanskrit edition.


I wouldn't say I struggle with metta, because I do it, but I do think sometimes beginners might be harsh on themselves when wellsprings of metta don't just gush out of them. This is an attempt to build up from what's there.

Metta is sometimes translated as universal lovingkindness. A pretty high ideal. The amazing thing is that you can move towards that ideal. I find it useful to move towards that idea.

(I had a friend confronting some friends about places in America where you can't run for office if you're not a Christian. One person said, "if you're not a Christian I don't know your values." I would argue you don't really know someone's real values even if someone calls themselves a Christian. The idea that we can't have a secular or a non-Christian ethics, is Christian presumptive. Like they're the only ones who have developed morals. And even if you know someone's ideals, you don't know how successful they are at moving towards them. Even so, I think the use of ideals is important is being something more than a materialist or a nihilist.)

I like it that people are honest, when I am honest, and don't ape a spiritual personality by pretending that you are full of metta. Getting really close to the bone and seeing what's there is so important. A friend's recent reporting in impressed me in expressing the struggle to find a deeper metta.

I suppose it doesn't exactly feel triumphant to notice when you fall short, but in a way, metta practice can be about that. Reframing things in a positive way can avoid a heavy negative load.

In the first stage, I connect with just a basic desire to survive, if metta doesn't gush out, and I build on that.

In the second stage, I notice how in someone it's easy when you really like someone to have sticky affection--what do I get from them? I want to move more to a thou relationship, so I listen and hope for that.

In the third stage, I notice how I split. Either you're for me, or against me. I appreciate the various levels in which I do that, and appreciate the fact that I don't always do that, and I can take the larger perspective.

In the forth stage, I think about how I don't appreciate the circumstances enough to have seen why a person would be cast as an enemy. I resist reality in so many ways, and this is another example.

The fifth stage is the hardest for me, because spreading a lack of something, well, it's like trying to butter toast without enough butter. I can line all 4 people up and see if I can equalize the metta. I can also think about ever widening circles. Me, my household, my floor, my apartment building, my block, my neighborhood, my borough, my city, my metropolitan area, the surrounding states, the region, the nation, the continent, the other continents, the whole planet, the solar system, the cosmos. That feels like an academic exercise, but I do appreciate that there might be life outside of earth, and to just beam whatever positive feeling I can out into it. I can also think about all the different species on the planet, from the ones most related to me and beyond. (There's a funny and NSFW account of rebirth by Andy from Weeds.) I also notice how I get lost in this stage, that I have really found what really works for me in this stage, and that this is such a rich practice and that 11 years of practice doesn't really even begin to plumb the depths of it.

And as always when things get so airy fairy, I can also use that stage to reconnect back in with myself, how I'm feeling, and feel the fruits of the practice.

End note: For just sitting there, I think a lot about my todo list. Refining my todo list isn't the purpose of meditation, but it is a fruit, in my opinion.

(Note: Sometimes it's hard to trace back to who actually posted a photo because people reblog things a lot on Tumblr. I'm working harder to credit the photos I post, and not post when people don't want their photos used by others. That would be taking the not given.)

Dying Traditions

The new translation of the Bardo Thodol had got me thinking more about my culture's traditions that help guide us into death.

Francecsa Hampton's last story gives us something. While it's not as rich and fantastical as the Bardo Thodol, it felt more true, more of my culture. You can read her wonderful stories in Buddha on a Midnight Sea - Short Stories.

As Buddhist Fiction Blog has pointed out, there is Buddhist fiction by Buddhists and there is fiction about Buddhists. Hampton's stories are both.

Hampton is a student of the late Lama Yeshe, who was a Gelugpa.

Sunday, March 24, 2013


I went to the Rubin. I always hope to have a spiritual experience there, and I end up with an art history lesson. Art is complicated, and there's a lot to learn about in the world.

In my aesthetics class in college, one person did a project on museum fatigue, and I always think about that when I get so tired in a museum.

