Monthly Archives: February 2008

Zentraveler on the Hound and the Hare Fable!

As you search deeper into the world of life you begin to realize that the less complicated the more understanding you receive. Here is an example of a fable that pretty much tells it like it is—- if you want to pursue a Zen type life of mediation and understanding.

The Hound and the Hare ——- by Yin Zhao Shakya, OHY

Aesop, that wise old story teller of ancient Greece, lived a hundred years before the Buddha. He never heard of Zen, or Right Effort under the Buddha’s Eightfold Path. But the simple wisdom found in Aesop’s fables transcend time and religious preference. If we Buddhists of the modern world were to pause and reflect on the following Aesop’s fable, we might find some clues to guide us in our efforts to develop a spiritual life.

One day a hound, out hunting by himself, flushed a hare from a thicket and gave chase. The frightened hare gave the dog a long run and escaped. As the disappointed hound turned back toward home, a passing shepherd said jeeringly, “You’re supposed to be such a fine hunter! Aren’t you ashamed to let a little hare one-tenth your size get the better of you?”

“You forget,” replied the hound, “that I was only running for my supper, but the hare was running for his life.”

The hound was wise enough to know that he lacked the motivation of the hare. The hound knew that if the hare were to escape there were many other tasty treats in the bushes to replace it. But the rabbit, running to escape the finality of death in the jaws of the hound, had a lot more riding on the outcome of the chase. As the hound so wisely noted, the rabbit wanted to live more than the hound wanted to eat.

The importance a person attaches to a goal will directly affect the effort he puts toward reaching that goal. As a beginner, a person can approach Zen as either the hound or as the hare. If the beginner sees Zen as merely a method for coping with life, he is like the hound. Zen is simply a tasty meal, the convenient flavor of the month, that is easily replaced with other methods. If the beginner approaches Zen as a method of salvation, he is like the hare. The approach is one of complete effort, because the beginner realizes his life depends upon the outcome.

When I first approached Zen I was like the hound. I thought Zen would merely provide me a method for relaxation and poise so that I could cope with the stress and emptiness I was feeling. My approach to meditation as a hound was simple, if I didn’t get immediate results I gave up. I moved on to a different method until I became dissatisfied, and so on. I approached each meditation method with the same attitude that the hound had when it chased the rabbit. “Oh well, if this doesn’t work, there’s always something else.” It hadn’t occurred to me that Zen wasn’t merely a convenient quick fix, to be easily replaced or altered to make it work for me. I wanted to be able to practice Zen and still keep my egotistical life intact. I wanted Zen to be a method to help me relax and pretend I was happy while I fought for promotions at work, made lots of money, and become as popular as possible. In the back of my mind, I was just like the hound chasing and trying to catch the rabbit. I felt that if I didn’t ” catch the Zen”, I could easily move on to something else.

After taking the precepts, I continued to approach Zen as the hound. I dabbled in the different meditation techniques over the next couple of years, without really settling down to one method. Of course, during this period, I always felt that there was something wrong with the technique. The problem couldn’t possibly be with me or my lack of effort.

Then came the turning point in my life. I was in the Air Force and I received an assignment to South Korea. I had to leave my family behind and live in Korea for a year. I was required to live by myself in a small, plain barracks room. For the first month or so, everything was fine. My job kept me busy and I wrote and phoned home regularly. But then the loneliness hit. I would sit in my room during the weekends with absolutely nothing to do but feel miserable and lonely. I felt desperate and scared. I was at the bottom of life’s pit.

One day, with tears in my eyes, I sat on my pillow and prayed. I knew at that point that I couldn’t cope with the world without God’s help. I also realized that I had to help myself by approaching Zen with an honest effort. At that point, I picked a mediation method, worked hard to get the method right, and I stuck with it. I finally began to approach Zen as the hare being chased by the hound; I approached Zen knowing that my life depended upon it.

With my new attitude toward the chase, my meditation practice quickly improved and deepened. I don’t know how the rabbit felt when he safely “got to earth” but he couldn’t have been more euphoric than I felt after each of my meditation sessions. I pushed on and, using “right effort,” I achieved Samadhi within a few more months.

The Buddha spoke of right effort. He wisely pointed out that we are all subject to decay and that we must “seek our salvation with diligence.” If you’re like the hound, and see Zen as “just another meal among many,” you’ll give up too easily. When the newly learned meditation exercise doesn’t work after one or two sittings, you’ll move onto a new method, or even to a new religion.

