Monthly Archives: April 2008

Zentraveler on clowning around about death!

Religion always has it’s serious side, however by studying Zen Buddhism it is evident that the opposite side is just as important and has played a big role with the Zen masters and scholars throughout history. If you ever watched the Dali Lama he is always laughing about something. Those in the know suggest that the level of enlightenment allows you this luxury and really means if you knew what I knew about the afterlife— you would laugh too.

This also translates into: Don’t take yourself too seriously and why even be concerned about earthy matters when all you need to do is live a good life and help the planet and everything will transform automatically.

When Steve Martin was the warm up act in Aspen, Colorado for The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band he used to wear the arrow through his head and through clowning around would get everyone in the audience to laugh. Then their was deadpan silence from Steve Martin who belted out: ” What are you laughing at—– you are all going to die anyway!”

The figure of the clown which stands out here in relation to the person of the master emerges just as clearly in the various tales of Zen monks at the point of death. The classic instance is that of Teng Yinfeng who, when he was about to die, asked, “I have seen monks die sitting and lying, but have any died standing?” “Yes, some,” was the reply. “How about upside down?” “Never have we seen such a thing!” Whereupon Teng stood on his head and died. When it was time to carry him to the funeral pyre he remained upside-down, to the wonder of those who came to view the remains, and the consternation of those who would dispose of them. Finally his younger sister, a nun, came and, grumbling at him, said, “When you were alive you took no notice of laws and customs, and even now that you are dead you are making a nuisance of yourself!” With that she poked him with her finger, felling him with a thud, and the procession carried him away to the crematorium.

In this way Teng, assuming what, from the remarks of his sister, was the not unfamiliar role of the clown, expressed his achievement of spiritual freedom, his liberation from a desperate clinging to life and anxiety over self, and therefore his transcendence of the problem of death. There is here an element of both a promethean laughter in the face of death and a comic freedom within the larger freedom of enlightenment. The realization of an authentic liberation, as in so much of the Zen tradition, is attested by humor, and the symbol of that liberation is the paradoxical figure of the clown. —–

QUOTE: “Do not sweep the fallen leaves, For they are pleasant to hear on clear nights In the wind, they rustle, as if sighing; In the moonlight, their shadows flutter. They knock on the window to wake a traveler; Covering stairs, they hide moss. Sad, the sight of them getting wet in the rain; Let them wither away deep in the mountains.”

– Kim Shi Sup (1435-1493)—–

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: In What Sport Did the Winners Win the Clothing of All the Spectators? During the 16th century, the Aztec Indians of Mexico played a game which was similar to our modern basketball. A large stone ring was placed high on the side of the stadium, and the players had to put a solid rubber ball through it.

The team with the greatest number of points was the winner and was entitled to the clothing of all the spectators at the game. The winning team was also entitled to the head of the captain of the losing team, who was executed. This tough game was called Ollamalitzi.—–

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Space! If we continue sending space-junk into the atmosphere you wouldn’t be able to send an arrow through the clouds with so much space-junk floating around.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: I have instructed my digestion system to digest and I have instructed my blood to travel around through my body. In reality we are all a part of the rather large universe and many things continue automatically without our interference.

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 reports on Nattokinase Enzyme to reduce blood clots!

As we get older we produce less of some of the very beneficial things that keeps us ticking. By now we have all heard of carrying extra aspirins in case you have a heart attack or stroke. That is excellent advice and may just save your life. Included below is some information on another natural ingredient that also thins blood and reduces blood clots.

The Nattokinase Enzyme natural ingredient made from fermented soybean has some impressive research results and might be something you would want to look into and carry with you for emergencies. It is affordable and can be purchased online or via health food stores. If you could afford the drug at the hospital that they give you for heart attack it would cost $20,000.00 and wears off rather fast. In addition to that a lot of hospitals don’t even carry the drug. So here is a natural enzyme that you can add to your health arsenal and maybe save your life someday.

We all spend money on house insurance, car insurance, health insurance, but maybe it’s time to be more pro-active and start making up your own medical emergency kit for travel and home use. It’s never to late to pack a small bag which could include iodine, for water purification, oregano oil for infections, baby aspirin, a good multi-vitamin, fish-oil, and Nattokinase for extra protection.

