Top 100 sailing blog, huh, ok …thanks?!

28 09 2009

I received a comment that I had won a listing in the top 1000 sailing blog review from the Daily Reviewer. How nice!

Thanks, I think. Ok I do not quite get it.

hmmm I guess. It was under my post about Boats, Planes , Bikes and Rain. It is kind of weird, but I humbly accept the award and thank those who voted me there. What is weird is , this is not my sailing blog. My sailing blog is Zen’s Sekai II- by sea. I have the same basic article there, it was reworked a little for placement here on the non-sailing blog with less emphases on sailing and yachts. Yet it get an award, go figure. I guess since this one get more traffic it showed up or something, more sailors found it, and vote, I have no idea how it works. Well anyway thanks for all who made this award possible, it is not just my award it is our award, there is no duality. Next time please just send money (^_^)

Kyudo update Sept.

28 09 2009

It was a good afternoon for Kyudo practice. There is a certain peacefulness that comes from practice in the late afternoon out at RSD. Peace and coolness, because out on in V-town it can get pretty hot and more so in a warehouse.The whole Tanuki clan was there for today’s session.


I remembered today to work on my breath and timing it with the draw. Perfect. It went as planned and fit nicely,  maybe a bit slow but it works for me fine. I can increase the tempo if needed, I was however pleased with the pattern. The one of the other things I worked on today was correcting my Ya location on the draw. I tended to raise the Ya tip. Not a good thing. after a few times of that and my Sempai saying something. I was able to make the correction, with some more mindfulness on what I was doing. Lastly was my aim, breath, draw, and hand position was today’s project. I was able to maintain most of my Ya hits within 12ins of each other. Yay!, I was pleased with that.


I’m getting a better feel for the Yumi and my aiming locations, with the Renmei style…nice. It was a good day of shooting.

Chinese Juk at a Japanese temple

28 09 2009

It is a beautiful day here on the Island. Sunny, a little overcast, but not too warm..yet.


I went to Sunday morning service at the temple today. It was not a “special” service like last week, so the turn out was not large, pretty small in fact. Mostly an older crowd, Obaa-san and Ogii-san’s. I got a Yokoso from Rev. Sensei when I arrived and another introduction this time as another “Karate” Sensei (sigh, Kung fu please, my ego) . The sermon was short today which was good. He spoke on how we as people tend to keep barriers up between us an others. Instead of letting our “inner”light shine. This is due to our ego. It is very hard to completely get ride of it, but we should try daily. This is my simple translation.


After service, there was a couple of guest, sisters from Chinatown, they were giving a demo on making Juk. Which is a Chinese rice gruel. I was going to pass on it until I heard they made some vegetarian Juk as well. Basicly a rice gruel with chicken , pork or both then added garnish, such as ginger, green onions, cilantro. Mine was the veggie style. It was pretty good, light taste, less filling. The grated ginger gave it a nice kick.


I was surprised to hear one of the cooks was a Kung Fu and Tai Chi Master, at least so said Sensei. She teaches Tai Chi in the Park over in Chinatown. It sounded like Rev, Sensei also takes classes there from her. I’m glad I did not say anything about my teaching him some Tai Chi, I’ll ask him on Tues if he is playing Tai Chi as well. The Rev. Sensei is a pretty amazing guy. The lady I met today named Yumi ( like the Kyudo bow, I will remember her name) Said how nice the Rev. Sensei is and different from other old school Japanese of his generation. So true that is. Yumi was interesting to chat with, she is originally from NY. and said there were back in the day only two Buddhist church’s on the East Coast one in NY, one in New Jersey. Back after the war or during the War, they, theJapanese could get out early or something like from encampment to get bused to the temple/church. She also said she went to the church in Oakland for a while but did not feel they were as friendly as this one, the Alameda Buddhist Temple. The people do make a difference. One reason I am not involved with the Berkeley Soto group, the people. My Chan group people feel like family. The ABT people are nice, Rev Sensei is very nice, I have not met anyone though that I can directly relate to, but that is normal, because I am not. I am however sleepy , so I’m taking a nap before heading off to Kyudo.

