Tag Archives: blogs

buddhist carnival: april 2009, poetry month

chaos in kanjithe 15th, buddhist carnival time. it’s april, poetry month, so i’ll post only poems and poetry-related articles.

from last month’s montreal zen poetry festival

i longed to visit the eastern cliff
countless years until today
i finally grabbed a vine and climbed
but halfway there met mist and wind
the trail was too narrow for clothes
the moss too slick for shoes
i stopped beneath this cinnamon tree
and slept with a cloud for a pillow

— han shan (translated by red pine)

if you have time …

from danny fisher’s blog

if you have time to chatter
read books
if you have time to read
walk into mountain, desert and ocean
if you have time to walk
sing songs and dance
if you have time to dance
sit quietly, you happy lucky idiot

— nanao sakai

the role of poetry in zen and meditation

zen mirror has an interview with zen master sÅ­ngsan about the role poetry plays in meditation practice as well as in teaching and conveying zen mind to the western world.

dc: thank you very much for all your wonderful gifts! that’s a very good answer. i was wondering about when you compose a poem, do you actually reflect on the situation and then write using “beautiful language?”

zmss: no. only whatever situation comes up or appears, then i will compose a poem. not so much checking situations, and not so much making something.

go here for the restof the interview.

buddhism.about.com posted a nice piece about haiku, with a few good examples, for instance

from the nostril
of the great buddha
comes a swallow

haiku database
and while we’re on the topic of haiku, i found this treasure of haiku related info – for example a whole section on the “season words” that are an important part of traditional haiku, or a whole section on the moon in haiku, this one, for example

calligraphy of geese
against the sky —
the moon seals it.

(not directly buddhist perhaps, but i just had to tell you about this great find!)

breaking haiku rules

on dragoncave, some musings on haiku rules. here is a haiku by issa, one of his best-known buddhist pieces:

this world of dew
is just a world of dew”
and yet . . . oh and yet . . .

inmensity taps at your life
poetry chaikhana is a blog about spiritual poetry from all over the world. here is a poem by jane hirshfield, who is described as a secular or eclectic buddhist


it is foolish
to let a young redwood
grow next to a house.
even in this
one lifetime,
you will have to choose.
that great calm being,
this clutter of soup pots and books –
already the first branch-tips brush at the window.
softly, calmly, immensity taps at your life.

i noticed …

and finally, allan ginsberg’s beautiful poem on the cremation of chögyam trungpa

i noticed the grass, i noticed the hills, i noticed the highways,
i noticed the dirt road; i noticed the car rows in the parking lot
i noticed the ticket takers, noticed the cash and the checks and credit cards,
i noticed the buses, noticed mourners, i noticed their children in red dresses,
i noticed the entrance sign, noticed retreat houses, noticed blue and yellow flags
noticed the devotees, their trucks and buses, guards in khaki uniforms,
i noticed the crowds, noticed misty skies, noticed the all -pervading smiles and empty eyes –
i noticed the pillows, coloured red and yellow, square pillows round and round –
i noticed the tori gate, passers-through bowing, a parade of men & women in formal dress –
noticed the procession, noticed the bagpipe, drums, horns, noticed high silk head crowns and saffron robes, noticed the three piece suits,
i noticed the palanquin, an umbrella, the stupa painted with jewels the colours of the four directions –
amber for generosity, green for karmic works, i noticed the white for buddha, red for the heart –
thirteen worlds on the stupa hat, noticed the bell handle and umbrella, the empty head of the white cement bell – noticed the corpse to be set in the head of the bell –
noticed the monks chanting, horn plaint in our ears, smoke rising from astep the firebrick empty bells –
noticed the crowds quiet, noticed the chilean poet, noticed a rainbow,
i noticed the guru was dead —

go here for the rest.

have a buddhist blog?  want to be featured here next month?  drop me a line.

