Zen Wisdom II

metta refuge dharma nuggets

metta refuge dharma

A story is told of two monks who had taken a vow to never touch a woman.

They’re on a pilgrimage to a holy temple when they come to a place where the water has risen, making it difficult to pass. Stranded along the bank is a beautiful young lady who asks for their help. The first monk scowls at her and says that he’s taken a vow of chastity, so he cannot help her. The second picks the woman up and carries her silently across the water.

A mile later, the first monk asks the second, “What did you do? You know we’re not allowed to touch women – why did you take her across the river?”

The second monk answers, “Brother, I picked her up, carried her across the river, and set her down. You’ve been carrying her for the past mile.”

Why do we think that it’s only the things that we do that matter
and not the things we think?

The Zen Book
~ Daniel Levin ~


~ Barbara Dent ~
The Marriage of All and Nothing

“You took your time!” he chided her so tenderly.

“There were barriers all along the route
and someone had tampered with the signposts…”

“But surely you knew this way by heart!
 In dreams, if not in actuality.
I thought I’d shown you every bit of it,
taken you along it personally almost to the end!
How could you have lost your way?
 Even though some signposts had been vandalized.”

“You’ll make me cry!”

His gentle fingers stroked her cheek.
“You couldn’t – even if you tried.
No one ever mourns or weeps once they’ve arrived
and known the true embrace,
the everlasting kiss of peace.”

“The barriers,” she whispered, “they were real.
I tore my nails and made my hands all bloody beating at them.
And the muddling signs – I got confused.
I thought that I was going mad.
Storms and darkness.
Voices jeering at me glad that I was lost.
And fog…I lost my shoes.
 My feet were cut and blistered.
I cried out to you to help me –
but you didn’t come.
I tell you I was lost.
I called – you didn’t answer. You…”

His fingers gently closed her lips.
“Hush now, my dear. My dearest love.
It’s all past now. A nightmare. That was all.
A fearful one that blinded you and made you deaf.
And so you could not tell I never left your side at all.
Each moment I was guiding you
through night and storm and fog.
My arms supported you when all the signs made nonsense.
Those barriers you beat at futilely I led you round by level paths
that wandered over flowery fields where larks sang.
I gave you rest beneath some trees.
But you were blind and deaf and did not know…
And now you’ve reached your home.
No more nomad journeys.
 The search is ended.
Can’t you feel the haven of my arms?
My heart that beats for you alone?
My eyes that speak of love?
The nightmare’s over.
Sleep and rest.
Tomorrow we will celebrate together.”

She rested then. And slept. At last she slept.

What Have We Done Today?

What Have We Done Today?
by Nixon Waterman

We shall do much in the years to come,
But what have we done today?
We shall give our gold in a princely sum,
But what did we give today?
We shall lift the heart and dry the tear,
We shall plant a hope in the place of fear,
We shall speak the words of love and cheer,
But what did we speak today?

We shall be so kind in the after while,
But have we been today?
We shall bring to each lonely life a smile,
But what have we brought today?
We shall give to truth a grander birth,
And to steadfast faith a deeper worth,
 We shall feed the hungering souls of earth,
But whom have we fed today?

We shall reap such joys in the by and by,
But what have we sown today?
We shall build us mansions in the sky,
But what have we built today?
‘Tis sweet in the idle dreams to bask;
But here and now, do we our task?
Yes, this is the thing our souls must ask,
What have we done today?

A Father’s Prayer


A Father’s Prayer
~ General Douglas MacArthur ~

Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak,
and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid;
one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat,
and humble and gentle in victory.

Build me a son whose wishbone will not be where his backbone should be;
a son who will know thee and that to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge.

Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort,
but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge.
Here let him learn to stand up in the storm;
here let him learn compassion for those who fail.

Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high;
a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men;
one who will learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep;
one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.

And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor,
so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously.
 Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of true
the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength.

Then I, his father, will dare to whisper, “I have not lived in vain.”


Douglas MacArthur, an Army General and Medal of Honor recipient in World War II, was father to one son, Arthur IV.

In Gratitude to My Fellow Bloggers



I offer blessings and gratitude to https://otrazhenie.wordpress.com for her gracious gift of the Inner Peace Award. Encouragement from a blogger such as Otrazhenie helps me to reach deep inside myself to find more quotations, poetry, or personal essays to inspire and perhaps offer hope to anyone in need. And even on a good day, I find that to be quite a few of us…

In the spirit of gifting those who have touched my heart in kind, I pass this award on to those bloggers I list below. If they choose to accept, they have only to say something kind to any persons they in turn “pay forward” with the Inner Peace Award.









At the same time (I am indeed blessed), I offer blessings and gratitude to http://jeaninjackson.com for the gift of the Sunshine Award. Her Life Images at Pearl St. Gallery bring me a bit of sunshine whenever I look at them, and transport my soul to so many places where I have not yet had the good fortune to travel. Her pictures tell stories like I (hopefully) express in words.

In the same spirit, I would like to nominate the same five bloggers listed above for the Sunshine Award, for the sunshine that they bring to me, and so very many others, with each post that we are all lucky enough to read. They are a gift.

The rules for the Sunshine Award are as follows:

* Use the logo above in the post.
* Link to whoever nominated you.
* Write ten pieces of information about yourself.
* Nominate ten (I nominated five) fellow bloggers “who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.”
* Leave a comment on the nominees’ blogs to tell them of the award.