There were photographs of Muslim spiritual sites, there were modern abstract paintings. I like the Buddhist stuff. I look around for a tanka that really speaks to me. I liked one from western Tibet, that had a different style to it, the Buddha had a checkered robe, on the 3rd floor. It was in an exhibit that intended to help you appreciate that different areas in Tibet have different styles. There was a small vivid one on the 4th floor that I liked, but often I can't decode the iconography, and I don't know the background, or what's relevant about that incarnation of the Dali Lama, or that spiritual teacher long gone in the past. Some of the foreignness is the remoteness in time.

I find it weird there's Tibetan temple replica and you can't meditate there. I guess I have to get myself to a temple. I bring my spirituality there, and I get a museum experience. I want to see the art through spiritual eyes, but I have so much to learn to develop the sophistication to decode and see.

My partner thinks that when I want to have a dialogue with someone at the museum, I'm asking for too much. Next time I go I'll listen to the audio tour. You can even download them to your phone! They have presentations you can watch on line. The audio is a little low on the one I watched some of. I need to go on tour with someone. I need to spend more time there to learn. I'm not sure if it will advance my spiritual life. You get what you put into it. I can be impatient.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Pet Peeves

My pet peeves:

1. People clipping their nails on the subway.
2. When people honk in a car out of frustration in their car, instead of for safety.
3. When people leave garbage in the sink, instead of throwing it away.
4. Using dog ears as a book mark instead of a real book mark.

I could go on, but I think pet peeves are also a way of resisting reality. Part of that story we tell that if the world was just so, then all would be right with the world; That if people would just erase the pet peeves from the world, all would be good. It's called externalizing and resisting reality.

Names in Pali

I called myself the Buddhist name Sravacitta, which to me means mind/heart listener because that was what I aspired to. Then my partner gave me the name Kamuka, which means "sweetheart", and a bunch of other things. Supposedly Kamuka travel agency went bust recently. Apparently it's a Cebuano word. In Bengali it means lascivious. Opse. But my partner thinks it means loving, caring sweetheart.

William was named Jyoti, which means spark, light or flame, but today I added Balin, which means strength. William worried that it was a girl's name. I googled Jyoti and women show up. It seems a women's name. My partner worries that it's not good to worry about gender that way, but I think he's 8 years old and he worries about such things so let's also give him another name. So Jyoti Balin is his new aggregate Buddhist name.

I named my partner Anandi, which means joy. She's very joyous. I added Mudita when she had sympathetic joy. And because there's a dakini named Kori, I call her Kori Anandi Mudita.

My youngest son's name is Santikara, which means peace maker, but he's anything but, he's ruled by jealousy. Perhaps a future aspiration. But he has so many other positive traits, I'm in search of another name for him to add on. I don't want to get rid of the name, I just want to add onto another one because he sometimes feels left out.

When I first read Crime and Punishment and War and Peace, I thought it was annoying the Russians had so many different pet names, it was confusing for the reader. Now I'm into pet names.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Norman Fisher quote

"We touch and awaken each other, not so much in conscious ways--in ways we can figure out and reproduce at will--but just by persisting with each other, just by hanging in and being together." (p.83 Taking Our Places)

Monday, March 18, 2013

serenity prayer

Wikipedia as usual is my starting point. I'm going to reformulate Reinhold Niebuhr's prayer so that it works better for me.

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can;and wisdom to know the difference.

I took out "God", because I'm an agnostic Buddhist. Now you can add your higher power in front of that statement if that works for you. For me my higher power is the Dharma, wait, actually the three jewels; The Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. They don't so much grant me those things, but they are my higher power. An important component of the higher power isn't any metaphysic or dogma, it's just plain conditionality, cause and effect in the world.

Maybe I would rewrite it

May I be in touch with the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can;and wisdom to know the difference.

And it goes on:

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

As awesome as Jesus is, I would take that out for me. I don't accept that I was necessarily born in sin. I like the taking one day at a time, and enjoying one moment at a time. I like the idea of being reasonably happy. That's a good pairing of words you don't always hear. It kind of puts a cap on our rampant materialism. I'm not so sure about the "next world", and think about the denial of death.

So I could write it for me this way:

Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Seeking strength by surrender to my higher power
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life.

Or even better for me:
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
eyes wide open to how things really are
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life.

What I like about the serenity prayer is that it is a kind of way of accepting and yet still fighting our place in the world.