To seek salvation with diligence is to approach Zen with the effort of the hare who is running for his very life. That’s what the Buddha meant by “right effort.” If you come to see Zen is as the hare sees it, as a race for salvation, you’ll stick with it until you’re safe in the hands of God. —— Zen Buddhist Order of Hsu Yun

QUOTE: A small temple high on a mountain
Clouds and low hanging mist, layers of peaks;
A freezing spring flows over small pebbles,
Pure snow falls from tall pines;
Asking about the Dharma:
I regard poetry as false,
Disciplining my body:
I see wine as indolence;
I’m not ready to give up wife and children,
But I will site a house close to the front peak.

– Du Fu——–

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: Is There a Fish That Can Climb Trees? The Australian walking fish is most unusual. In the water, it swims just like any other ordinary fish. But on land, this fish behaves as if it belongs there, for it actually walks! Its gills are bent in such a way that it can stroll out of the water and even climb up into the low branches on a tree and sit there for hours. This strange fish manages quite well on land and even munches on insects it finds in the trees. —–

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Sea Turtles! Ambassadors of the Sea

Earth’s seven species of sea turtle have survived more than 110 million years of evolution and geological change. Fascinating, charismatic and highly visible, they are bellwethers for the condition of the world’s oceans. As our oceans have been devastated by development and industry in the past century, so, too, have sea turtles suffered. Incidental capture in fisheries, destruction of habitat, pollution, consumption by humans and pollution are but a few of the forces that have endangered the biodiversity of marine ecosystems as a whole and the sea turtle in particular.

As such, the sea turtle is a precious ambassador — a strategic tool for engaging the public in marine conservation. Resounding the fate of the sea turtle to audiences across the globe, capitalizing upon the species’ unique character, the SWOT aims to generate far-reaching and long-lasting positive changes to the ways in which industries, cultures and individuals impact sea turtle life, oceanic ecosystems and marine biodiversity as a whole. Only through efforts by dedicated scientists, conservationists and sea turtle enthusiasts have sea turtles been safeguarded from extinction thus far. —–

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Animals and fishes have valuable lessons locked inside. Don’t throw them away—- as they may be the key to our future.

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Zentraveler discovers the medicine of Royalty!

Crinum Latifolium a member of the lily family has been revered by the Vietnamese for years as the medicine used exclusively by Royalty. In fact they have been so secretive and protective of their formula they didn’t export the product until recently. It’s benefits have been well researched and are making their way into the US markets. So instead of Ponce de Leon looking for the Fountain of Youth maybe he needed to adjust his compass to the fields and mountains of Vietnam.

“Crinum Latifolium – A leafy traditional Vietnamese herbal remedy, it was used in ancient times by the royalty to enhance longevity. It is currently used in Vietnam for a wide variety of health benefits in treatment for serious health conditions including prostate and ovarian disorders such as prostatitis, adenoma, benign prostate enlargement, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts and tumors. It is known to contain eleven different alkaloids and amino acids. Crinum latifolium also contains steroid saponins and antioxidants, supports cellular immunity, and has been researched as being an effective T-lymphocyte activator. It may also be used to assist the body in improving hypoxia, infection and chronic inflammation, detoxification, regeneration of tissues, hormone balancing and is particularly supportive to the prostate and ovaries”……

QUOTE: If you are a male and over the age of 50 it is socially correct to start your conversation with anyone who will listen on— How’s Your Prostrate? From that point on you will hear things you never wanted to know and then some. It’s amazing how such an organ the size of a walnut can be so complicated and cause men so many problems.

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: Just by changing your diet you can improve on your overall prostrate health. Eat lots of spinach, tomato products, hot peppers, deep water fish, and change over from a fatty, meaty diet to one with lots of vegetables and fruits. The Mediterranean Diet laced with pure olive oil is an excellent way to insure good health and avoid most of the western diseases, which include: heart problems, cancer, diabetes, and the list goes on and on.


ZENTRAVELER SAYS: If you have an opportunity to speak to God please ask him if he could re-design the prostrate so that it is more streamlined and efficient. Thanks in advance.

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Zentraveler treks to Isla Holbox, Mexico!

So you want off the beaten path, yet would like to be a part of a new discovery destination— then head to Isla Holbox, Mexico. What interested me about Isla Holbox is: It is directly across from Cuba and has the same fishing waters Ernest Hemmingway fished from the Cuban side. Now the next trick is to find the place. I love maps anyway— but following them sometimes can be quite difficult.

You simply take the directo bus from Cancun towards Merida ——- then change buses in a small mexican town —— then take another bus to another small town, where you take the ferry or hire a local to transport you across the open waters to Isla Holbox. ( you can also hire a local transport from the Cancun Airport to take you there directly) As you approach the Isla you will see hundreds of pink flamingoes lift off— giving you a pink imagery against the dramatic blue sky. It’s as if the chamber of commerce hired these flamingoes to welcome you to their island. It’s definitely a nice touch.