Nattokinase is an enzyme found in Nattō, a popular Japanese cheese made from fermented soybeans. This enzyme has been found to dissolve blood clots. Clots that form inside a blood vessel in the absence of a wound may restrict the blood flow and lead to heart attack or stroke. Nattokinase can diminish this risk.

According to legend, about a thousand years ago, the warrior Minamoto no Yoshiie found and tasted boiled soybeans that had been left on straw and had fermented. That was the discovery of Nattō. It is believed that by the end of the Edo period (1603-1867), Nattō had become a regular part of Japanese cuisine in some areas. It is no secret that the Japanese live longer, have less cardiovascular disease and are not affected by heart attack and stroke as frequently as people in the Western world. Many now believe that Nattō has been the secret to their well-being.—–

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

QUOTE: “Lake water enters the bamboo fence, Mountains surround the cottage. A recluse’s life avoids this world. The unused door hides behind A green moss hue; When a stranger passes, The white birds fly in alarm. Selling herbs, I taste and compare But charge no price. I do some gardening, But love to do it unplanned. Why is the wooded path leading To T’ien-chu monastery Still in autumn Deeply dreaming in blue? ”

– Lin Pu —–

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: What is the Deadliest Fish in the World? The harmless-looking silver and brown speckled piranha is the deadliest fish in the world. This blood-thirsty fish of South America’s Amazon River has jaws containing triangular-shaped teeth as sharp as razor blades. A school of these meat-eaters can strip an animal or a human being down to a skeleton in just a few minutes.

Because the piranha has a huge appetite, it will go after any bait on a fisherman’s hook. But once it is hooked and unable to free itself, the rest of the school of piranhas will strip its bones clean too.

South American natives use the piranha’s sharp teeth as tips for their arrows!——

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: “Don’t worry about saving Earth; Save ourselves! Here’s a tip for everybody wailing about saving our planet: Weep not for Earth, but weep for ourselves and our children. Earth needs no saving. We do. We’re nothing to the Earth. Species come. Species go. We won’t be the first or the last to consume and excrete ourselves into a crash.”—–Frank Keegan

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Make sure you carry baby aspirin when you travel plus why not keep Nattokinase. When the custom inspector pulls these out at a routine airport inspection you simply reply: “Nattokinase!” He either scows, smiles, or throws you in the pokey for observation.

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 visits the Mayan Ruins in Tulum, Mexico!

When jets land in Cancun, Mexico from Europe and the United States a lot of the folks immediately set out to explore the Mayan ruins in the area. One of the best combination trips for ecology and Mayan ruins is to head south by bus to Tulum. The distance is 81 miles and the trip takes approximately one and half hours by car and two hours by bus. A good rest stop is to visit the Crocodile Park along the way….just make sure you are not on the menu.

At the vicinity of Tulum they have a variety of overnight accommodations and restaurants. You can choose from an elaborate oceanfront hotel to a campground with small huts and hammocks. Tulum Ruins day tickets are available at reasonable costs and you can either walk or ride by tram to the site. Tulum has a Museum near the site depicting some of the ceremonial artifacts and history of the area. It is very educational to see how the early Mayan folks lived and worshipped along the coast. Don’t forget to pack your bathing suit. You can drop right over the bank at the Tulum site and swim in turquoise blue waters.

Tulum is known as the walled city. Tulum’s greatest attraction is its location. It stands on a bluff facing the rising sun looking out on views of the Caribbean that are nothing less than spectacular. In Maya, Tulum means “Wall”, and the city was christened thus because it is a walled city; one of the very few the ancients ever built. Research suggests it was formerly called Zama or “to dawn” in its day, which is appropriate given the location. It seems “Tulum” is the name given the site following a visit by the explorers Stephens and Catherwood in 1841, just before the beginning of the Caste War in 1847, long after the city was abandon and fell to ruins. They ordered trees cleared and Catherwood made illustrations of temples, later to be published in their famous book “Incidents of Travel in Yucatan”. Juan José Gálvez is actually credited with Tulum’s rediscovery in 1840.