(I think Cheryl Strayed captures it well in this quote.)

Norman Fisher quote

"Human conduct in this world is often very discouraging and it would make sense that any of us would feel impotent and dismayed by it. After all, what can any one person do? If even the leaders of nations, who supposedly have their hands on the world's tiller, seem to be powerless to make things better, what are we ordinary people to do? But when you see the power of persistance and the certainty of long-term good results flowing inevitably from good actions, no matter how small and personal those actions may be, you do feel that what you do matters and makes a difference in the world. Drops make brooks that flow on eventually as rivers and oceans--and this is the only way rivers and oceans are made." (p.76 Taking Our Places)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Until the 22nd (of March) 2013

Christie's (NYC) is showing a bunch of Buddhist art in Asia Week, which ends the 22nd. Lots of rupas and tankas.

If you can't make it, just download a catalogue. This one too.

I had a series of thoughts when I saw the prices of the collectables. I bought my rupa for $125. I couldn't find one for less than $12K, though many were more than 6 digits. I found myself looking most at the price.

You can glimpse them before they're bought up for private or possibly public collections.

I see the images as sacred objects, objects of devotion. To spend so much money, well, I imagine using the money to further the dharma, like help pay rent on a room for meditation and sangha. Every time I walk by a storefront that has a "for rent" sign, I think Buddhist Center. There are a million good causes to donate to.

But some people have a lot of money. Some want to collect art. Maybe if prices go up on Buddhist art, perhaps some of that money will go to a living artist.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Metropolitan Museum of Art - Field Armor of King Henry VIII of England

Saw this today. I sometimes marvel at how we still have some written records of what people remember the Buddha to have said. I'm lucky to live in a time when the Buddha's teachings are alive. And then you see something like this, and you realize some amazing things exist from our past.

Revenge for the failure of trust

"Revenge for the failure of trust, revenge for the paltriness of love, revenge for being born and then forgotten."

This is what the terrible monkey chewing at the neck of woman in the vision of the narrator in the story "Greyhound Bodhisattva" by Franscesca Hampton.

The story is about a Tulku who rejects the responsibility and falls to the western temptations. But still, with clarity, he returns a wallet full of money, and then after a horrible vision about a woman quoted in brief above, he also has this lovely vision. This story is also collected in Nixon Under the Bodhi Tree and Other Works of Buddhist Fiction. I liked the quote because of the succinctness of some major brands of suffering.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


A friend lent me Watchmen

There's a picture of a Buddha in the background, where the guy says, "I guess none of these messiahs and illuminated types amount to a whole hill of beans."

The other guy says, "Well, there's never been any marketplace for peace and enlightenment."

They are expressing a cynicism that reminds me of mappo. Mappo is the idea that the world has degenerated so much that we can't get enlightened. What's the use. It's a kind of nihilism, and a kind of self fulfilling prophecy.

The whole book is about disillusionment, loss of meaning, loss of traditional ways, loss of a simple world that most people could easily understand. We want super heroes. We want the fight between good and evil. But evil seems to be winning sometimes. The problems of the world are too complex to really solve. We're a runaway train headed towards death.

Perhaps the reader's response is supposed to be that it's not that bad, and that we can believe in heroes. You see the negative and feel that it's wrong, that things are better than that, and that life is meaningful, even if we die. We still have a live spirit, captured in the super heroes.

I think the adult artists who create these simple story lines, somehow don't believe in them, and so they add wrinkles to convey that. They express an intense internal reality that kids can identify with. Perhaps it's histrionic, but at least it's not alienated. They're fighting off alienation.

I don't believe the guy in the comic in the photo above gave the Buddha a real chance. Superficiality is a one of the fetters to a deeper spiritual life. That and vagueness of thinking. And to just round out the three fetters, people either drift towards nihilism or think things are too concrete.

