Showing posts from 2012

Pearls of Samurai Wisdom which I Personally Don't Find Practically Useful

Don't let people see you yawn, it makes you look foolish.

Don't let people see you sneeze, it makes you look foolish.

When in disgrace, kill yourself immediately. If you wait, it is less honorable.

Serve your master as if you were one; as if you were already dead.

When your master dies, kill yourself.

If you're a woman, your husband is your master; serve him the same way he serves his master.

(I'll be adding a few more to this list as time goes on. This is from reading "Hagakure". In all seriousness, though, I may do a follow-up post to this one at some point: "Pearls of Samurai Wisdom which I Personally *Do* Find Practically Useful" because there are a few that have resonated well with me. It made sense to me to do this post first, though.)

self portrait, Wednesday March 9th, 2005

Essence, Darkness, and Sunshine

Alone in starlight
We stand in wonder as if to know
The when and where of every thing

And yet the stars echo down
To our toneless ears
And wake us
We see what we cannot see
And know what we cannot know
For now in this colorless flood
Of many circled rainbows
We are what we cannot be.


Where was i born
    as but a star does rise?
Early is the dawn
    That fastens soon to unknown sunlight
Late the realization:
    There are roses too that climb
As soon i shall rise

Where the victory
    When all is lost and gone?
Dark are the memories of black on gold
Dark are the lingerings of empty lost treasure
That sit as skeletons more than the gold
    Of once glowing eternities
And i remembering
    Only to forget.

        John Dan Reib, 1959

Just a Question

What I ask of You
     I ask of all men:
What finer, what truer greatness
     is there
Than to express the silent thoughts
     that no men hear
But all men feel?

        John Dan Reib, 1959

"To A Random Star"

Oh lonely thousandth star,
Where is thy wonderous heaven?
Art thou apart for fear
That timeless life is near?
Does thy awesome pallour gleam
To taste of now and Destiny?

Or is it that thou art alone?
- A winters' destiny for our sometimes hungry thoughts?

        John Dan Reib, 1959

"A Word On Vanity"

Blood is seen in victory
Where it dribbles from the veined caves
Of our inner thought - like
The enigmatic grasshopper of the unknown
Drools the juice of might-be tobacco

We watch ourselves closely
Like grim squished rolls of
Last years tooth-paste bigotry
We dry and crackle in the sun

We ponder the bags neath our bloody-blue
Eyes as if they were Gold
Or Something

We sit and laugh and cough
We gurgle remorselessly
To find out why we're beautiful -
The picture dawns oh ugly grasshopper!
Shall we hide our mirrors?

        John Dan Reib, 1959

Chanson Sans Cesse

Paris in the autumn
        And I am alone
The breeze of last winter's
        Forgotten love
Carresses the cheek of my thoughts
        Scattering leaves
To settle once more

I walk along the Rue D'Alsace
        Where the empty morning
        And the wet street wakes
         To the voices of souls calling,
           and turning grey

Yet, life goes on
     Through time's cold mist
        To see the sun once more.

        John Dan Reib, 1959

"Lonesome" - Opus #II

"Where are you?"
My neon soul calls out blinking
in the foggy darkness
On an empty midnight shadow
In patterns of red and green
Through hotel room windows of used dust

And the honking horns of hell's Hornaday street
While the snore of exhaust pipes

              MUMBLES into oblivion.

        John Dan Reib, 1959


Dead are the grapevines
That strewned the rocky walls
And hollow crags

Empty are the fields of clodded dirt
Where ghostly plows of dust still furrow
        Their tracks as if alone
And bold still the evening sunsets
        Kiss the face of the dry land
We wander as lost, vacant men in father's
The powdered dirt fills our shoes and dusts
        Our run-down woolen socks

Here stand we in our one-time sunday best
And our rimless hats know the taste of
        Toilless sweat -
But as long as the wind blows
        Live oaks seem to find room to spawl
Perhaps we too will build again