As you walk through Isla Holbox you will see the local fisherman, hundreds of dried fish hanging on tables, and folks going about their business at their own pace. A large stack of homemade tortillas will set you back 10 cents, beer is cheap and the people are friendly. I met an Italian couple who had retired there and a Swiss couple who built their little bungalow from scratch. The whisper number is don’t tell a living soul about this little oasis in Mexico.

Isla Holbox is a naturalist paradise. They have excellent birding tours in the back-country, fly-fishing opportunities to catch tarpon, and a good place– just to hang away from the tourist traps. If you are looking to turn the clock backward— Isla Holobox reeks of the ultimate laid back community. If Jimmy Buffet ever makes it here— it’s all over but the shouting.

“Isla Holbox is pronounced i-la holebosh – “x” in Mayan is pronounced “sh”.

A well kept secret not known to many Mexicans outside of the Yucatan – Isla Holbox was settled by pirates who intermarried with local Mayans living in the area. The descendants of the original 8 families still reside there today. Sort of like Pitcairn Island.

Isla Holbox has 1600 +/- residents. It is a true island 7 miles north of the top tip of the Yucatan Peninsula about 40 miles NW of Cancun. It’s approximately 7 miles long and 1 mile wide.

Its northern shore [facing the placid waters of the warm Gulf of Mexico] has become a secret hideout for Europeans, Canadians and Americans alike. Its like stepping back in time to the 50’s or 60’s.” Source——

So there you have it— if you like to explore, get off the beaten path and do some serious relaxation— why not head to Isla Holobox. Lobsters are cheaper than hamburgers, you can find excellent accommodations to fit your travel budget, and you are situated in a scenic fisherman’s village on the Gulf of Mexico. Bring your binoculars and of course wear your finest birding gear. The wildlife appreciates folks dressed in their finery. They do!

QUOTE: Birds of a feather flock together.

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: What do flamingos look like? Nearly everyone knows what flamingos look like —pink birds with long legs. You can see them at just about every zoo. You can find them in storybooks. Alice uses flamingos as croquet mallets in Through the Looking Glass (by Lewis Carroll). Images of flamingos, standing under palm trees, appear in paperweights and snow globes. Plastic flamingos make colorful lawn ornaments But did you know that some flamingos live high up in the Andes Mountains of South America? Flamingos can swim, and flamingos can fly. Ornithologists (scientists who sturdy birds) spent many years arguing whether flamingos are more like ducks, or more like storks, until they decided that flamingos belong in a group by themselves. There are 5 species of flamingos that occur throughout the world. The greater flamingo is as tall as a grown-up person is. The lesser flamingo is as tall as a first-grader. source—–


ZENTRAVELER SAYS: If I am a flamingo and I eat bight red shrimp all-day will I turn Pink? Wait until you are a Pink Flamingo and the answer will appear.

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Zentraveler on Hermit Meditating by the River!

Hermit Meditating by the River

A hermit was meditating by a river when a young man interrupted him.

“Master, I wish to become your disciple,” said the man.

“Why?” replied the hermit.

The young man thought for a moment. “Because I want to find God.”

The master jumped up, grabbed him by the scruff of his neck, dragged him into the river, and plunged his head under water. After holding him there for a minute, with him kicking and struggling to free himself, the master finally pulled him up out of the river. The young man coughed up water and gasped to get his breath.

When he eventually quieted down, the master spoke. “Tell me, what did you want most of all when you were under water.”

“Air!” answered the man.

“Very well,” said the master. “Go home and come back to me when you want God as much as you just wanted air.” —— Lykan


“The moon and the paper Are the same white.
The pupil of the eye and the ink, Both black.
This mysterious meaning Remains a circle,
Beyond the possibility Of understanding.”

– Obaku Sokuhi (1611-1671)

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: The word tulip has a rather odd origin. When the tulip was introduced to Europe, many gardeners saw a resemblance between the flower’s shape and Turkish head-wear, and they dubbed the flower “tulipan”, from “tuilbend”, a Turkish word for “turban”. From “tulipan” came the French word “tulipe” and the English word tulip. There is, as you can see, only a whimsical connection between tulips and two lips.


THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: The Laysan Teal, the world’s most highly endangered duck species, is thriving at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge three years after 42 of them were reintroduced to what was once part of their historic range. Trapped in the wild in 2004 and 2005 from their only remaining population on Laysan Island, the rare ducks were carefully transported 750 miles by ship to re-establish a second population. This year, there are about 200 ducks on Midway Atoll. —–

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: You aren’t who you think you are!

