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'"


Iktomi said…
i agree. :) that is why i have thus far refused to accept any labels of who i am or what i believe... as far as is possible... as you implied labels are unavoidable when living in a community and interacting with others. :P
Kathy said…
love the buddha picture. We are having heat wave of 90's...can't wait till it cools down some. yummy England baked beans :)
Sophia said…
I've known of a slightly different variation of that proverb - "Before enlightenment chop wood carry water. After enlightenment chop wood carry water."

Cheese is good. My husband brought home loads of it from his trip to Wisconsin. I've got baby swiss, sharp cheddar, sharp cheddar and bacon, cheese curds. MMmmmm I have to behave myself or I could eat too much at once. I enjoyed some earlier tonight with a glass of my favorite wine. But, I've never had any of this stinky cheese you speak of. Although it's funny you should mention it as tonight I watched a movie where a man was getting a delivery of Limburger cheese. Such bravery. Maybe someday I'll try some.

I enjoy your blog very much, and find none of it to be boring.
baroness radon said…
I love this post.

Did I tell you I arranged a Masonic funeral for my father? It was pretty cool. It perplexed the Catholic stepchildren. On the other had, they didn't appreciate the particular Psalm I read as a eulogy either. The last words they spoke to me, were "How much money was left?"

Which stinky cheese? I love Tilset.
Anonymous said…
Thanks for your comment; what a lovely way to look at it. I have the desire to read; i just can't switch off yet from the society-driven thought that i should be doing something "more productive".. i'm working on it though :)
I'd rather wait around to see nature or hear a frog than read a book. After all, the book will last for years and years. That frog won't stick around croaking for that length of time.
The quote at the top of this post also made me smile.

Tao1776 said…
Iktomi - When I worked within the mental health field it always resonated within me when I heard someone say, "These guys are not schizophrenics. They are men who are suffering from schizophrenia." There is a wide difference in your angle of perspective and approach when one realizes the difference.
Kathy! - We're back to good weather now. Highs in the high 70s and cool nights. My lone pumpkin is now harvested and the baked beans were good! Mmmmm
Sophia - Thanks....the stinky cheese is just a very extra sharp provolone.
Baroness, I stepped down Tuesday night from being Chaplain.
Tao1776 said…
Rose, Glad that I could help make you smile. Give me a good book to read. Its that time of year.
Anonymous said…
Why seek approval? What's it in it for you?
Anonymous said…
It's in the teaching. Beliefs divide. Look at Christianity.

Don't blame the followers.