Friday, December 18, 2009

On Writing

Having the itch to write again...
An excerpt from an article of Lindasay Clarke about writing...
"Perhaps we should also be asking what values we imagine we are serving when we take up the difficult challenge of writing a novel.
Part of the answer must lie in the unprecedented quest for individuation that has gathered force as increasing numbers of people have felt the need for a greater degree of self-knowledge and self-determination. It’s through language that we strive to open a passage from feeling into meaning, and imaginative writing can offer a lively way to explore fresh perspectives on how we see the world and our place within it."

Sunday, December 6, 2009


It's second Sunday of Advent.Advent is a time of prayer and reflection about Christ's incarnation.We have the Advent wreath with 4 candles. One candle is lighted each Sunday-"a sign of the approach of the birth of the Light of the World."
The photo is the painting-St. Francis in meditation -by Francisco de Zurbaran

Thursday, November 19, 2009


"Generosity,Dana, is one of the paramitas, or transcendent actions...The aim is not to try and achieve perfection, therefore it is better to see paramitas in terms of transcendence-as going beyond...Generosity means not possessing.One can practice generosity toward oneself,because the point here is to free oneself from (this) possessiveness, this continual wanting...Then, of course, the next step is to giveaway one's possessions... It does not mean that you should not own anything at all or that you should give away what you have immediately... It isn't a question of not seeing the value of possessions, the point is that it should be equally easy to give them away...It is... giving up this concept of possession.For there is a hunger in action."

...from this foundation- one develops "a noble heart, a compassionate heart"... "It does not refer to kindness alone, but to fundamental compassion, selfless compassion".

"...with giving things away, no matter how small a thing in terms of value, one must be fully involved in the giving so that a part of one's ego is also given away. Through that one reaches the paramita, the transcendental act, which is something beyond... Then one is not conscious of 'virtue' and giving away things in an effort to be 'religious', and one is not conscious of receiving any particular reward of good merit."
-Extracted from Meditation in Action by Chogyam Trungpa

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Food for Thought

Food for Thought

"I found television very educational. Every time someone switches it on, I go into another room and read a good book."- Groucho Marx

I found 2 written on the t-shirts:
Find your Nietzsche in life-STUDY PHILOSOPHY and
Waitng for Bordeaux.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Zen Buddhism

What are the concerns of a Zen student?
Robert Aiken, author of the book "Taking the Path of Zen", he wrote- first, being alive is an important responsibility;second,we have little time to fulfill that responsibility; and third,rigorous practice is necessary for fulfillment.". He wrote further:"Delusions and attachments consisting of sel-centered and conceptual thinking obscure the living fact. The Zen path is devoted to clearing away these obstructions and seeing into true nature....Zen is originates in the mind.It is not intellectual,but involves realization,the purest gnosis of 'just this' ".

Sunday, November 8, 2009


I just finished reading John Hersey's A Single Pebble.One of the passages I underlined-...almost perfect concord between perception and action.What could be more civilized than that harmony?-
The short novel was a tender, simple story of self-discovery of the engineer in the story.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Keys to Creativity

I am reading Hugh MacLeod's book- Ignore Everybody and 39 other Keys to Creativity.Number 2 key-The idea doesn't have to be big. It just has to be yours.He writes-"It was so liberating to be doing something that didn't have to impress anybody, for a change. It was so liberating to be free of ambition for a change."
Number 3 key-Put the hours in. He writes-"Doing anything worthwhile takes forever. Ninety percent of what separates successful people and failed people is time, effort, and stamina."

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Listening to the song

I was listening to Lara Fabian in the radio sings Yeliel, My Angel. the lyrics:
Yeliel, My Angel
Just like the sea, no one possesses you
And no one can go down to the deepest side of you
Just like a tree, decades and memories
Articulate and seal everyone of your dreams

When I need you, I secretly sing you this part of my soul

Yeliel, my angel, know that I can hear you
And every word you speak is holy wind caressing me
Yeliel, my angel, know that I can see you
And when I fall, I feel your arms around my destiny protecting me

I do believe some things are mysteries
The simple fact that we stand alive and we breathe
Why do I love? Why do I hate and die?
Where do these things all lie? I don't know why I cry

When I need you, I secretly sing you this part of my soul

Yeliel, my angel, know that I can hear you
And every word you speak is holy wind caressing me
Yeliel, my angel, know that I can see you
When I fall, I feel your arms around my destiny, protecting me
Yeliel, you are protecting me