Brief history of the site The earliest date lifted from the site is A.D. 564 (the inscription on a stele) This places Tulum within the Classic period, though we know that its heyday was much later (1200 – 1521 A.D.) during the Late Post-classic period. Tulum was a major link in the Maya’s extensive trade network. Both maritime and land routes converged here. Artifacts found in or near the site testify to contacts that ranged from Central Mexico to Central America and every place in between: copper rattles and rings from the Mexican highlands; flint and ceramics from all over the Yucatán; jade and obsidian from Guatemala and more. The first Europeans to see Tulum were probably Juan de Grijalva and his men as they sailed reconnaissance along the Eastern coast of Yucatán; in 1518. The Spaniards later returned to conquer the Peninsula unwittingly bringing Old World diseases which decimated the native population. And so Tulum, like so many cities before it, was abandoned to the elements. ——source

There are hundreds and thousands of burial sites spread throughout the Mayan Empire. The entire area is full of history, stories, cenotes and evidence of a past civilization. If you are really serious about the Mayan history and culture you can include Mexico, Belize, Honduras, and Guatemala as travel destinations.

You can purchase a Mayan Map which includes a brief history and description of most of the Mayan sites or you can research the internet and map out your own travelogue. This type of learning tourism surely beats hanging at the Holiday Inn pounding beers and shots down with your friends. Maybe there is hope yet—- who knows?

The Tulum site is one of the most beautiful Mayan sites located directly above the blue Caribbean sea. It has been reported when Herman Cortes and the Spanish Conquistadors sailed up the coast they considered entering at Tulum. They were turned away by the savage looking Mayan warriors never to return. Cortes later made it father up the Yucatan coast and crossed by land where he overtook a portion of the Aztec Empire in the region now known as Mexico City.

Herman Cortes and his Conquistador’s came ashore on the Yucatan Peninsula in the spring of 1519 on horseback with firearms and swords, the local Indians had never seen a horse nor firearms before and initially thought that man and horse were one and the same and were some type of supernatural beast. And as it turned out Montezuma mistook these white bearded invaders as a return of the gods and let their guard down which helped in their demise.

After spending a Day at Tulum Archeological site you can head south through the Sian Kan Reserve, one of Mexico’s most unique pieces of land, containing the ecological jungle, which is world famous for it’s diversity of plant and animal life.

On my first trip I was hosted by the Department of Agricultural who served platters of lobster for lunch. It’s days like this in your travel experiences you just look up at the sky and give thanks. The preserve is a fly-fishing destination for snook, permit, and bonefish. You can arrange for guide service via the internet or you can adventure on your own with your backpack and end up at some unique places along the way. The land narrows and in some spots is so thin you have water on both sides. If you just wanted to drop off of the earth for a while— all you would need would be your backpack, poncho, and hammock, plus a good Army Swiss knife. You could live well off of the cangrejos,(land crabs) lobsters, coconuts, iguanas, and when you really wanted to splurge you could purchase some pavo silvestre (turkey) tacos for five cents a piece at one of the local cantinas.

A fellow traveler picked me up at the entrance of Siam Kan Reserve. The road is dirt and quite bumpy and rough. The trip takes several hours to arrive at the tip of the peninsula in the fishing town of Punta Allen. The dirt road runs the length of the peninsula and offers plenty of opportunities to stop at local establishments along the way. Siam Kan Reserve has the elusive and beautiful Jaguars which play such a big part in Mayan culture and history. The reserve is also loaded with many plants, trees, butterflies, and wild flowers and hosts a variety of jungle animals and reptiles. The entire Siam Kan Reserve is an excellent birding area— yielding many different types of birds with their colorful plumage set against the green jungle. You can arrange for birding expeditions via the internet or do your own birding adventure.

The green lizard Iguana is a local delicacy eaten with fried rice. I have eaten it and I would say, if someone hadn’t told me, I would have assumed it was arroz con pollo. (chicken with rice) Iguana basically tastes like chicken. To order simply say: “Arroz con Iguana and hold the mayo!” make sure they serve the green variety. I have been told they are sweeter to the taste. En-route we stopped at his friends campground, where he purchased a beer and gave it to the monkey chained in the backyard. We see things like this on our travels and sometimes we cringe. We also have to look at the other side of the equation and respect their way of life without being judgmental. Maybe this will spur you on to either volunteer your time or your money to help our planet. Sometimes it takes the shock factor to get us off our easy chairs and take action.