Friday Fu – Sept

24 09 2009

yin yangIt is not Friday, nor is it with Shifu* this time. That is actually tomorrow however, I will not go, SiSuk and Simo ( who is not really my Simo because that means wife of the Sifu but it is what I call her anyway) are coming over for dinner. LZ and I have been planning to invite them over for an appreciation dinner for a while. If not for them we wold not be here in this lovely Apt. However this is not about that.

Last Friday, Sisuk had his senior student come down to Shifu’s studio. I drove Sisuk and we met up with a few of Shifu’s students. It was Sisuks plan to have us all review the 3 section staff form for the tournament next year. Also he wanted to work on tuning our Taiji. I was all for that. It was good timing for me as I am starting the new Taiji class with the Dept of P&R in Alameda. We are going to be working on Yang 24 and Chen 24 with SiSuk on these extra Friday night session. Sisuk is talking about once a month meetings, like what we have with Shifu end of the month. Fine with me, I need the training.

Sisuk had us go from the very beginning, we worked on over and over, just the opening, body alignment, arms, elbows, balance, opening step.  Big emphasis on tucking in the hips and stomach. I was scolded for not being better. He said living as close as I live to his shop I should be coming by more to practice with him. My hips and chest are not loose enough, I need to do more breathing drills. I should be speeding 30 min a day doing just blah blah. So 30 min on that, 30 min on this, 1 hour on this, 2 hours on that, etc etc. When does one live, sleep, work, practice the other thousand things!?! sigh

Anyway all I can do is my best! Ganbaru!

We spent next hours just doing this, the opening stances and positions. SiSuk also spent a fair amount of time lecturing on the similarities and differences between internal and external training   The next hour was spent on a weapon form. Sisuk is not big on the 3 section I found out and wanted me to learn the Horse Cutter form. This was taught at the seminar two years a go. I did not learn it, because I wanted to work on reviewing my basics with Chiang Sibak. Sisuk strongly suggested that I learn this Horse Cutter set from my classmate. I have never gone against his wishes , but this time I have/ will. I said this is another form I have no time to practice. I learned a Kwan Do set, the 3 section helps me with timing, catching, etc. Sisuk, Shifu, and another Sisuk are not always in agreement of things one needs to learn. For Example, Ling SiSuk does not think the wooden man set is all that helpful, Fong Sisuk does. Fong Sisuk says with not having a partner, to train with the Wooden Man is the next best thing. Anyway I will not air the natural little disagreements of the family, there is no need. On the item at hand, I will not learn the Horse Cutter unless I am told out right learn it, or explained why it will help my Mantis or Taiji. These days I need to think on what will help me in Japan. another bladed weapon to deal with in Japan does not seem practical considering how troublesome it is to import them. To me, this is just another form I do not have time to practice, it will be wasted.

As usual after our practice we have  informal late night snacks and drinks. I will miss being able to go this Friday, but this dinner is important to show gratitude, I can train next month

Park And Rec Tai Ji Chuan

The Taiji class with the P&R dept is good. There are some 12 students still after the second week. I will not push these guys, none are what I would class fast learners. It will be a slow moving class, which I think most of them will appreciate and need. I let the students in last class know there are additional classes available to those who were interested. Several of them asked about it after class the location and stuff. I gave out my card, but only one showed up to the Weds class. He, I think will be a regular. The others were interested in the Sat class, we’ll see if they follow through. I do not expect much.

I am thankful  to have the Tai Ji Class established and pickup even one extra student to the regular class. It makes me feel like I have a school again and there is really  Tai Chi Mantis of Alameda ( Bay Shaolin Alameda). Of course even with one student there is that but it gives the other student a sense of being when there are classmates. I’m hopeful this will continue into the summer perhaps with some more Kung Fu students by that time, perhaps we will even have a showing at the tourney this yr.

* I mix dialects when I write, I do the same speaking sorry, life is short, deal with it.