Upon further reflection, I think the comment "Well, there's never been any marketplace for peace and enlightenment" is an interesting short critique of how enlightenment will challenge the ethos of materialism and the ideologies of capitalism. Of course it does turn out there is a market, just look at all the ads in Tricycle, from books to benches to cushions, to retreat centers and audio teachings. I would say the same thing about peace, though it's by no means in comparison as lucrative as the so called defense industry. But it points to the fact that buddhism is a sharp critique to materialism and capitalism.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Norman Fisher Quote

"Some are calm and quiet, others are talky and jumpy. Some are decisive and stubborn, others more thoughtful and softer. Still, it seems that maturity brings stability into a person's life, no matter what that life looks like. When you have lived long enough to find a way of being that suits you, you do become calmer and stable. When you've learned how to be confident enough to give yourself willingly and completely to what's in front of you, life holds you in place, for you are not off-balance, grabbing for something other than what arises in front of you. You are willing to stand where you are, looking straight ahead without glancing off in a million directions. Some might call this strength of character, but to me it seems more like inspiration. We are inspired by what happens and what happens deepens us. Life becomes more interesting. Rather than feeling that we have to seek new or exotic experience, we become fascinated with whatever our situation happens to be. We love whatever we are, we love whatever our life provides. Living, just as it is, is enough for us. There's tremendous steadiness and reliability in this acceptance, whatever our personal style of expressing it may be." (p.35-6 Taking Our Places)

To me he's expressing the precept, "with simplicity, stillness and clarity" and something that happens when you meditate. But he's connecting that to maturity. I like his appreciation that things can be expressed in different personalities. That's a real gift.

Saturday, March 09, 2013


A friend asked me about my greed. I said it wasn't a black or white thing, people aren't greedy or not greedy. There are times in retrospect that self serving rationalizations led me to actions that turned out to be greedy. I think the balance between self and others isn't easy. You have to take care of yourself enough so you can take care of others. And often we could do more, we're not on the brink like we think we were. Having children helped me to see that.

So the takeaway from that for me was to try and add a subroutine to my decision making process that asks, "is this self servering rationalizations? And if it's close, you should check it out with other people to make sure you're not taking the not given." I can be sneaky by not asking that question, and that's exactly when I should be asking it.

And I suppose the opposite. I need to ask if I'm being exploited, or if someone is taking advantage of my generosity. Is it truly open handed on my part? When the tank is empty, I need to ask if I really can drive any further without my gas running out, or if I need to pull over and recharge.

Did I go on a tangent?

Brandi Carlile's song It Wasn't Me:

Hang on, just hang on for a minute
I've got something to say
I'm not asking you to move on or forget it
But these are better days
To be wrong all along and admit is not amazing grace
But to be loved like a song you remember
Even when you've changed

Tell me did I go on a tangent?
Did I lie through my teeth?
Did I cause you to stumble on your feet?
Did I bring shame on my family?
Did it show when I was weak?
Whatever you see, that wasn't me
That wasn't me, that wasn't me

When you're lost you will toss every lucky coin you'll ever trust
And you will hide from every god like he never turns his back on us
And you will fall all the way to the bottom and fall on your own knife
But you'll learn who you are even if it doesn't take your life

Tell me did I go on a tangent?
Did I lie through my teeth?
Did I cause you to stumble on your feet?
Did I bring shame on my family?
Did it show when I was weak?
Whatever you see, that wasn't me
That wasn't me, that wasn't me

But I want you to know that you'll never alone
I wanna believe do I make myself a blessing to everyone I meet
When you fall I will get you on your feet
Do I spend time with my family?
Did it show when I was weak?
When that's what you see, that will be me
That will be me, that will be me
That will be me


I woke up today singing, "did I go on a tangent?"

I googled the line, and found the song. I went to Spotify, and listened to the song. It seemed so apropo to my fall ten months ago. My actions were ego dystonic. I experienced them as not me. That wasn't me. I could not stop crying this morning for the hurt I brought.

What I love about this song is that she vows, like a bodhisattva vow, to help people back onto their feet, the ones who have fallen like she has. If there's any silver lining to a mistake, it's understanding them, and vowing to help people who've had similar mistakes. "But I want you to know that you'll never alone/I wanna believe do I make myself a blessing to everyone I meet/When you fall I will get you on your feet"

I bought tickets for a Brandi Carlile concert for one of the many people I hurt, and she was very excited. I apologized and apologized. She says I need to forgive myself. A friend thinks what I did was pretty serious and I think so too. Unfortunately I can't take it back. There's a line from a George Michaels song, "some mistakes were built to last/that's what you get/that's what you get". Another friend says I need to focus on positively moving forward; So that's what I'll do. But this song has a lot of meaning for me.