the calligraphy here spells “chaos” and was done by ~C4Chaos

thoughts, blogs, and not much to say

another paid review! haven’t done one of them for a while. let’s just make this a bit of a wild, woolly and completely inconsequential romp.

so i’m supposed to review thoughts.com. this is what they say about themselves:

thoughts.com is a unique site with interesting conversations and sometimes heated debates. membership is 100% free and the most popular features are the free blogs and active discussion forums. all free blogs accounts come with unlimited bandwidth for posting blogs, uploading photos, videos and creating polls. thoughts.com is a community site so you are able to meet new people and make likeminded friends. there is a very supportive group of people blogging on thoughts and the community has a strong and intimate bond not seen in most areas of the web.

maybe something like myspace? no? ning? no? bebo? no? well, you can check it out for yourself if you want to. i looked around a bit and ended up watching a video about a magazine for plus size women (like me), and that led me to this runway diva blog by sharon quinn which has some nice pictures of good looking chicks in expensive clothes – but never mind that because then i came across this yummy looking guy here, katt williams – but you know how it goes? first i thought wellwellWELL!!! but the more often i looked at him the less interesting he seemed. is that because i’m getting old?

katt williams, by the way, is nowhere to be seen on thoughts.com. back to the runway diva then. ol’ katt, unfortunately, keeps on looking less and less appealing. darn.

our friend the runway diva has another blog where she dishes out advice and, in preparation for my next career, i checked out 7 deadly sins for plus-sized models. bad posture and low self esteem go together in her advice bag and are to be avoided. hm. i like to slump. i LOVE to slump, actually. you can often find me draped semi-horizontally in a chair. does that mean i have bad self esteem? i dunno – maybe what happened is that when they did the class on “body language for good girls” i was sick, or busy reading a detective novel, or something. i have all kinds of unladylike behaviours like a way-too-strong handshake, a penchant for trench coats, and a habit of taking up space like a guy. and i used to walk extremely fast with a huge stride, preferably wearing riding boots. (and yes, i HAVE smoked cigars).

now i feel self-conscious for talking so much about myself. hah! that’s feminine, finally, isn’t it? but does it also mean bad self esteem? maybe i won’t make it as a model …

okay, one last try at finding something at thoughts.com. there must be some thoughts there! i have already demonstrated in this post that i have none to speak of myself, so come on, thoughts.com, you gotta help me out here!

here, after quite a while of looking about, is something that’s kinda nice

for thirty-five years i have fought the pain in my back. for many of those years i was on pain killers, but not for a couple of years now. and it is excruciating. don’t feel bad for me. i am confessing how incredibly stupid i am. my daughter inherited my back condition. and after thirty-five years, because of HER pain, i have tracked down some pain specialists for US. a friend asked me about five years ago why i wasn’t in a more aggressive program for this pain that increases year-by-year. i said, “probably because i am not married. i just don’t do that stuff for myself.” but i was wrong. i just needed for someone i loved to need help and i tracked it down in a snap. “but, john, don’t you love yourself?” um … not to where i hold my own hand or feel all special about myself. “well, why not?” um … i dunno. maybe i’m not my type. anyway, my angel and i will be in specialized help soon.

and that, ladies and gentlepeople, is my review of thoughts.com.

simplicity and the internet

as someone with a strong buddhist influence, i often think about simplicity, and make tiny, cautious steps towards it. my baroque mind finds this rather ridiculous because life is most fun and exciting when there are lots and lots of decorations and curlicues, when there is boundless abundance and variations upon variations on themes upon themes, n’est-ce-pas?

and still.

some weeks ago, we held a garage sale. the items we sold were spread out on the lawn. there were more possessions than a poor family in haiti ever has – yet so little was missing from our house that no-one noticed a thing.

this left quite an impression on me. ever since then i try to get rid of at least one thing every day, and have tried not to buy too much.

that’s my material life. then there’s other aspects of my life. i know so many people, and i don’t feel i do them justice. they give me their friendship and i only have so much time and energy to reciprocate (or let’s say i think i only have so much time; i truly don’t know whether this is an accurate assessment).

