Saltwater Buddha: A Surfer’s Quest to Find Zen on the Sea, by Jaimal Yogis

September 16, 2009

Saltwater BuddhaThe siren song of the sea calls surfers away from school, jobs, family, and in Jaimal Yogis’s case, even a monastery. But for this surfer, bobbing on waves might be the best place to practice Zen.

If you’re wondering what in blue blazes has surfing got to do with Zen, don’t worry–Yogis clears it up in the book’s introduction. He cites a teaching in Shunryu Suzuki’s Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind as his “all-time favorite Zen-surfing quote:

…I like to think he [Suzuki] had surfers in mind when comparing thought waves to ocean waves. He said, ‘Even though waves arise, the essence of mind is pure… Waves are the practice of water. To speak of waves

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

August 31, 2009

Climbing a cliffSome years ago, two friends took me rock-climbing in Colorado. I’d only ever climbed with ropes once before, and that had been many years earlier, so really I was a complete beginner. And nervous.

I found myself suspended half-way up a cliff, in a state of anxiety, with my friends shouting encouragement from below. My breathing was tight, my heart was pounding, and my limbs felt weak and shaky, but I didn’t have time to think much about that. I was holding on to a narrow ledge that ran horizontally across the rock face — really it was more like a crease. The toes of my climbing shoes were precariously holding on to a couple … Read more »

G.K. Chesterton: “The true object of all human life is play.”

July 27, 2009

GK ChestertonThe bodhisattva moves through life elegantly, “in the zone” and in a state of playful “flow,” and he can do this because he has abandoned any clinging to the idea of self. “Let go of your sense of self; you have nothing to lose but your suffering,” Bodhipaksa tells us.

I think Chesterton was absolutely right when he said that the object of life is play. The best kind of life we can live, I believe, is one in which we love, laugh, and learn: one in which we can be serious without being down, and can laugh irreverently at life’s difficulties without being facetious or trivializing them.

One problem is that we sometimes get … Read more »

Bid for freedom

November 24, 2008

Andrew BlackIs it possible to combine spiritual practice with professional poker, to remain detached and equanimous in the midst of a game full of bluffing, where the aim is to take away other people’s money? In 2005 Vishvapani talked this over with Andrew Black, one of the world’s finest poker players — and a devout Buddhist.

The World Series of Poker at Binions Casino in Las Vegas is down to its last five players. After eleven days at the table, little sleep, and ferocious competition, they are the last survivors of the five thousand people who each paid $10,000 to enter this no-limit hold ’em tournament. The winner will walk away with $7.5 million.

Behind designer … Read more »

Olympic torch relay marked by protests

April 10, 2008

Dalai LamaWorld attention continues to be focused on human rights abuses in Tibet. The relay of the Olympic torch from Greece to China has been marked by protests in London and Paris. An estimated 10,000 protesters gathered in San Francisco, although the protests may have been subdued by the rerouting of the torch relay at the last minute, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Despite the ongoing protests, the Assembly of National Olympic Committees issues only a watered down statement, expressing confidence that China would strive to find through dialog and understanding a “fair and reasonable solution” to “the internal conflict”, The Hindu News Update Service reported. Although this was clearly a reference to Tibet, the word … Read more »

Protests against Chinese rule continue in Tibet

March 17, 2008

Policeman beats monk in Tibet protestsLast week in Lhasa, Tibet, monks and nuns started peaceful marches to show support for Tibetan independence and demand the release of monks who had been detained as they celebrated the Dalai Lama’s receipt of the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal, CNN reports. Police responded by blocking some marches, firing tear gas into others, sealing off monasteries, and arresting monks and students who joined the protests.

The protesters had been largely peaceful until Friday, when monks attempted to march to the capital, rights groups said. When Chinese police blocked them, laypeople joined the protest and began lashing out at Chinese authorities.

Ethnic Tibetans then turned their anger to shops, market stalls and vehicles owned by … Read more »

Unrest as Tibetan protests spread

March 12, 2008

Protesting TibetanA number of protests by Tibetans and Tibetan sympathizers have led to conflicts with authorities in Tibet and India.

A hundred Tibetan exiles on a six-month protest march to their homeland defied the Indian government’s orders to halt Tuesday, and could be headed for a conflict with the local police. The protestors have been marching from Dharamsala, the headquarters of the exiled Dalai Lama, to protest the continuing Chinese occupation of their homeland. They had planned to arrive at the Tibetan border in August, just before the Beijing Olympics begin.

The Indian authorities have forbidden the marchers from leaving Kangra District, in which Dharamsala lies, but the marchers have vowed to continue towards Tibet. The … Read more »