        John Dan Reib, 1959

Wake with the Firedawn

Wake with the firedawn and go wandering –
This is the city of crowded eyes –
Los Angeles – harbinger of innocence
And oversize garbage cans –
Wake with the firedawn and go wandering –
Down the streets with a thousand freaks
All thinking ugly thoughts about each other –
All over the world – certain unchosen people
Everywhere think this is Mecca –
And they flock here in their baggy pantaloons
Full of problems, worries, and addicted to
Credit spending – crumbs on their moustaches –
Watery eyed brats with runny noses, and
Whining undernourished wives –
Los Angeles – sweet mother that she is –
Welcomes them with open black mandibles
To her web

Wake with the firedawn and go wandering –
Everything here is for sale – even some guy’s
broken leg – look in the papers at the want adds
That’s our who’s who – look at the papers at
Our want adds – everythings for sale –
See the one-eyed barbecue pit –
And the naked nylon socks –
Everything’s for sale!
God love ya!
The people that make the most mon…

Words for the Day: 華開世界起

華開世界起 (“kekai-sekai-ki”) literally means “The opening of flowers is the occurrence of the world”. The quote is attributed to Bodhidharma's Master, Prajñātāra.

"You and I and the rest, we all get to play out its unfolding in many transformation flowers." - Transformations 8:4

Words for the Day: 七通八達

七通八達 (“Shichitsu-hattatsu”) literally means “to pass through seven directions and arrive at eight destinations,” suggesting a thorough understanding from many viewpoints, and is attributed to 龍牙居遁 (Ryūge Kodon, 835-923).

Reality Face

The Buddha's true dharma body (reality-face)
is just like space
it manifests its form according to thing-events
like the moon reflected in water.

Master Sōsan once asked the monk Ācārya Toku, "It is said that the Buddha’s true Dharma body is just like space, and it manifests its form according to things, like the moon reflected in water. How do you preach this principle of mutual accordance?"

Toku said, "It is like a donkey looking into a well."

Master Sōsan said, "Your words are extremely nice words, but they only express eighty or ninety percent."

Toku says, "What would the master say?"

Master Sōsan says, "It is like the well looking at the donkey.”

from "Shobogenzo"
Master Dogen speaking to the monks on the evening of the full
moon, September 2, 1240, at Kannondōri in Kōshōhōrin-ji Temple,
Transcribed by Ejō on April 17, 1243.

Words for the day: 意馬心猿

意 will
馬 horse
心 mind
猿 monkey

It's your Horse-Will Monkey-Mind.

If you're not already laughing, and your brow is furrowed, here are some footnotes to goose-chase*.


*Here is the footnote to goose-chase on the subject of goose-chasing footnotes.

Five Words for the Day


The Japanese aesthetic Fūryū (風流) was derived from the Chinese word fengliu, which literally translated meant "good deportment" or "manners". After its "importation" to Japan in the eight century, the word came to refer more directly to the refined tastes of a cultivated person and to things what were associated with such people. When applied in a more aesthetic sense, the word fūryū took on a reference to the refined, even elegant behavior of an sophisticated person. As time went on, the word was applied to all things that were regarded as elegant, sophisticated, stylish, or artistic.

"These extremely untranslatable Japanese words denote the four basic moods of furyu, that is, of the general atmosphere of Zen “taste” in its perception of the aimless moments of life." - Alan Watts


The term sabi occurs often in the 万葉集 (Manyōshū, "Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves", the oldest existing collection of Japanese poetry, compile…

DNA-Alphabet memorization tool

To get started, you'll need a 4-sided die and an index card. Simply copy the information on the above index card onto your index card.

Just roll a 4-sided die three times, and each time you roll, say aloud the name of the Nucleic Acid. If you roll a "1", say "Adanine". If you roll a "2", say "Uracil". If you roll a "3", say "Guanine". If you roll a "4", say "Cytosine".

After you have rolled it three times, find the particular permutation (the Nucleic Acid sequence which you spoke aloud) on the index card. Say the letter and the Amino Acid aloud, or say the name of the Aminio Acid aloud, while writing the Amino Acid's corresponding letter on a fresh piece of paper.

Do this at least a few times per day until you no longer need the index card.

Here are some other things you can try: rather than rolling one 4-sided die three times, you can get 3 4-sided dice of 3 different colors, and roll them a…