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Zentraveler uses hot peppers to offset the cold and flu season!

So you like it hot! Then hot it is! Use hot peppers often to ward off seasonal colds and flus. You can start by simply taking one fourth of a teaspoon of cayenne pepper and the juice from one half of a real lemon in 16 oz of water as a morning tonic. We keep seeing ads of the dreaded “Green Mucus” on television commericals and we know this causes us many complications and problems. So before you run to the doc or your local pharmacist use the cayenne pepper morning tonic as a part of your daily routine. We are going to make it so hot for “The Mucus Family” the only thing you will see is their vacancy going out of business sign.

The cayenne pepper has certain ingredients in the pepper that thins out your mucus and your congestion. As you learn to go through the peppers you can start with a mild garden variety and eventually work yourself up to halpeno pepper ice cream. Now that’s hot!

Montezuma added hot peppers to his hot chocolate, Bill and Hillary Clinton swear they haven’t had any recent colds because they indulge in hot peppers on a daily basis. Paris Hilton would probably say: “eating hot peppers is so hot.”

“The chili pepper, a hotly pungent variety of Capsicum was first cultivated by the people of Central and South America in around 3000BC. Columbus brought seeds back to Europe in 1493, and from there it has spread to the cuisines of the entire world. The pre-Hispanic Americans believed the chilli to contain medicinal qualities and modern science has confirmed the nutritional values, containing high levels of vitamins A and C, along with vitamins E and B1-3. (spelling of chili can be with one or two letter “l”s.)

Natural diversification and biotechnology have produced hundreds of varieties, differing greatly in hotness, size shape, and ranging in colors from orange to red to yellow to green. They can be eaten fresh, pickled, or preserved by drying in the sun. Perhaps the world’s most famous chilli is the Jalapeño, the stubby green variety from the city of Jalapa, on Mexico’s gulf coast. The Chilpotle chilli is a dried and smoked Jalapeño that is spicier than the green version and usually available in a pickled form. Other famous varieties of chilli include the extremely hot Habenero (or scotch bonnet), the birds-eye, the Thai, and the tiny Pequin, which is the fiery base for Tabasco sauce.

What is the hottest chilli? According to the Guinness Book of Records— it is the Red Savina pepper (a Habanyera cultivar). It was tested at 577,000 SHU. Since then there have been two credible claims of hotter chillis. Both of the varieties described are Naga chillies originating from the North West of India. They both seem to be Capsicum chinense, which is also the species that produced the Habanero. The foothills of the Himalayas also produces a smallish pumpkin shaped, orange variety that is reported to be as hot or hotter than the Nagas. Some of the local peoples refer to it as the Sikkimese Cherry Chilli.” ——

“Chili peppers contain a substance called capsaicin, which gives peppers their characteristic pungence, producing mild to intense spice when eaten. Capsaicin is a potent inhibitor of substance P, a neuropeptide associated with inflammatory processes. The hotter the chili pepper, the more capsaicin it contains. The hottest varieties include habañero and Scotch bonnet peppers. Jalapeños are next in their heat and capsaicin content, followed by the milder varieties, including Spanish pimentos, and Anaheim and Hungarian cherry peppers.

Red chili peppers, such as cayenne, have been shown to reduce blood cholesterol, triglyceride levels, and platelet aggregation, while increasing the body’s ability to dissolve fibrin, a substance integral to the formation of blood clots. Cultures where hot pepper is used liberally have a much lower rate of heart attack, stroke and pulmonary embolism.

Spicing your meals with chili peppers may also protect the fats in your blood from damage by free radicals—a first step in the development of atherosclerosis. Capsaicin not only reduces pain, but its peppery heat also stimulates secretions that help clear mucus from your stuffed up nose or congested lungs.

Chili peppers’ bright red color signals its high content of beta-carotene or pro-vitamin A. Just two teaspoons of red chili peppers provide about 6% of the daily value for vitamin C coupled with more than 10% of the daily value for vitamin A. Often called the anti-infection vitamin, vitamin A is essential for healthy mucous membranes, which line the nasal passages, lungs, intestinal tract and urinary tract and serve as the body’s first line of defense against invading pathogens and help boost your overall immunity against diseases.

Red chili peppers’ capsaicin, the compound responsible for their pungent heat, stops the spread of prostate cancer cells through a variety of mechanisms, indicates a study published in the March 15, 2006 issue of Cancer Research . Capsaicin triggers suicide in both primary types of prostate cancer cell lines, those whose growth is stimulated by male hormones and those not affected by them. In addition, capsaicin lessens the expression of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), inhibits the ability of the most potent form of testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, to activate PSA, and directly inhibits PSA transcription, causing PSA levels to plummet.

