Monday Morning Blues; Ballad of the Absent Mare



This isn’t my favorite Leonard Cohen song, but if the ratio of Leonard Cohen fans who read this blog happens to overlap the ratio of Zennies, some of you may know why I’m choosing it today.


If not, I’ll just say that this is the beginning of a two-week journey in search of an ox…

on break…


Nothing too serious, but I was in the passenger’s seat of a car that was rear-ended the other night, and already having scoliosis, my spine isn’t feeling the greatest (trying to sit straight and meditate felt like I had breast-implants on my shoulders!).

The thing about being in a car accident in Korea is that it’s almost like winning a small lottery, immediately EunBong’s father was calling saying how much money I can get if I spend three days in the hospital. Being a taxi driver, he knows! Even if I get some cash out of it, I’d rather not have the bother at all, but I do need some treatment, so I’m heading to the “taxi driver hospital” for two or three days of acupressure and massage. Shouldn’t be too bad, really, but it’ll be strange being away from EunBong and Fina for the first time.

Next week is also my vacation, so I’ll we’ll be gone for a few days once I get out, so I won’t be around computers much over the next week and a half.

Hope everyone else stays out of harm’s way!




”The source of sorrow is the pride of saying ”I”
fostered and increased by false belief in self.
To this you may say that there’s redress,
But meditation on no-self will be the supreme way.”


A few weeks ago, Fina picked up a mirror, gave it a good look, then pointed to her face in the mirror, and yelled, “Fee!”

As exciting as it was to see her identify herself by name for the first time, a part of me sank, knowing how much difficulty will come along with it. I felt almost as if I’d failed her in some way, even though I realized, realistically, there’s no other way.

teaching Fina “letting go”


A few months ago, Chong Go Sunim presented me with the idea (challenge) of teaching Fina “letting go,” an important theme throughout Seon Master Daehaeng’s teachings.

I think my mouth said something like, “Yeah, good idea,” but my mind was going, “Yeah, right! I’m not even good at letting go!” But in the end, that’s half the point. The best way to teach a baby to let go is to do it yourself and let the baby pick up on that.

After trying several times, when Fina would grab something, to try to emit a sense of, “I don’t want that…” I wasn’t sure how far I was getting. Then one day Fina spotted a big, stuffed Pororo (her favorite Korean character) doll in the toy section and squeezed it tight her arms, swinging back and forth, excitedly shouting, “Pololo! Pololo! Pololo!” (She learned Pororo’s name about two months before she learned to say “Papa”, even if she couldn’t quite get the r’s).

At first, I thought, “Well, we haven’t bought her too many toys, she’ll really enjoy this one”, then I saw the $70 price tag and almost choked. I had a feeling that mentally mimicking “let it go” wasn’t going to cut this one, and was in no mood for a baby-breakdown, then I thought of something different.

Fina was getting used to saying “Hi” when we say people we knew, but she was even better at saying “Bye!” so I tried it. I encouraged her to give the doll a kiss on the cheek, then waved to it and said, “Byyye~”

Just like that, Fina waved with one little hand, said bye to Pororo and carefully put him back on the pile of other Pororos.

Woo hoo! I’d never bothered keeping score with Fina, it would’ve been too humiliating! but score 1 for Papa anyway!

Monday Morning Blues; Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby


Louis Jordan • Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby

There’s a long list of similarities between practicing Buddhism and practicing parenthood.

Among the first would be that you can talk and read all you want, but when it comes to doing it, it’s a whole other story!

For the sake of context to this week’s song, one of the psychologically difficult I’ve been dealing with is one minute having Fina being all hugs and kisses and “Papa! Papa! Papa!” then not wanting me near her the next.

At first it was hard not to take it personally, and though it’s still gives a twinge of hurt, it’s easy to remind yourself not to when you have a baby sitting in front of, I have a feeling it won’t be so easy in 12 years from now!

Ox Herding; Notes on Buddhism, 3/Stringing The Mala


Ox Herding; Notes on Buddhism, 3

Over the past couple of years, I can honestly say I’ve learned more from reading Ox Herding than just about any other source of Dharma I’ve encountered.

This post about expressing anger also includes a theme that Barry has touched on a few times and one I personally found especially cutting; the “inherently violent” way we deceive and manipulate other’s perception of us to keep up an image we’d like others to have of us. I think it’s a post that addresses nearly all of us, even if it’s a difficult one to admit.

For the sake of all beings, I urge you to take a look at this post!

Ox Herding; Stringing The Mala

…and just because I like it so much, here is a link to Barry’s first post on Ox Herding.

Wake Up and Laugh; Venerable Ya-un: feeling superiour to others


Wake Up and Laugh; Venerable Ya-un: feeling superiour to others

I’d like to point out this specific post today, rather than simply the blog.

For a while, I was feeling like I was pretty smart, thinking, “I’m going to develop a mind that I am equal to all others.”

Then, one day, Chong Go Sunim posted this as a footnote to a post about just such thinking;

 Don’t feel that you are better than someone else, the equal of someone else, or inferior to someone else. These are all considered wrong views.

For a minute I was thrown off. If we’re not better, equal, or inferior, what else is there?

Then I realized these are all dualistic views that separate me from you. I’m still waiting to experience it on a conscious level but I’ve heard we’re really all one.

A Summer Day in the City of Angels


 A Summer Day in the City of Angels

Over the past few months, I’ve really enjoyed reading this blog.

Nat is a yoga teacher in Bangkok and a breast cancer survivor. She writes about collection of topics that rotate from yoga, breast cancer awareness (and yoga poses specifically designed for breast cancer survivors), yummy, healthy recipes, and occasional Dharmas.

I also admire her for writing in English, although she is Japanese.

If you haven’t been reading her blog already, it’s worth a visit!