The line "I'm not asking you to move on or forget it" also captures the fact that saying sorry doesn't take back anything, the thing happened. The song goes on to say, "To be wrong all along and admit is not amazing grace/But to be loved like a song you remember/Even when you've changed".

There was this big thing when Brit Hume said that Tiger Woods should convert to Christianity because it has redemption, and he implied that there isn't any in Buddhism. I am sure there isn't redemption like Christianity, because every system of belief is different. But in Buddhism seeing reality, being awake and alive, is the ultimate goal. When you're awake and alive you see things clearly. You're not bewildered, distracted, confused on important levels. You don't go twisting off on a tangent. By coming back to reality is positive progress. 

Angulimama murdered people, and then found the live Buddha, and he turned his life around. The best thing you can do is progress down the path towards enlightenment, which includes pledging to be harmless to others. Doing that might not be redemption, but it's a good thing, and will make do for redemption in my mind.

Friday, March 08, 2013


I think we should cut down or eliminate eating meat because animals suffer, and farming practices are not kind to animals. Chicken beaks are cut off so they don't peck each other to death in their tiny cages, where they break their legs and go psychotic. Once you open your eyes to the meatrix, it's hard to close your eyes.

There are ethical reasons to quit or cut down on eating meat, and then there are health reasons. (There are also ecological reasons.) Recently there's been a preponderance of evidence that meat isn't so great for you. My partner Cori is into nutrition, so I've been paying attention a little more lately.

We wouldn't need to spend all this time figuring things out, except the technologies of the food industry are getting better and better. Add salt, sweets and fat, and you've got a winner.

As humans, we want to fill up because until recently the threat of starvation was real.

Salt is not good for mice.

Salami has been linked with heart disease and cancer.

Meatless Monday is beginning to gather steam.

The amount of bacon you can eat safely is very small.

Food is even sexualized bizarrely.

Bloomberg is trying to do something about it, and it will effect coffee drinkers too.

The other day I saw a horrible photo of a naked woman with a cow head. It was almost like it was straight out of The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-vegetarian Critical Theory, 20th Anniversary Edition

I'm not going to lie. I'm not a strict vegetarian. I eat meat occasionally. I feel too much pressure at times to eat meat, it's too convenient, and I do eat meat occasionally. I'm not perfect, I'm a work in progress. I'm not totally in control of myself, but I do believe in moving towards health. I see myself as a flexatarian who is working to evolve towards full vegetarianism, even towards being vegan.

Spirituality to me is about a direction, not a destination. And I think the ultimate is to become a locavore vegan. That is what I wish to evolve towards, even if I'm not completely there.

Thursday, March 07, 2013


In Taking Our Places: The Buddhist Path to Truly Growing Up, Norman Fisher asks questions around maturity. He works with a group of 4 adolescents. He's been a high school English teacher.

So what is maturity?

Cori's answer is flexibility, rolling punches, taking responsibility, being able to make decisions, and thinking about the consequences and repercussions of decisions. Understanding that life sucks sometimes and not having a temper tantrum and problem solve. You work through problems.

Cori also see maturity also as wanting to give back to the world because you see a bigger picture.

I think of it as taking a larger perspective. If it was up to kids, they wouldn't go to the dentist because of the pain. But adults take them because there's greater health in going to the dentist. We could multiply this example. We could also apply it to current world problems and wonder at how we are going to get our society to grow up.

I also think about patience, perseverance, and continuity of purpose. Mature people are engaged in positive goals, progressing forward in the world.

Cori thinks maturity is realizing you need other people. I would say realizing how important relationships are with others, is a sign of maturity.

Cori also discussed maturity as a kind of taking responsibility for yourself, not blaming others.

Cori asks the question about personalities--is there one marker or markers that transcends personality, or is maturity more person specific?

Is there ever a time when maturity reverses? Is there a kind of ripening of maturity, like fruit, where afterwords it becomes rotten?