Why do I love? Why do I hate and die?
Where do these things all lie? I don't know why I cry

When I need you I secretly sing you this part of my soul

Yeliel, my angel, know that I can hear you
And every word you speak is holy wind caressing me
Yeliel, my angel, know that I can see you
And when I fall, I feel your arms around my destiny

Yeliel, my angel, know that I can hear you
And every word you speak is holy wind caressing me
Yeliel, my angel, know that I can see you
And when I fall, I feel your arms around my destiny, protecting

Yeliel, my angel, know that I can feel you
And every word you speak is holy wind caressing me
Yeliel, my angel, know that I can see you
And when I fall, I feel your arms around my destiny

Inner Contentment

Dalai Lama writes in the Leader's Way-"The root of happinessis is not in what we desire or what we get but somewhere altogether different. It stems from a place of inner contentment that exists no matter what we gain or achieve."

He writes also-"The essence of Buddhism can be summed up in the two concepts of Right View and Right Conduct."
and..."the greatest treasure humans can have is self-confidence."
also-"the purpose of training the mind is to be able to be calm, collected, and concentrated in all circumstances."

Friday, October 16, 2009


On our way to St. George,Utah to attend the World Senior Games, we drove through the Virgin River Gorge. The landscape is vast varied colorful rocky mountains.
I could feel the presence of something powerful and kind.

"What is it that confers the noblest delight? What is that which swells a man's breast with pride above that which any experience can bring to him? Discovery! To know that you are walking where none others have walked; that you are beholding that human eye has not seen before; that you are breathing a virgin atmosphere. To give birth to an idea-to discover a great thought-an intellectual nugget, right under the dust of a field that many a brain-plow had gone over before...To be first-that's the idea. To do something,say something, see something before anybody else-these are the things that confer a pleasure compared with which other pleasures are tame and commonplace...These are the men who have really lived-who have actually comprehended what pleasure is-who have crowded long lifetimes of ecstasy into a single moment."-Mark Twain, Innocents Abroad (1869)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


"Work is an extension of personality. It's an achievement" "...The effective people I know, simply dicipline themselves to have enough time for thinking".-Peter Drucker
Drucker advises people to live a multidimensional life.Use your knowledge and skills to develop interest in other areas. His challenge- "What to do with second half of one's life?"

Monday, September 28, 2009


From Brother Karamazov..."If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love."

Friday, September 25, 2009


It becomes very clear to me that sitting for prolonged periods of time contributes to osteoarthritis. It is my personal experience. Getting up and walking for a few minutes relieves the joint stagnation. For those who works in sitting position the whole day,it's necessary to limber up and exercise your legs and knees probably every half hour.
Walking is the easiest and very practical way of circulating the joint fluids in the knees.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A rose

"Every rose is the reflection of a smile or a kind word, and every thorn the result of an unkind word or action."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Being a warrior

In the book Shambala, Chogyam Trungpa defines a warrior- "one who is brave." He writes that the first principle "is not being afraid of who you are." He writes. "in the face of the world's great problems,we can be heroic and kind at the same time."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Beautiful Day

We attended a wedding in Thousand Oaks, California in an outdoor setting replete with fountains, running water, palm trees, flowers and a lake.


It's refreshing to walk through the painting collection at the Getty Art Center.
The painting is titled Mischief and Repose by John William Godward.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Monterey Aquarium

My wife and I and a friend went to the Monterey Aquarium last week. The sea horses exhibit was wonderful.
I did not realize that the male sea horses become preganant and deliver the baby sea horses. One learns something every day.
The jelly fish exhibit shows the jelly fish's subtle beauty.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Point of Solitude

"The point of passing time in solitude is to strip yourself bare, to discover what is essential and true. When you're stripped down to this point, you see how little you amount to. But that little is all that God is interested in. He doesn't give a damn about the rest." (taken from the Music of Silence by Phyllis Rose, an essay written in Atlantic Monthly, 1997)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Walk with a View

We were in Bandon by the Sea ( Oregon ) to celebrate the lowest tide last week.To see the living things ( sea anemone, starfish and shellfish) below and above the water line before and after the tides is wonderful. Walking on the suddenly vast sandy beach and circle the huge boulders is an enjoyable experience. I started to understand the solitude of some people who sojourned on an island and looked at the ocean every day. The feel of the sand, the sound of waves touching the shore and seeing the boulders and rock formations are enough solace for the soul.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


I'm reading again Thoreau's Walden and a little more closely than before.
It's a call from the wilderness-Simplify, simplify. My struggle is to do just that.
But I'm able to write a little bit again. My poem:
The out-of-season rain had stopped.
A morning of wet roads and dense traffic,
A meditation on economic disarray.
Monday was not an ordinary day
Waking after a deep sleep.

