Before you study Zen, mountains are mountains and rivers are rivers. While you are studying Zen, mountains are no longer mountains and rivers are no longer rivers, but once you have had enlightenment, mountains are once again mountains and rivers again rivers.
It is raining (again!) and the temperatures are unseasonably cool at fifty five degrees. It seemed like a good day to make my family famous New England baked beans and let the warmth of the oven and the smell of the dark molasses and onions settle the house with a feeling of, "I'm home." Looking out the window I can see my one lone pumpkin turning more orange by the day. A little smaller than a volley ball, it brings a smile every time we take a glimpse. We are making plans to drive over to get our oldest granddaughter who is entering the first grade. We would like to pick her up a few things and mark the occasion with the usual new school clothes and the like. I bought some "stinky cheese" because it is one of her favorite snacks. I'm fortunate to have grand-kids. What they say about them is true. You can have fun with them, spoil them and when you have had enough you can return them to their parent(s). Its a good deal.
For many of you, this may seem all so boring and not stimulating enough. I have many readers who come by Tao 1776 - This Being Human... to gather a glimpse of the Tao; or to read of something Buddhist and the hint of something Zen. I have been known to talk of politics and government. I do have political opinions. I know that a few of you were expecting me to say something about the passing of Ted Kennedy. But I seem to be having fewer opinions in favor of cultivating a nonjudgmental state of observation. And this seems to fit into that silent state of non-suffering that the Buddha pointed to; into that state of emptiness that the Tao Te Ching points out as true usefulness.
Although I have been a Freemason and a Freemason Chaplain, I am neither. Nor am I a Taoist; or a Buddhist or a Christian. I am a member of the Fraternity of Freemasons. The teachings of Buddhism and Taoism guide me. My study of and my experience within Christianity has been valuable. However, these are all but fingers that point the way; not identities to be taken on or worn on a tee shirt or a thumb to be sucked.
But for the sake of being able to converse, to be on the same page, we agree that I am a Mason, a Buddhist, a Taoist and a one time Christian. But all in all, don't take anything I say as too serious. For as my Granddaughter Brielle likes to say, It's only Pepe'"