Invasion…Zen vs the rat – II

23 09 2009

Pink lotus

Life as a born again Christian was easy. “Christians are not perfect just forgiven”, the bumper sticker says. Everything ( almost)  you are forgiven for, even things you do not know you are going to do, God knows all you do and will do and as a Christian you are forgiven. Wow! How cool is that? Makes life simple. So you can screw people over, pollute the world, kill and eat anything with no regrets, no “karma” step on a bug, kill a spider, a rat, wipe out entire species, race, have slaves, start wars over oil or whatever ,  it is all cool, you are forgiven… ok mostly. You do have some responsibilities, never say any thing bad about God, don’t kill yourself, no idol worship and get as many to join the ranks as possible, other than that, it is mostly all good. Yeah, that is just simplifying things, but in a nut shell that is it.

As a student of the Tao, you have to think about things, like karma, oneness with everything, hurting anything is hurting yourself, plants, bugs, frogs, rats, trees, water, fish, because there is no separation, no duality, no them and me, there is only us, we. I am everything, everything, is me, we are one, universally, spiritually speaking, crimany what a load to deal with.  If I was invaded by rats back in the day, break out the traps and Snap , Pop, Bang, problem solved.

Now, I have to think about is this the right way , how would Jesus, or Buddha handle this, will this creature suffer, do I have the “right” to end it’s life , what will be the repercussions? Because everything has a repercussions, maybe not now, but later, who knows. Everything I do unto others, I do unto me in some form. There is no duality. It is a lot of work to live mindful, walking the middle path, trying to live in harmony with the Force, the Universe, the Tao, The Great Spirit. Living compassionately is work…It is easier to give up personal responsibly. Easier to think the world is all about us, all for us, than we are here for each other. I’m not saying everyone is like that, but…generally speaking.

I asked Rev Sensei about what would be the best way to I can handle to rat problem. He did not say do this or that, other than, have you tied netting, cages, etc. His answer came down to be compassionate as possible. Try to avoid killing, all life is precious. Great, I already knew that. Perhaps some netting he says. This reminded me of the Zen Story about the priest who came back as a fox because of saying the wrong thing. Rev. Sensei is not a Zen priest but maybe there is a similar Jodo Shinshu story. My Shaolin Chan elder says “intent is the key differentiator in karma creation.  I believe everyone seems to agree on this.
But then how would I decide??  Or do I? Listen to our heart.   It is up to the individual heart to select either the plants or the rats.  Or we could just follow the law of nature – a natural selection process

Others says, a quick death is the compassionate way.

So what am I doing? For the moment nothing. We are bringing some of the plants inside at night, the other I cover with the cage. I will look into some netting if I can find some cheap. Now they or  it is eating the eggplants and flowers.  I’ll see what the Tao presents as a solution. In Christian terms, I’ll be still and let God show me the way. So much soul searching over a rat, yet, life is life and who knows but God the big picture. Native Peoples feel animals are our guides our teachers, maybe this rodent is teaching me about my own humanity and testing my compassion.

to be continued…

Invasion…Zen vs the Rat(s)

22 09 2009


I must be weird, all this over a Rodent. Last night LZ brought in her tomato plant for the night ino the living room. I put a cage on mine. This morning I find out it they are also eating the cilantro plant, they use to eat the bell peppers, but stopped for some reason and do not touch the eggplant. Yesterday I had decided ok, enough, Hammer time. LZ says, what about blah blah, you do not like to kill anything, and they  will still come with the traps… Ok, then poison I say, this is too much, germs, get into the house, blah blah. Ok she says, Decon ( posion), no trap. We are back and forth with the discussion.

Then she sees a Spider, I have to kill it. I hate that! Spider are our friends, ( some anyway) the discussion goes on about the Rat. Spiders and bugs are lower life forms she says. Much less Karma, Rats, mice further up the chain… This continues, on to abortion, the Dalai Lama, bugs, etc…

Interesting enough she met a Japanese woman at her work she had not seen before. As it turns out, this woman teaches Japanese at the Alameda Buddhist Temple I have been going to and knows the Rev Sensei. She , the Oba-can called LZ the other night and spoke about this n that and also about Rev Sensei what a nice person he was and about his interesting Sunday sermons. LZ was impressed.