If you haven’t relaized the natural beneifts of hot peppers by now and you need one more reason to add hot peppers to your daily routine they also help you to lose weight. All that heat you feel after eating hot chili peppers takes energy–and calories to produce. Even sweet red peppers have been found to contain substances that significantly increase thermogenesis (heat production) and oxygen consumption for more than 20 minutes after they are eaten.

As the final kicker using hot peppers can also help with type 2 Diabetes. Making chili pepper a frequently enjoyed spice in your Healthiest Way of Eating could help reduce your risk of hyperinsulinemia (high blood levels of insulin)-a disorder associated with type 2 diabetes.

A little chili pepper can really perk up an omelet, add heat to a black bean/sweet potato soup, or transform an ordinary salad dressing. So, spice up your meals with chili peppers. Your body will need to make less insulin and will use it more effectively.——

“Most of the medicinal properties in chile peppers come from the capsaicinoids found in all species in the genus Capsicum. But it is the capsaicinoids that give chile peppers their heat. So the hotter the chile pepper the greater the benefit up to a limit, because remember, as with anything else, it is always possible to overdose.”

QUOTE: “You are what you eat! Or are you? ”

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: “Why Hot??? It seems that for the chilli plant to propagate it is best if birds, rather than mammals carry the seeds, the pain receptors that respond to capsaicin are missing in birds, hence the birds do not experience the discomfort that we and other mammals do. Isn’t nature smart. The scientific explanation is that capsaicin acts on a specific molecule on the surface of the pain sensing nerve fibres found in mammals causing a sensation of pain.”——


ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Hot peppers are so hot! Eat hot peppers until you see the sweat from your brow and you will be instrumental in beating the flu and cold season and enjoy good health and longevity.

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Zentraveler explores Mayan ruins in Copan, Honduras!

“Copán Ruinas is a tranquil oasis of ancient culture and sublime nature nestled in the foothills of western Honduras, just 7 miles from the Guatemala border. For years, Copán has been renowned for its magnificent Maya Ruins, a designated World Heritage Site believed by archeologists to be the cultural center, the Paris, of the Maya world.” —-chamber of commerce site of Copan Ruinas. You must see it to beleve it. It is out of this world!

The town of Copán Ruinas is a beautiful little village paved in cobblestone and lined with white adobe buildings with red-tile roofs… An aura of timeless harmony permeates the air.”
– The Lonely Planet Guide 2006 You should definitely place Copan Ruinas on your list as you travel around Honduras.

Bring plenty of film as you stroll through the Copan ruins of Honduras. The town is easy to get around, has excellent guided tours for the Mayan ruins and plenty of accommodations to fit the tourista and the budget minded. There is a large soccer field at the base of the town where the locals practice and play on a daily basis. If beef is your thing there are a number of outstanding restaurants serving excellent beefsteak as the main course. Honduras beef-cattle are free range and live off the rich green grasses in the valley.

In the town of Copan they have a skeleton on display, named “ole bones” at the local museum. He is certainly worth a look-see as you explore the town.

They grow some of the best coffee and tobacco in the region, which is exported to cigar and coffee markets around the world. If you want to go river rafting there are outfitters which can arrange a trip on one of the mountain rivers tumbling down through the valley. They also have numerous hot springs several kilometers from town, which the locals can hook you up with—- for an enjoyable nature-spa treatment.

It makes an excellent walk or hike to the ruins from the town of Copan or you can hire a taxi for the return trip. Bring plenty of water and pack a lunch as you will get the hungrys after walking around through the Copan ruins. As you stroll through the ruins you can see evidence of the sacrificial wall where they beheaded virgins for the benefit of the gods.

The ruins are not only majestic, but one of the earliest examples of art being carved into stone. They use the bright red and green jungle colors as a part of their vibrant society. They have a three story building partially unearthed that was being preserved like a tomb that is intricately carved to appeal to the gods. The large number of texts at Copán, nearly all on large stone stelae or altars, have given scholars a large amount of texts to be compared and studied, and these texts have played a significant role in the overall effort to break the Maya code.

At one time the Mayan city of Copan had over 25,000 population and dominated that part of Central America for its fierce warriors and hierarchy society. You can see different types of housing for the different classes within the Mayan culture. This Mayan ruin is an exceptional example for the freelance archeological buff or the very serious. It has been told there are miles of roads connecting the different Mayan cities throughout Central America and this was before the wheel was invented.

Some have compared the Mayan culture as the same time-period as the the Great Pyramids of Egypt. At any rate Copan Ruinas makes a great spot to learn about the history of the Mayan culture and realize what a great society they were– with many technological advances that would still be a wonder today.

