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Ghost Ship Fire - Oakland, December 12, 2016

After the great fire in the 1374 at the Engakuji Temple, scholars came to see what had happened to the great library. The teacher, standing amidst the ashes and rubble, said that nothing had been destroyed. When queried further, he held up his hand and said,

"The covers were burned but you can still hold the teachings in your hands." 

We can also say it this way, you can still hold the music and the people who played it in your hands and hearts. And that doing that is important, is imperative. The warehouse fire that killed so many young artists and musicians, and destroyed what was by all accounts an absolutely wonderful, unique and beautiful art space in Oakland last week is still burning in my imagination. I feel the depth of the grief and shock. This kind of world is inherently fragile. Artists often live on the edges of things. Like Zen, art isn't something you tend to choose so you will become rich and comfortable. And art is also the creation of a moment, relying on…

There is No Future. Really.

Be here now. -Ram Dass (and about a million other people)

This is the stone, drenched with rain, that points the way. -Santoka

There's no future. I don't mean this as a grim forecast. I mean this as the way things are.

Yesterday I noticed how strong and real my expectations for the outcome of the election have been, before suddenly everything went the other way. I had been anticipating with some satisfaction how I would savor and perhaps even gloat gently to myself, and perhaps with others... that my world view was shared and had prevailed by a landslide.

Instead I got an outcome that I was in no way prepared for. I found myself frozen, awash in anxiety, with black and white images of bombed out cities from WWII playing inside my head whenever I closed my eyes. Mean and dangerous people in uniforms were walking among the rubble. Fear and hopelessness. Nothing much I could do about it.

When I got up this morning (I would say, woke up, but that would imply that I slept), I had to…

The End of the World as We Know It

Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.-from Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle
Koan: Someone asked the old teacher Dasui, “It’s clear that the fire at the end of time will completely destroy the universe. But tell me, is there something that won’t be destroyed?”
Dasui answered, “It will be destroyed.”

“It will go along with everything else?”