Montucky – or falling from the family tree

I got Kentucky Roots. Or at least my name does. Or at least sort of…Kentucky, USA has the greatest concentration of Whitakers on earth. That’s right, go to Kentucky and you’ll be bouncing off Whitakers left and right, at a whopping 908.13 Whitakers per million people. With a population of about 4.2 million people, that means you’ll find around 4000 Whitakers in that state alone. Scary.If you want to find deeper roots, and good tea, try crossing the pond and… Read more

Notes on the Life of the Buddha, II

From “The Awakened One: A life of the Buddha” by Sherab Chodzin Kohm.Image of the Buddha from sacredsites.comWe ended the last bit on the life of the Buddha with Siddhartha’s transformation into the Buddha, which took place under the great Pipal tree, aka the Bodhi (awakening) tree.After his awakening, the Buddha contemplated his next steps, doubting that others would be capable of gaining his understanding. Itwas not until a great deva (god), Sahamapati, implored him to teach that he chose… Read more

Notes on the life of the Buddha

From “The Awakened One: A life of the Buddha” by Sherab Chodzin Kohm.Image of the Buddha from sacredsites.comWhat follows is a very quick set of notes from the above mentioned book. It’s highly recommended for all who are interested in the life and teachings of the Buddha.Chapters 1 through 4, from his birth through his first teachings.The story of the Buddha begins long before his own birth, where the man who would become the Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama), in a previous… Read more

Adventures and the Hero’s Journey

Starting point of the Alberton Gorge rafting trip.Yesterday my friend Taryn and I joined a crew of UM international students on a rafting trip to the nearby Alberton Gorge on the Clark Fork river. The gorge is a short strip of river carved out by the massive dam-bursts of Glacial Lake Missoula 10-15,000 years ago. The stunning rock walls and giant boulders, in and out of the water, make for a trip as scenic as it is thrilling. (some photos… Read more

Living Forward

Coloma ghost town, Montana (from my recent trip with Jen and Patia)Another day is upon us, sweet new light and life. As much as I love the summers (read sunshine and long days) in Montana, I have to say that I look forward to the fall this year. Along with the transition of the new school year, fall in Montana brings gorgeous colors. But perhaps most of all, the changing season brings the sort of mental ‘settling in’ that I’ve… Read more

First Day of Class

Gallagher Business Building October 2006What an amazing day. I awoke to stormy skies and blustery winds through my windows and began my day just as I would any other: shower, breakfast, coffee. I read a bit, I wrote a bit. Then, around noon, it began. I was going ‘to class’.Now, granted, I’m a T.A., not a professor, not a student, but still I was going to class. True to form I worked on things right to the last minute, making… Read more

Gratitude Journal

Garnet ghost town, MontanaThings to be grateful for? Hmmm… So many. Peace – of mind, of body, of living in harmony with work, people, studies, nature; of sitting on the porch and listening to squirrels bickering back and forth across the street, the distant hum of power tools as homeowners take advantage of this beautiful day to work outside, of having a Pepsi even though I know it’s bad for me because it reminds me of growing up and summer… Read more

The Dao of Reading

Missoula Sunset, 8-19-08Last night’s “Dharma Tuesday” centered on the simple act of reading a sutra. What benefits may be gained in this practice? Why, in Buddhism, which seems so focused experience and activity in the world, are texts so important?I recall learning years ago of a discussion amongst two Greek philosophers, perhaps Socrates and an interlocutor. In the dialog, one of the great thinkers lamented the invention of writing. He said that now people will simply write down great wisdom… Read more

Gratitude Journal

It’s been a bit since my last gratitude post. As usual, I suppose, I’ve spent the time with friends, in nature, and hard at work. In my more pensive moments, I’ve found myself asking: what’s it all about? (and I laugh now) And my mind tends to toss and turn, this way and that. Until, out of the depths comes a soft answer: service. Hokey, perhaps. Or just too obvious. But it’s the same answer time and again, and it… Read more

Everyone Needs a Fish Bowl

This is the conclusion of a fascinating talk on TED by psychologist Barry Schwartz. It follows my last post perfectly, so I thought I should share it with y’all. His latest book discusses the paradox of choice, how we think it makes us happy, but actually doesn’t. Have a watch: Read more

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