QUOTE: “Remember, that the mind is like a parachute, it works best
when opened.” ——unknown

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: What’s So Magical About Magic Squares? All your troubles would be over if you had a magic square! At least that’s what people believed long ago in China, India, Greece, and Rome. A magic square is an arrangement of numbers in the shape of a square. The numbers are arranged so that the sum of each horizontal row, each vertical column, and each diagonal line are all equal. Magic squares were believed to possess mystical and magical powers, and were worn as talismans, or good luck symbols. Magic squares can contain 9 boxes, 16 boxes, 25 boxes, 49 boxes, 64 boxes, 81 boxes, and so on. ——

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Endangered Species! You can help save animals By Telling Others About the Web Site And Increasing Public Awareness! For the Rarest Info Around be sure and check out Who knows maybe you will see your name there someday. (homo-sapien John Doe ——- ——-)

ZENTRAVLER SAYS: Explore the Mayan ruins as part of your journey!

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Zentraveler on Smokey the Bear Sultra!

Who doesn’t like animal stories? I ran across this Buddhist Sultra written by Gary Snyder and I thought I would share it with you. It is not always the most complicated that is the most effective and powerful. You have to look under the hood and outside the box to get the real goodies.



Once in the Jurassic about 150 million years ago, the Great Sun Buddha in this corner of the Infinite Void gave a discourse to all the assembled elements and energies: to the standing beings, the walking beings, the flying beings, and the sitting beings–even the grasses, to the number of thirteen billion, each one born from a seed, assembled there: a Discourse concerning Enlightenment on the planet Earth.

“In some future time, there will be a continent called America. It will have great centers of power called such as Pyramid Lake, Walden Pond, Mt. Rainier, Big Sur, Everglades, and so forth; and powerful nerves and channels such as Columbia River, Mississippi River, and Grand Canyon. The human race in that era will get into troubles all over its head, and practically wreck everything in spite of its own strong intelligent Buddha-nature.”

“The twisting strata of the great mountains and the pulsings of volcanoes are my love burning deep in the earth. My obstinate compassion is schist and basalt and granite, to be mountains, to bring down the rain. In that future American Era I shall enter a new form; to cure the world of loveless knowledge that seeks with blind hunger: and mindless rage eating food that will not fill it.”

And he showed himself in his true form of


A handsome smokey-colored brown bear standing on his hind legs, showing that he is aroused and watchful.

Bearing in his right paw the Shovel that digs to the truth beneath appearances; cuts the roots of useless attachments, and flings damp sand on the fires of greed and war;

His left paw in the mudra of Comradely Display–indicating that all creatures have the full right to live to their limits and that of deer, rabbits, chipmunks, snakes, dandelions, and lizards all grow in the realm of the Dharma;

Wearing the blue work overalls symbolic of slaves and laborers, the countless men oppressed by a civilization that claims to save but often destroys;

Wearing the broad-brimmed hat of the west, symbolic of the forces that guard the wilderness, which is the Natural State of the Dharma and the true path of man on Earth:

all true paths lead through mountains–

With a halo of smoke and flame behind, the forest fires of the kali-yuga, fires caused by the stupidity of those who think things can be gained and lost whereas in truth all is contained vast and free in the Blue Sky and Green Earth of One Mind;

Round-bellied to show his kind nature and that the great earth has food enough for everyone who loves her and trusts her;

Trampling underfoot wasteful freeways and needless suburbs, smashing the worms of capitalism and totalitarianism;

Indicating the task: his followers, becoming free of cars, houses, canned foods, universities, and shoes, master the Three Mysteries of their own Body, Speech, and Mind; and fearlessly chop down the rotten trees and prune out the sick limbs of this country America and then burn the leftover trash.

Wrathful but calm. Austere but Comic. Smokey the Bear will Illuminate those who would help him; but for those who would hinder or slander him…


Thus his great Mantra:

Namah samanta vajranam chanda maharoshana Sphataya hum traka ham mam


And he will protect those who love the woods and rivers, Gods and animals, hobos and madmen, prisoners and sick people, musicians, playful women, and hopeful children:

And if anyone is threatened by advertising, air pollution, television, or the police, they should chant SMOKEY THE BEAR’S WAR SPELL:





And SMOKEY THE BEAR will surely appear to put the enemy out with his vajra-shovel.

Now those who recite this Sutra and then try to put it in practice will accumulate merit as countless as the sands of Arizona and Nevada.

