Cousin’s Wedding

This weekend was spent around Denver, CO at my cousin's wedding. Unbenownst to me, my mother (aunt of the bride) had spread rumors that I was a great photographer, so I was recruited as a back-up photographer. At one point a cousin even asked me if I was "doing photography for a living now." Sheesh. Mom. Come on.Like many of us, there are two distinct sides of my family: the sane side (my father's) and the crazy side (my mom's). This was my mother's side. So on the 12 hour car ride down from … [Read more...]

Musings on Friendship

In tonight's Dharma-talk, a recording of Jack Kornfield reading from "The Wise Heart: A Guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology," he mentioned two very poignant things.The first was a quote from a Chinese (his attribution) teaching that:Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for … [Read more...]

China: Virtual Tour

Many thanks to Peter, one of our fearless organizers, we have a googlemap of the sites visited on the recent Woodenfish in China program. This is what the map looks like:But click on the map or this link and you can zoom right in on our points of interest and discovery, from our humble beginings at Pumen Vihara in downtown Shanghai to the far reaches of Famen Temple and the Terracotta Warriors near Xi'an.Eventually I'll finish editing the 5000+ pictures and dozens of videos I shot there and post … [Read more...]

41 miles

Under a gorgeous pink sunset (similar to the one in this 2006 photo), I completed the longest week of running in my life: 41 miles.Thurs: 11 milesSat: 18 milesTues: 6.6 milesWed: 5.7 milesTotal: 41.3 miles.I wish I could find the photos my sister and I took of ourselves running through the French countryside in January of 1996, just to reminisce a bit on how long I've been at this. If someone had told me then that I would one day run 41 miles in a week and feel great about it, I would have … [Read more...]

Life: Cycles and Growth

A monk at Yingshen Pagoda 應身塔, Southern Wutai Mountain 南五台山 (August 5, 2009)A couple years ago in Washington D.C., a man sparked up a conversation with me and a friend while we waited in line. The man looked and sounded as though he had lived a rough life and was still not quite out of the dark. But at one point a clarity came across his face and he held out his hand, palm up, and said, "life is like this." He pointed at the center of his palm. Then, tracing his finger around and around, he con … [Read more...]

Life: New Phases

“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” -Paul Boese In Buddhism, the two "wings of awakening" are wisdom and compassion. Sometimes we try to separate these , perhaps even seeing them as antagonists. But in fact, as the 'wings' imagery suggests, the two must be cultivated together on the path to awakening. One may be - and most people are - stronger on one side or the other, but this serves as no excuse for the neglect of the other.I, as most folks will easily gue … [Read more...]

China: Amazing People

“Really great people make you feel that you, too, can become great.” - Mark Twain Jianzhen Library 鑒真圖書館, Yangzhou 揚州 ChinaThis post won't be so much about China or the Chinese people as it is about my fellow Woodenfish in China participants. In short, these were amazing people. For those who have asked me what the highlight of the trip was, "the people" has been the immediate answer. "Squatter" toilets and food poisoning top the list for least-favorite aspects, but that's another post.It's hard … [Read more...]

Back from China

China: Old and NewThis will be the first in a series of posts about my recent trip to China. Three weeks: the first spent in and around Shanghai (above photo is at Jang'an Temple in the heart of the city), and the next two weeks spent in Xi'an (previously Chang'an), the former capital of China and heart of the early Buddhist transmission to the country.I am quite tired from my travels still, so for now I would like to simply frame the content of what is to follow. That is the purpose of the … [Read more...]