You were in a hurry, seemingly
Uncaring, your eyes darting
From the cup of coffee
And half eaten cinnamon rolls
To the darkening clouds outside.

You wondered what the place of man
In the universe, the meaning of existence
“In 140 characters or less” on cyberspace.
The TV news was real and significant
The swine flu had arrived.

There was no solace in covered faces
In unrecognizable worried faces
In a quantum world of possibilities.
What if the pandemic was of affection
Would you say goodbye and kiss me?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lucid Mind

I'm attending a class in creative writing. I'm trying to write poetry again.
(photo is one of Getty Images)
“We play for blood,”
Said the group of women in their nineties
Who play contract bridge every Thursday
“It’s what keep us going.”
They preserve their mental sharpness
For odds and strategy
In a long mental embrace.

You can be the woman
Descending on a staircase
Listening to Mendelssohn’s concerto in violin
Walking towards the kitchen
To cook lemon-ginger scented shrimps.

But a mind can loiter
gather driftwoods, throwaways
and build a bonfire on the beach
Or carve a bird,
A koala bear.

You can hike the mountains
Engage your mind in colors,
Voices and movements in the thicket
Or scour under logs, mounds of leaves
For mushrooms, net of fibers
Remembering the shapes and looks
Of Amanitas.

“Choose a morning when the lights are soft”
Tour the cathedral at Chartres
Or study any cathedral spires
Your medieval eye
Learning its story and sentiment.

You are a Zen woman
Who goes to the village every day
Stepping on slippery stones
Eyes ,unblinking
To cross the stream through the forest
Where the tiger waits.

eac 60809

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


You talked of continuity
The lingering finish of pinot noir
An old vintage you said.
The roots grew on the hillsides
Concentrated effort, a struggle
For a deeper purple of small fruits.

You talked about terroir, chemistry, gravitation
Awareness of what is there
Delights of what they hold
Like the bridge you have to cross
To the temple
Concealed in the mist.

The wind chimes shivered
Crisp December night inviting
A long cuddle, filled glasses,
Brie de Meaux and baguette
That make the seasons
And what a night should be.

Sunday, May 31, 2009


For Catholics today is the feast day of Pentecost.
I have taken the artcile below from The Online Guide to St. Benedict:
The fiftieth day
The name “Pentecost” comes from the Greek word meaning “fiftieth.” Like Easter, it is tied to a Jewish feast. 49 days (7 weeks, or “a week of weeks”) after the second day of Passover, the Jews celebrated the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot).
Passover celebrates the freeing of the Jews from slavery; Shavuot celebrates their becoming God’s holy people by the gift and acceptance of the Law; and the counting of the days to Shavuot symbolises their yearning for the Law.
From a strictly practical point of view, Shavuot was a very good time for the Holy Spirit to come down and inspire the Apostles to preach to all nations because, being a pilgrimage festival, it was an occasion when Jerusalem was filled with pilgrims from many countries.
Symbolically, the parallel with the Jews is exact. We are freed from the slavery of death and sin by Easter; with the Apostles, we spend some time as toddlers under the tutelage of the risen Jesus; and when he has left, the Spirit comes down on us and we become a Church.
(The photo which is a pinting-St. Francis in meditation is by Francisco de Zurbaran)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Chartres Cathedral

While reading Henry Adams's Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres I realized how rich is the history of the shrines.
I'm enjoying the learning of Henry Adams.
I may have to re-read his Education.
Photo is from the Encyclopedia Britannica

Thursday, May 14, 2009


I gave away the book once and found another copy last week from our Friends of the Library book sale, Henry Adams's Mont-Saint-Michel & Chartres. I saw a documentary about the monastery several months ago and read someone's blog about it and stirred my interest in reading the book.

I started reading it last night. ( the photo is taken from the internet)

Monday, April 13, 2009

After Lent

It is not unusual to give up something during lent. It could a simple form of sacrifice like giving up snakcs or chocolate for 40 days.
Lent is now over. This might the best time rather than during lent to commit myself to self-discipline.
I could be an empty bench and a dry fountain. I should eliminate distraction and trivial matters and look upward to higher things. Things that matters.
Health is one place to start. Improve fitness and be consistent. Eat healthy foods and in moderation.
Don't procrastinate on any promises.
Meditation to contemplation. God waits but why I should not I be on time?
"Make things simple but not any simpler."

