Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Disappointed in man’s inhumanity to man,
I live each day like it’s my last
Time moving so fast
Everywhere I turn, someone new is hurt.
Living on the edge of despair striving to stay afloat and hold on to my hope.
It’s all I’ve got left.
I bide my time and wait behind closed curtains in love with a perfect life gorging
on dreams of a different world where everyone’s my brother.
I turn on the evening news in time to hear the brother speak,
the one who killed his brother’s wife last week,
He says she was just no damn good anyway. 
He knew for sure because she used to be his wife. 
She disappeared around the same time he was convicted of killing her. 
He said, "I already served my time for killing her,
you see it’s called double jeopardy 
and they can’t charge me twice for the same crime. 
Thank God I got rid of the no good bitch once and for all 
She can't do this to no one else no more."
The scene switches to the crazy Jewish guy in the orange jumper 
the one who tortured the little Jewish boy then dismembered him. 
They caught him abducting the boy on one of those street cameras
It’s enough of a dose of TV to last several days.
I try to decide what I can do about man’s inhumanity to man 
I bring it all home. The buck has to stop somewhere.
I examine my life in a whirlwind of thoughts to discover 
I’m trapped in a medieval prison where I’m tormented the same way 
every day and still can’t learn how to escape.
Man’s inhumanity to man makes me suffer.
I envision a day it will be different.
Julio examines my planet’s positions.
He declares that now I’m full of romanticism.
I told him that no he’s wrong that now I obsess on man’s inhumanity to man.
African and east European towns there are wars and bombs in the middles east.
Women raped daily, life disrespected as a matter or course.
I don’t know what to do. Where has my romanticism fled.
Searching my mind for a better place in time I reassess the layout.
A perfect place is hard to find.
It won’t matter where I go so I decide to sit this one out
and work on creating a better space inside myself.
I go inside and look around to find a better place and instead sit
Here today and gone tomorrow
I sit and cry and pray every day for a better world someday.

Monday, August 22, 2011

20 Essential Chinese Novels Plus Other tidbits

20 Essential Chinese Novels | Bachelor's Degree Online

These are worth a look with a contemporary and classical mix.

One of my personal favorites not listed here is the Buddhist Tale of Monkey King with drawings and text.

Below is an abbreviated story line to the famous work, "Monkey King", known to the Chinese as "Journey to West",written by Wu Ch'eng-en (1500?-1582), a scholarly-official, is one of the renowned classical Chinese story about an allegorical rendition of the journey, mingled with Chinese fables, fairy tables, legends, superstitions mixed with popular beliefs, and includes stories about  the Taoist and Buddhist religions. It was based on a true story of a famous Chinese monk, Xuan Zang (602-664). After years of trials and tribulations, he traveled on foot to what is today India, the birthplace of Buddhism, to seek for the Sutra, the Buddhist holy book. When he returned to China or the Great Tang as was called that time, he began to translate the sutras into Chinese, thus making a great contribution to the development of Buddhism in China. Monkey King is an indeed rebellious extraordinary being, born out of a rock and fertilized by the grace of Heaven. A being extremely smart and capable, he learns all the magic tricks and gongfu from a master Taoist and is able to transform himself into seventy-two different images such as a tree, a bird, a beast of prey or a bug as small as a mosquito to enable him to sneak into an enemy's belly to fight him inside or out. Using clouds as a vehicle he can travel 180,000 miles in a single somersault and he wields a huge iron bar that serves as ballast of the seas and can expand or shrink at his command. This becomes his favorite weapon in his later battles. He claims to be the king in defiance of the only authority over heaven, the seas, the earth and the subterranean world -- Yu Huang Da Di, or the "Great Emperor of Jade" in Chinese. To declare himself as emperor is an act of high treason, coupled with complaints from the masters of the four seas and the hell, he invites the relentless scourge of the Heavenly army.
After many showdowns,the emperor offers the monkey an official title to appease him. Enraged he revolts, fighting his way back earth to resume his claim of his own kingdom after learning that the position he held was nothing but that a stable keeper. Eventually, the heavenly army subdues him after many battles and with the help of all the god warriors.
Having a bronze head and iron shoulders, all methods of execution fail and the monkey man dulls all swords used upon him. As a last resort, the emperor commands that monkey king be burned in the furnace where his Taoist minister Tai Shang Lao Jun refines his pills of immortality. Instead of killing him, the fire and smoke add fiery golden crystal eyes that can see through what people normally can not. He frees himself and fought his way down again. Finally, with Buddha's help the monkey was suppressed under a great mountain known as the Mount of Five Fingers and could no longer move. Five hundred years later, ,the Tang Monk, Xuan Zang, came to his rescuer.
The Monkey King became the disciple of the monk and escorst him to insure that he could bring the sutras to the west. He travels with two other disciples, actually also arranged by the Buddha. Here begins the four's stormy journey west which is packed with actions and adventures that brought into full play the puissance of the monks' disciples, the Monkey King in particular.
The story of Journey to the West is divided into three parts: (1) an early history of the Monkey spirit; (2) pseudo-historical account of Tripitaka's family and life before his trip to fetch the sutras in the Western Heaven; (3)the main story, consisting of 81 dangers and calamities encountered by Tripitaka and his three animal spirit disciples - Monkey, Pigsy, and Sandy. The average readers are fascinated with the Monkey King, all prowess and wisdom, while many critics agree that the protagonist embodies what the author tried to convey to his readers: a rebellious spirit against the then untouchable feudal rulers. This story has the appeal of the ages with its moral thrust and pictures.

Adapted from HaiWang Yuan, Western Kentucky University

On another note keeping in the Chinese vein, yesterday I visited Chuang Yen Monastery in Carmel NY where after some meditation I received the gift of books and shared lunch with the monks. Here are some photos. 
 Below are people giving the service to keep up the grounds.
 They call this the temple of a thousand Buddhas for a reason - you think?