Will help save the planet Earth from total oil slick.
Will enter the age of harmony of man and nature.
Will win the tender love and caresses of men, women, and beasts.
Will always have ripened blackberries to eat and a sunny spot under a pine tree to sit at.


…thus we have heard…

QUOTE: Hidden birds sing as cool and clear As a bamboo forest. Between swinging willows sun beams glimmer Like golden threads. Clouds return to this calm valley. The winds carry the fragrance of almonds. By sitting alone all day long I clear my mind of a thousand thoughts. To speak of this is beyond our words; Only by sitting under the quiet forest
Can we ever understand.

– Fa Yen (885-958) Courtesy of

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: What Is the Largest Single Cooked Food in the World? If you ever get to attend a wedding feast of the Bedouin tribes of Africa, you will be served the largest single dish of food in the world. It is a whole roasted camel stuffed in an Amazing way.

First, cooked eggs are stuffed into fish. Next, the fish are stuffed into cooked chickens. The chickens are then stuffed into roasted sheep. Finally, the roasted sheep are stuffed into a whole camel, roasted, and then served as one gigantic main dish for the wedding feast.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Water! Water is precious. The water we use often comes from streams and rivers where many other plants and animals depend upon it. We must be careful with our water use—- so that we don’t run the streams dry and damage the natural world. The average person uses 18 buckets of water per day most of which goes down the drain. Just by cutting out one bucket per person per day you are saving millions of gallons of water per day. Fill up a 16 oz. water bottle and place in the bottom of your commode. Each time you flush you are saving 16 oz of water. You do the math! —-this ads up quickly plus saves you money.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Your not who you think you are! Or are you?

Follow the Zentraveler blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free.

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Zentraveler uses apple cider vinegar as a tonic.

We all heard eat an apple a day to keep the doctor away. Things couldn’t be truer today. It has been discovered there are some ingredients in apples that wards off disease and is just plain good for you.

In order to help kill bacteria and keep your system running smoothly take one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar every day. This is a small price to pay to enjoy good health. We pay enough money running to the doctors and drugstores for every cold, flu, and infection that comes our way. Apple cider vinegar has been called the miracle cure for years. Maybe it’s not a miracle cure, but if it could help you in your overall health why not add it to your daily routine.

“Apple cider vinegar may well contain yet-to-be-identified phytochemicals (beneficial compounds in plants) that would account for some of the healing benefits that vinegar fans swear by. Scientists continue to discover such beneficial substances in all kinds of foods.

But beyond that possibility, there appear to be more tangible and realistic–albeit less sensational–ways that vinegar can help the body heal. Rather than being the dramatic blockbuster cure that we are endlessly (and fruitlessly) searching for, vinegar seems quite capable of playing myriad supporting roles–as part of an overall lifestyle approach–that can indeed help us fight serious health conditions, such as osteoporosis, diabetes, and heart disease.

If there is one thing vinegar fans, marketers, alternative therapists, and scientists alike can agree on, it’s that vinegar is high in acetic acid. And acetic acid, like other acids, can increase the body’s absorption of important minerals from the foods we eat. Therefore, including apple cider vinegar in meals or possibly even drinking a mild tonic of vinegar and water (up to a tablespoon in a glass of water) just before or with meals might improve your body’s ability to absorb the essential minerals locked in foods.”—–

QUOTE: “Above all don’t wish to become a future buddha. Your only concern should be, As thought follows thought, To avoid clinging to any of them.”

— Dogen

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: Why Do People Fear Black Cats?
The ancient Egyptians believed that cats were sacred, so they worshipped them. An Egyptian goddess called Pasht was said to have had the body of a woman and the head of a cat. Since the Egyptians believed that Pasht had nine lives, they also believed that all cats did.

The Egyptians were so respectful of black cats that when one died, it was preserved as a mummy, just as Egyptians rulers were. Cemeteries have been found with mummified bodies of thousands of black cats, plus mummified mice to accompany them into the next world! —–

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Save the Rivers! Your Mission: “Get ready, get set, go!” River conservation isn’t a race, at least not the kind in which you compete against other athletes. Protecting rivers is a race against time, and it’s a race we all need to “run” together. The sooner you get started, the better. So, get ready, get set, go! —national-geographic

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Eat an apple a day and for goodness sake don’t forget to take a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar for a daily tonic and health tune-up.

Follow the Zentraveler blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free.

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Zentraveler hangs in Granada, Nicaragua!

Talk about history, old buildings, and romance— Granada has it all! After landing in Managua, Nicaragua, we headed by bus to Granada, which we established as our base, while exploring the other areas of Nicaragua. If you ever wanted a piece of history— Granada is an excellent place to explore the culture and its people. It has many ornate churches, beautifully restored colonial buildings, tree lined streets, and has a central square like all Colonial cities were laid out, with their Spanish influence throughout Central and South America.