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Deep Point

Frank Wilczek, a Nobel Prize winner, physicist, related that when he was about to begin teaching in Princeton, he consulted a friend and mentor who showed him a “ well-worn paperback manual" that was allegedly used to teach "navy recruits to set up and use radio communications.” His mentor told him to look at the first chapter, titled “Ohm’s Three Laws”. Frank Wilczek said that he was “familiar with one Ohm’s law, the famous relation V=IR
that connects voltage(V) , current (I), and resistance ( R ) in an electric circuit.” That was Ohm's first law. He was curious to find the other 2 laws and he turned over the pages and discovered that the second law is I=V/R and of course the third law is R=V/I.
Obviously the “three laws are all equivalent to each other and the story becomes a joke.” What’s the point? There is a deep point to this story. There is a shallow point which he said his mentor wants him to absorb-“When teaching beginners, you should try to say the same things several times in slightly different ways. “Connections that experts understand easily may not be obvious to beginners. What’s the deeper point? “The deep point connects with a statement made by the great theoretical physicist Paul Dirac. When asked how he discovered the new laws of nature, Dirac responded, ‘I play with equations.’ The deep point is that different ways of writing the same equation can suggest very different things, even if they are logically equivalent.”( taken from the book, The Lightness of Being by Frank Wilczek)

I am student of photography and I'm trying to learn from the expert photographer the art and science of taking beautiful pictures. Angles and perspectives of the same objects or composition- a matter of repetition, analysis and reflection-my ways of learning.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Just Work Harder

More quotations from The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
He wrote: "Too many people go through life complaining about their problems.I've always believed thatif you took one tenth the energy youput into complaining and applied it into solving the problem, you'd be surprised by how well things will work out...Complaining does not work as a strategy. We all have finite time and energy. Any time we spend whining is unlikely to help us achieve our goal. And it won't make us happier."

When the top snow ball falls and breaks make another one and put it on the top. Persistence helps you reach your goal. One by one the snow ball on top of each other will reach the sky.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Dream Big

I borrowed the book, The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, from the library a few days ago. I saw the video of his talk before also of the same title but the book is more complete. His parting advice on dreaming big..."I'm a scientist who sees inspirationas the ultimate tool for doing good...Give yourself permission to dream. Fuel your kids' dreams too.Once in a while, that might mean letting them stay up past their bedtimes."

Even at my age I get inspired by other people.I have new dreams too and spend time to realize them. o, yes, I stay up past my bedtime sometimes because of it.

Sunday, March 8, 2009


Cheri surprised me last Friday by taking me to Fort Mason in San Francisco to see the Pacific Orchid Exhibition.

The orchids come in a variety of species and colors- the cattleya, sophorinitis,phlaenopsis,dendrobiums,cymbidiums,masdevallia,miltoniopsis,paphiopedilium, vanda relatives and the hybrids.

I was swimming in a sea of colors and beauty- a relaxing, exciting experience reliving my memories of my mother watering her orchids around the house and the hikes I had when I was in my teens and finding the orchids that hung from the tree branches.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

2 days ago I walked from our condo to Kennedy Park-a walk over the bridge to the path towards the river.
On top of the bridge I took this photo of Napa River at high tide.
The tides are from the pull of the moon and its distance from the sun. It is one of the splendid simple physical laws-effect of gravity.
Throughout Lent I am renewing or learning the discipline of listening and reflection.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday

Today begins the 40 days of Lent. It is a time for reflection about life and our relation with God.It is a good time for renewal of discipline and simplicity in everything we do.

By now,I know that a good life and happiness is not about accumulation and domination. Happiness is about virtue-purity of heart in all our affairs and intentions.

I should not look at the lenght of 40 days in terms of time. I should consider it a challenge. After all virtue is a sister of patience.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Chinese New Year

I did not realize it had been 2 months since my last blog. I'll make amends by writing more often.

Invited by very good friends Cheri & I spent 2 days in SF with them,watched the Chinese New Year parade and following day went to Golden Gate Fields for the races.

We learned a little bit about the Chinese tradition in celebrating the new year.
Our grandchildren who were with us Saturday enjoyed the fireworks and the parade. We did too.

We did not win in the races. We were with friends which was mor important than winning.