Here are ten (more) pieces of information about me:

* I prefer to stay in B&Bs rather than hotels.
* I talk to animals.
* My dream: to live in a (gray) stone cottage set amidst the hills and valleys of Wales or Ireland, near some sort of water (ocean, lake, stream).
* Most peaceful vacation moment: flying in a hot air balloon over the Serengeti in Tanzania.
* Most profound vacation moment: crying at my first look at the citadel of Machu Picchu, Peru.
* Most relaxing vacation moment: on the empty deck of the sailing ship Royal Clipper, late at night, with the sound of the waves and moonlight for company.
* Favorite boutique hotel: http://www.fincarosablanca.com – Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation and Inn, Costa Rica
* I prefer an aisle seat on a plane.
* I prefer to hold an actual book in my hands when reading, but I did break down and buy a Kindle for when I travel to cut down on weight in my luggage.
* Best place to watch fireworks: summer weekends at Oregon Ridge Park in Cockeysville, Maryland, with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra playing in concert with the fireworks display.

Zen Wisdom


Two frogs were happily hopping around when they saw a big pail sitting in front of them. They both were so interested that they couldn’t control themselves – they decided to jump up onto the rocks around them to see if they could find out what was inside the bucket. When they couldn’t see from that vantage point, they decided to jump in together, splashing into a pail full of cream.

At first they were thrilled and drank until they could drink no longer…and then they realized that they couldn’t get out. Each time they jumped, they hit up against the slippery side of the bucket and fell back in. They kept trying and trying, until the bigger one said, “I can do this no longer. I’m too tired.” He gave up and drowned in the bucket.

The little frog told himself, “I’d rather die trying to get out of here than just give up and sink to the bottom.” He continued to paddle and paddle and then he’d try to jump, only to hit the side and slip down again. This went on for some time, until as he was paddling, he felt something solid under his foot. He stepped onto this solid thing, jumped, and he was out of the bucket! By continuing to paddle, he’d churned the cream into butter, and was able to jump out.

Never give up, for we never know when the moment when everything will change will come.

~ Daniel Levin ~
The Zen Book

The Last Horizon

The Last Horizon
by John O’Donohue

As we climbed up the mountain
and came to where I thought the horizon would be,

it had disappeared – another horizon was waiting further on.
 I was disappointed, but also excited in an unfamiliar way.
Each new level had revealed a new world.
 Against this perspective, death can be understood
 as the final horizon.
Beyond there, the deepest well of your identity awaits you.
In that well, you will behold the beauty and light of your eternal face.

Today’s Quote


The labyrinth is thoroughly known.
We have only to follow the thread of the hero path,
and where we had thought to find an abomination,
we shall find a god.
And where we had thought to slay one another,
we shall slay ourselves.
Where we had thought to travel outward,
we will come to the center of our own existence.
And where we had thought to be alone,
we will be with all the world.

~ Joseph Campbell ~
The Power of Myth

Battle of the Wolves

A Native American grandfather was talking to his grandson about how he felt.

He said:

“I feel as if I have two wolves fighting in my heart.
One wolf is the vengeful, angry, violent one.
The other wolf is the loving, compassionate one.”

The grandson asked him:

“Which wolf will win the fight in your heart?”

The grandfather answered him:

“The one I feed.”


Native American Parable

A Real Friend

A “Real” Friend by Margery Williams
from The Velveteen Rabbit

“What is real?” asked the rabbit one day.
“Does it mean having things that buzz inside you,
and a stick out handle?”

“Real isn’t how you were made,” said the Skin Horse,
“it’s a thing that happens to you.

When a child loves you for a long time, not just to play with,
but really loves you,
then you become Real.
It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse.

“You become. It takes a long time…”

“Generally, by the time you are Real,
most of your hair has been rubbed off

and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints
and very shabby.
But these things don’t matter at all,
because once you are Real,
 you can’t be ugly,
except to people who don’t understand.”


My blessings to all those who are “Real”…
~ Theresa ~

Today’s Quote

Everything you see has its roots
in the unseen world.
The forms may change,
yet the essence remains the same.
Every wonderful sight will vanish,
every sweet word will fade,
but do not be disheartened,
the source they come from
is eternal, growing,
branching out,
giving new life and joy.
Why do you weep?
The source is within you
and this whole world
is springing up from it.

~ Rumi ~

Leaf by Leaf by Leaf

Leaf by Leaf by Leaf
by Joyce Rupp

Leaf by leaf by leaf
they tumble and fall:
all my haggard hurts.

like a cottonwood tree
ever so slowly letting go,
so the heartache of my heart.

there goes a bit of sadness,
now a leaf of anger flies;
then it’s the dropping of self-pity.

the leaf of unforgiveness
takes forever to fall,
almost as long as non-trusting.

leaf by leaf by leaf
they fall from my heart,
like a tree in its own time.

old wounds don’t heal quickly,
they drop in despairing slowness,
never looking at the clock.

it seems a forever process,
this healing of the hurt,
and I am none too patient.

but a day finally comes
when the old tree with no leaves
is decidedly ready for the new.

and in my waiting heart,
the branches with no leaves
have just a hint of green.