and then there is the internet. sooooo many interesting people. soooooo many interesting words, thoughts, images, so much fascinating music, so many games to play! for all intents and purposes, or, let’s be precise, for the intents and purposes of this person with this mind, the internet is endless, fathomless.

now what?

i’d like to find a way to honour all the good people on the internet that i come across while at the same time moving closer to the principle of simplicity. i’d like to do this with love, with an open heart, in fluidity and organically.

have you found a way?

i’m asking this question, among others, of the buddhist bloggers that buddhist chaplain andy fisher took the trouble the other day to list. here you are. thanks, andy!

in honour of the paralympics: some disability links

in honour of the paralympics, i thought i’d share with you some of my disability related links in stumbleupon. here they are:

the people at profy have an article about social networking for the hearing impaired.

tagdeaf is one community that is open to everyone, from deaf to hearing, though it focuses on the deaf and hearing impaired. it offers few special features, concentrating instead on the social aspects of networking and making new friends, with a few extras like photo sharing. other social sites for the deaf, deaf and hearing impaired communities include deafhello, deafpassions (a deaf dating service) and VEESEE (a community based in the uk), to name a few.

even mainstream sites have gotten in on the act. facebook, for example, has one of the largest growing deaf communities of any existing social network site.

ableist language alternatives

iris: a gaming network is a discussion board that seeks to subvert the status quo in gaming in attempt to find ways to rid the gaming industry of it’s strong racist/homophobic/sexist/ableist biases with a particular focus on feminist concerns. in my travels there, i noticed this discussion. it offers some alternatives to ableist or otherwise bigoted language, with some interesting discussion on regional variation following. i’ve appended the list of alternative slurs for your reference. for more on ableist language, check out this recent post from feminist philosophers. in both places, the discussion around language seems to get people quite excited.

buddhists: disability and karma

the recent chatter about whether a person born disabled is being punished for bad karma in their last life pisses me off. not for the reason you might suspect (that i’m angry infants are being, in effect, blamed for their disabilities), but because i don’t think of my disability as a bad thing. [for the record, i became disabled at 7 months old with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis that has not gone away and has left me unable to work.] i’ll state it again, clearer: i’ve found that my disability has had more of a positive than a negative effect on my life.

fellow vancouverite (ok, surrey-ite) glenda has 5 tips on how to make blogs accessible to people with disabilities. here is an example:

bloggers are inundated with spam comments. captchas – completely automated public turing test to tell computers and humans apart – are frequently used to weed out spambot comments from human comments.

however, because captchas are typically images of distorted characters, this information is not accessible to screen readers, leaving people who are blind unable to post a comment. as darrell shandrow, a screen reader user, said visual captchas are “no blind people allowed” signs.

another blogger friend of mine, nickie, who lives a little further down on the west coast (washington, right, nickie?) asks a very interesting question: what does my pain need?  it is a beautiful reflection on living with chronic pain.

my pain needs soft clothing, warmth, soft blankets, strategically placed pillows. it needs scents, aromatherapy which lifts the mood and calms the spirit or relieves pain, it needs warm baths, gentle hands, sitting in silence when the burden is too much to bare.

and while we’re in the neighbourhood, superblogger chris pirillo introduces us to earl, a geek from canada. he live streams. and he has cerebral palsy.

how’s your news is an amazing project – talk about alternative news. reporters swarm small and big places and report it … nothing special, huh? well, all these reporters have serious disabilities. see the world from their perspective!

i guess famous people with disabilities is something the guys’n’gals from how’s your news could cover. in the meantime, the people from disabled world have done it.

and to top it all off with a bang, a great post by another one of my blogging friends, disability, transgender activist, writer and publisher jay sennet: there are no rules.  this is so cool! jay posts an image and then describes it for any seeing-impaired people who might be reading his blog. and of course it also helps understand the image better.