I think when you get older, you stop pleasing people, and get a little better at taking care of yourself to make sure you can take care of others, so sometimes people go overboard with that, and can get more selfish with age.

In some crucial way I think maturity is using your experience to help chart your way forward, using your experience in the world to approach it with greater wisdom and care. And to know about your experience, you have to face it. You can't avoid it through drugs, distraction, busyness or addictions that take you away from your experience. I always think of Marsha Linehan's saying the difference between someone who evolves is whether they face their experience. I also like the thing from Milarepa where he says something like a dog chases a stick, but the dharma warrior faces the stick thrower.

One of my friends said maturity was: "Subjugation of one's regressive emotions in the service of appropriate behavior."

Reading around the internet, the sophist think it's knowing one's role. According to a Sikh website, they think being aware, alert and not angry is mature. Dr. Gerald Stein from Chicago thinks maturity is humility, integration of emotion and reason, or head and heart, and finding solutions to problems, plus confidence and having a sense of what is worth fighting for. Also taking responsibility and not just going for thrills. Also articulating your principles and gratitude. 

DJ Chuang says, "Emotional maturity is NOT controlling one’s emotions. It’s controlling one’s behaviors and choosing to act in a way that doesn’t impulsively give in to reactive feelings." He narrows the question to emotional maturity. That's similar to my friend's definition.

Many people note that telling people to grow up doesn't really work, and that often name calling about maturity can be a manipulation and that we need to connect with our experience as a reference point to not being manipulated. You can get fooled by the trappings of adulthood and appearances to think you're mature, in a superficial way.

I would also add it's not the inability to play. I think play is something that mature people can see the benefit. Different personalities have a different relationship to play and seriousness, but that seems to be a separate issue. Being conventional isn't necessarily maturity. The Josh thinks you should just change just because someone is afraid of being labeled immature. Peer pressure can go both ways, I went to college because everyone I knew was going to college. Peer pressure in the spiritual community gives me nudges to sit or go on retreat, to think more about the consequences of my actions to others. Still you have to be connected to yourself, your heart, your stomach, your inner voice, when you take other's advice into consideration. I want to figure out what maturity means to me before I read what Norman Fisher has to say. I learned that as a teaching/learning method calls KWL. What do I Know? What do I Want to learn? and What did I Learn? I think an under utilized method of comprehension in reading is to compare it to what you know. It's essentially the reason I blog (besides my narcissism).

These seem like all good answers, with lots of overlap. You can do your own search, but it seems like there's a lot of room for different answers, and finding out what it means for you, and developing follow up questions can be an important process.

Please feel free to add your thoughts in the comments.

Cheryl Strayed quote

"...a prayer marched through my head, though prayer is not the right word to describe that march. I wasn't humble before God. I didn't even believe in God. My prayer was not: Please, God, take mercy on us." p. 10 Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (Vintage)

When I read the above quote, I began to like Strayed and her book. You'd think that when you pray to an all powerful, all knowing god, that you'd ask them to change things since they were all powerful. God the powerful. It's Dharma to try and accept things as they really are, and prayer is a kind of way of asking yourself, too, for the grace to accept the reality that you resist.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Life is Fragile

Holly Cow! A sink hole can just open up and swallow you, and it's so dangerous, nobody wants to try and fish you out.

I remember many years ago houses exploded because they were built on a land fill. They learned to put methane pipes into the ground to drain off the pressure, but what a way to go. I remember that town in Wisconsin that was just wiped out in the 80's. Hurricanes, volcanoes, tornadoes, terrorism, random violence, land fill explosions and now sink holes!

We know we're going to die, but we don't know when. There's no time like the present to put our house in order.

The Bardo Thodol has some suggestions for Tibetan Buddhists, especially Nyingma Tradition. I wondered how they knew what would happen, but without getting too much into belief that is experience far from me, I do think the Bardo Thodol is an interesting exploration of what spiritually could happen.

I wonder, how do I want my death to go down, if it's not snuffed out in some kind of random way. In chess you can focus on openings, middle game strategy and end games. What is my end game in life?

I've been thinking about the 4 sights lately.