As people try to understand the death of Robin Williams, it is valuable to find a teaching that helps us all deal with many of the same issues in our lives.
This post is about moderation. Without becoming judgmental in any way, it is important to realize that we all must moderate our actions if we are to strike a balance with life’s experiences. Ultimately we can experience joy throughout our lives in such a way that every moment is precious.
It is difficult to consider moderation in our age of exuberance and super sizing. But, Zen teaches us about moderation and taking the middle path. This practice is life saving and ultimately a more joyful experience. Extremes take their toll in causing us pain and suffering in the long run. It is better to enjoy our lives and reduce suffering through wise choices and moderation.
Take a deep breath; then exhale and consider where you are, and wisely take your next best step.
Taking your own life or that of another living being is an extreme act, one of finality. Pain and suffering are part of life, an important element of our existence. As Sakini put it, “Pain makes man think, thought makes man wise, and wisdom makes life endurable.”
We don’t have to face suffering alone or take extreme measures to avoid it. Moderation allows for small adjustments that can overtime reduce suffering to a tolerable level.
Life can be taken in sips of both the joyful and the painful. This is our life to live, we should not throw it away, no matter how hard it may be…it is far too precious to everyone in our world.
Be blessed…bless yourself.
A few months ago, Mary asked Frank for a new painting in the living room. They decided to recreate a meaningful as well as decorative art work. They wanted to hang a piece that would influence future art production through a better understanding of the earliest art produced thousands of years ago. They decided on recreating a cave painting from the photos and information about the first art created by early artists. After building a custom wood panel, Frank applied heavy impasto coats of acrylic paint with a sponge to simulate a cave wall surface for this 30″ x 60″ painting.
Living in History
Now as Mary and Frank sit and discuss the day and future directions, they are blessed with a sense of the earliest art, and bring a bit of history forward in time.
We are like children building a sandcastle. We embellish it with beautiful shells, bits of driftwood, and pieces of coloured glass. The castle is ours, off-limits to others. Yet despite all our attachment, we know that the tide will inevitably come in and sweep the sandcastle away. The trick is to enjoy it fully but without clinging, and when the time comes, let it dissolve back into the sea.
We were blessed a few days ago with a message from a special contributor to arrive at a time we are all moving forward with our work for this year. We want to share the words she attached to her message…the words of Mother Teresa.
Frank’s brother Bill visited with Mother Teresa at her Home for the Dying in Calcutta and was blessed by her dedicated compassionate work. Here is the writing of Mother Teresa, in memory of her work of caring for those most in need:
People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered.
Love them anyway!
If you do good, people will accuse you
of selfish, ulterior motives.
Do good anyway!
If you are successful, you will win
false friends and enemies.
The good you do will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway!
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway!
What you spend years building may be
People really need help
but may attack you if you help them.
Help them anyway!
Give the world the best you have
and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway!
While Zen is often equated with tranquility, the fire of hard work is at the core of an effective practice. There is no better example of practicing Art and Zen in landscaping than the monumental accomplishment of Fujitaro Kubota and his sons Tak and Tom.
In 1927, Fujitaro purchased 5 acres of logged-off swamp land and began exercising his passion for gardening. Over the years, the garden grew into 20 acres of the most scenic landscaping imaginable. The Kubota family brought in huge boulders (over 400 tons of stone), creating water courses while planting the most magnificent plants and trees. In the middle of fulfilling his dream, Fujitaro and his family were forced into internment at Camp Minidoka in Idaho during World War II. Most men would have been discouraged by such treatment, but not the Kubota men. Fujitaro was driven by a passion to have his garden one day open to the public to improve American understanding of Japanese culture and worked until his death in 1973 at the age of 94 to fulfill his dream.
Now designated a historic landmark by the City of Seattle, it remains a hidden treasure, with few visitors, which helps support the tranquil atmosphere. The Kubota Garden is located very close to the Zen Monastery Frank supervised in construction. It was at the Kubota Garden that Frank inquired about finding a Zen landscape artist and was quickly referred to Terry Welch. And though it took nearly a year to make the connection, Terry taught Frank concepts in stone placement learned from masters in Japan. They artistically performed together in putting the finishing touches on the Zen Monastery construction, in sync with the first abbot Master Jian Hu.
If you ever find yourself in the Seattle area, this hidden treasure is worth the discovery. You will have a chance to peacefully connect more closely to life on this planet.