This was brought into the Rat discussion. Did you ask Rev Sensei about this Rat business/ No I said, but since I will see him today for Karate practice I will ask. Let’s see what he says…

to be continued

Sunday…a mixed bag

22 09 2009

Temple Service

I had a couple of things to post and this is out of sequence, but no matter. The 3 or 4 who read this blog will not care about the order of things I suppose.

alameda cluds

This past Sunday I got up and did my morning Zazen before going to Sunday  service over at the Alameda Buddhist Temple. It was one of those special services, like Obon but different This was Ohigan. The day of Spring equinox or is it Autumn equinox hmmm anyway it is the day of equal light and darkness. It is said a day of not too hot or cold. It was really on the warm side but that is not the point. I was told by Rev. Sensei there was service this Sunday and I read about it. It sounded interesting so I figured to go. I could get a better feel for who attends this Church/Temple.

I got there on time and took a seat. The service went somewhat like my last visit. but more people. Organ playing on entering, introduction my someone,  small amount of chanting, then standing for a song. Then the Rev introduced the guest speaker and he gave a sermon. Some of it had to do with our oneness with all things, also form and formlessness. Then and chant, then stand again for a song.  Then it was over. I like the services there, simple, to the point, done. Still the format reminds me of a regular church service not a Buddhist temple. I was a bit surprised to see a Afriamerican couple there and from their greetings to and from people they have been there for a while.  The guy spoke to me when they were standing in line for the offering, I bowed but did not get into a conversation with him. it was not the time.

The Rev. Sensei remarked several times do not go home after the service there was lunch being served, so I stayed. I was surprised at the serving. Wild Salmon, green beans and rice with a veggie salad. Plus some cream puffs and cake for dessert. Wow! I was expecting some lite snack type something. Cool!

Being as shy as I am I sat with someone I had met before. I was joined there by several others. One of which was the person who does the newsletter and photography for the temple and a couple of friendly ladies who helped but everything together for the lunch. A few basic intros, questions and the like. A while late I moved and sat next tot he visiting minister who was seated near by. It was said he also did Karate and the Rev Sensei introduced me that way as well. We spoke on Karate, Tai Chi, Kung Fu, meditation, Kyudo and the like for a short while before people started cleaning up and he had to go. It was an interesting morning at “Church”.

Books and videos

I was shocked to find that the library here on the island is open half a day on Sunday!! I found there was a DVD I wanted to borrow on Sat but O had already reach my max with season 4 of ” the Wire”. So I came back on Sunday to borrow “what the Blip do we know”. I was even more surprised to find a small crowd of people waiting for the branch to open. Having went to church first and hung out there I was still 20 minutes or so early for the branch to open but there were already people waiting, there was a good size group by the time it opened at 1:00pm. I guess part of my shock of them being open on Sunday was that just a few days a go the Public library in Philly was almost shut down form lack of funds, but here this one was open on Sunday ! Wow Alameda is great! Another thing about this library is that they have a large Japanese book section!! Another big shock. LZ found this out the other day and also had plans on stopping by on Sunday after she got off work to check out some books after getting her card. She was very pleased. She s they have a larger selection of Japanese books than even the Asian library in Chinatown Oakland.

However sadly for me, the DVD I wanted was already checked out, I will need to come back until I time it right. I did however pick up a couple of others DVD one on the Dalai Lama. I like seeing stuff on him, one of the great spirits of our time. I would love to met him one day.

kyudome 2

RSD Kyudo

Finally back to Kyudo practice in the evening. There were only 3 of us shooting on Sunday, so there was no waiting. After a small amount of chit chat I had at it. Again I was concerned just about my handling of the Yumi with the Renmai style. I shot only using that on Sunday. I had forgotten the breathing pattern I come up with so went back to my old method. It worked but I really wanted to give the new a try. I thought of it again after I had finished for the day, shucks. Oh well next time.

Anyway it really does not matter in the big picture.


alameda moon

sigh..I’m bummed, .I went through a lot of hassle and wa$ted money , I did not have to spare to save those rodents lives  and it will cost more in order to make everything work out..sigh. I do not have that kind of money  to just blow away and there is the major hassle of dealing with the plants and the cages and the watering …


rat proofing

Sorry rats , “a mi tuo fo”, It’s Hammer Time.