Monday, October 31, 2005

Report from Bhutan

Sunday Eric reported on his recent trip to Bhutan, a tiny country between India and China, which is predominantly Buddhist. There is an enlightened monarch there who is democratizing the country. Eric was struck by the friendliness of the people, their warmth and ease. He was most surprised by the children, who readily came up to him and wanted to play. The average annual income is about $800, yet the people are contented with their simple lives. The recent introduction of cell phones, cable TV and tourists will present challenges for the culture, which has lived a very simple agricultural life. We may all reflect on the question of what the inescapable affordances of our contemporary society have added to our quality of life. The Bhutanese government is guided by a "gross national happiness" index, rather than a gross national product index. Could we be looking at our lives in all the wrong ways? We had tea in the garden at Texas French Bread and chatted casually, far from television, cell phones, and computers. Gradually the overcast skies cleared and the sun warmed the deep Texas sky. It was a lovely morning.

Monday, October 24, 2005


Which one is the true Pumpkin? Which one has more pumpkin nature? How can they find their pumpkin-ness? What practice will help them realize they are pumpkin? How much effort, how many years, how much money will it cost to discover they are pumpkins? What books should they read? What teachers should they follow? How far must they travel to keep hearing, over and over and over again, you are already pumpkins? What techniques should they try? Are they different, or the same? Maybe they should...what?

Being and becoming

Today the state of Texas granted our non-profit corporation status. This will provide a way for contributions to the Ordinary Mind group to be tax-deductible. It is strange to become a corporation, such a small, informal group compared to what we ordinarily think of as a corporation, even as a non-profit: the Red Cross, the Catholic Church, Doctors without Borders. Basically, though, it means that we all have some ongoing responsibilities to continue to share the dharma and to provide regular opportunities for zazen, service, and discussion. I'm glad we have made this commitment, and it is great that we have a dedicated space to help support the folks who come and sit with us. Let's keep sitting together and working together to bring this ancient practice to life here, in this place, in this time, with these people. It is such a profound joy.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Ordinary Mind Zendo

Ordinary Mind Zendo
Originally uploaded by Jiki Syverson.

Here are some new photos of the Ordinary Mind Zendo. We are still in the process of supplying meditation cushions for the Zendo. If you have your own cushions, you are welcome to bring them when you join us for zazen.