We checked into the hotel Alhambra conveniently located on the central square. After taking a relaxing swim in the pool we went out to dinner. Soft guitar music filled the room as the waiter brought us the menu’s to look over. The name of the restaurant is: “Restaurante Mediterraneo” located on Caimito Street, just east of the central square. They serve Spanish cuisine in a romantic atmosphere that evokes the splendor of a refined Granadan home, which is probably what the place was before it became a restaurant. Yes, they had real tablecloths, fresh flowers on every table, and even served you pitchers of water. The waiter was polite, extremely efficient, and made you wonder how nice it must have been to be on vacation back in the 1800’s when things were slow, but geared around service and customer satisfaction. The eating experience and food was superb. It made you appreciate the dinner that much more as you felt you were in the process of reliving history. If I was handing out 5 stars for a restaurant they would get a five star plus.

The next morning we took a horse and buggy (locally called a diligencia) to the edge of lake Nicaragua, where you pass by many open air restaurants fronting the lake. We hired a local, colorful, homemade motor boat to travel around the scenic islands. As we moved across the vast body of water, our boat captain explained, there are 365 islands rising up through the lake— formed millions of years ago by volcanoes. School children were paddling toward Granada as we weaved between the islands. A huge avocado tree leaned over the water on a vacant island with hundreds of green, ripe avocados— ready to be picked.

While we were at dinner we overheard several American gringos talking about purchasing a small island to build a house on. One of the islands is owned by the high priest from Nicaragua and many of the romantics and adventuresome folks have already staked their claim by purchasing their dream island. Foreigners can own land in Nicaragua. If interested use one of the reputable Real Estate companies to make your purchase.

Out of nowhere and through a undecodeable water maze the boat captain took us to a eco-lodge built right on the water. You could pick your fresh fish from a netted area built into the eco-lodge and have it served to you for lunch. It can’t get any fresher than that. If you want to be a part of the green ecotourism circuit— this is the perfect eatery and sleep-over. As if wildflowers, exotic tropical birds, the water passing almost underneath your bed wasn’t enough to get your creative juices flowing—- it’s those jungle noises that keep you on your toes as you drift off to dreamland.

Visitors to Las Isletas may feel like they are actually on a South Sea island. Islands are separated by ponds and the isletas are separated by canals where firshermen, seated patiently on Indian rafts, wait for a bite.

Our boat captain arrived at 12 noon the following day and took us on a different route on the way back to Granada. Lake Nicaragua is the largest lake in Central America. It is a magnificent lake structure and is one of the few lakes in the world that has fresh water sharks. The lake is full of fish and is the breeding grounds for the large tarpon that are caught on rod and reel on the Colorado River in Costa Rica. It is hard to fathom how large Lake Nicaragua really is: Lake Nicaragua is the 2nd largest in Latin America (falling a few square meters short of Lake Titicaca shared by Bolivia and Peru) at 8,264 km2 and is home to over 400 volcanic origin islands, including a dual volcano island that is the largest lake island in the world and three distinct archipelagos. Lake Nicaragua is separated from the Pacific Ocean by only a 17 km wide strip of land, but drains into the Caribbean Sea by means of the Rio San Juan’s 190 km length.

So there you have it— if you want a beautiful Colonial city in the Americas that is reasonably priced why not plan a tip to Granada, Nicaragua. While staying in Granada, you can go to language school, do a walking tour of Granada, explore the lake and it’s nearby native indian villages, live with the artists on thir own island, and maybe even like it so much you decide to move there. Most of the war-faring is over and Nicaragua has realized that tourism and having a stable government is where it is at.

QUOTE: “Those who awaken never rest in one place.
Like swans, they rise and leave the lake.
On the air they rise and fly an invisible course.
Their food is knowledge.
They live on emptiness.
They have seen how to break free.
Who can follow them?”

– Buddha in the Dhammapada——–

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: What Food Is a Prized Family Heirloom? A West Indian stew, consisting of meat, fish, vegetables, and highly seasoned spices, is considered a family heirloom. The family stew pot, known by the natives as pepperpot, is never completely emptied. Some of this good Caribbean stew is always left in the pot as the beginning of the next stew. Mothers bequeath their stew pots to their daughters, and some of these highly prized examples have been simmering a hundred years or more!—–

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Our Coral Reefs! The real responsibility for sustaining our coral reefs falls to all of us. You could start as a volunteer, a teacher, or just get involved via the internet. The reef needs your help.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: It’s all in zee travel! Now get moving you bunch of tree sloths.

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