He proceeded to give the monkey a bag of M and M’s, which he gobbled up immediately, and began running and screeching up and down the palm trees —-and just think the monkey didn’t even have a choice of this man-made invention. It may be years before Monkeys will have their own Starbucks, Gin Joints, Cigarettes, and Junk Food and enough Ritalin and Prosaic to bring them back to an even temperament.

Punta Allen is at the tip of a small peninsula, at the entrance to the Bahía de la Ascensión. It makes a nice night or two stop over after the bumpy 2 hour ride through the Sian Ka’an reserve. The town is small and if you continue through on the Punta Allen road you dead end at the lighthouse on the point. I got the key from the lighthouse keeper who lives immediately behind the lighthouse and climbed to the top. What a feeling! I felt like Columbus himself as I looked in the distant and couldn’t see another man-made structure— Just a variety of bait-fish, blue skies, water and fish feeding everywhere—- along with the wading birds getting there fair share.

Punta Allen is a tiny lobster fishing village with just 500 residents, and there really isn’t much here but beaches and fishing. It is quiet and small enough to explore on foot. The village is part of the Sian Ka’an reserve, and locals work to preserve the beauty and health of their section of the park. Most of the people living in town are Mayan descendants of residents from thousands of years ago. They make their living fishing, and increasingly, through tourism.—–

So there you have it! If you want to get off the beaten path, where you can explore an Ancient Mayan Ruin, travel for miles through the Siam Kan Reserve on a birding, fishing or exploring adventure, and swim, hike, and just hangout in your hammock—- this just might be your cup of travel tea.

QUOTE: “There is a destination that must be reached within a day. One person endures great suffering and continues to walk with the aid of a stick. The other person decides to rest on a rock because it is too much for him. When he lies down and looks up, he sees clouds drifting in the wind and hallucinates that the rock he is on is also flying in the air. Cheerfully fantasizing that he has already reached his destination, he wakes up to find that he is just where he was before. The first person who continued to walk has already completed his trek. Although the second one finds himself far from his goal, he thinks it is useless to regret his error.”

– Parable of Shakyamuni —–

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: What fish travels Up to 1000 Miles Just To Lay Its Eggs?

The salmon is this determined navigator. Not only will it travel great distances to reach the place where it was born, but it swims against strong currents while doing so.

After salmon are spawned, or hatched from their eggs, in a stream, they swim out to the ocean, where within a year or two, they grow to lengths of four feet and weights of about 70 pounds. But when the egg laying season arrives, these same salmon return to their fresh-water streams and fight an upstream current all the way. They fight rapids and leap over waterfalls, some as high as 15 feet. During this journey, they do not even stop to eat.

When the salmon finds the exact stream in which it was born, found by its highly developed sense of smell, it lays its eggs in the bed of the stream. Some salmon die in those very streams, tired from the long and difficult journey, but others make the return trip to the oceans.—–

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Jellyfish! They look so much like plastic bags the fish are trying to eat plastic and as you all know that just doesn’t taste very good. If we save enough Jellyfish there will plenty to go around.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: You can change the world by one thought at a time, by one person, by one family, by one tribe, by one nation. Since we are all interconnected why don’t we eliminate the need for military and guns and spend our time, money and energy on creating a better universe.

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 slept with the Jersey Devil!

Just when you thought life couldn’t throw anymore curve-balls your car breaks down in the Jersey Swamp! It’s pouring down rain as you search for cover. You are one miserable dude. You know that this misery is some-kind of Zen Karma chasing you. You might as well go with the flow. You could easily freeze to death or catch pneumonia or hypothermia. My fingers are tingling as I close my eyes and drift off to sleep. She is big and furry chasing me into the labyrinth— I can barely run! She is catching up to me as I run in slow motion. My legs are exhausted as if caught in a 6 foot snowdrift or a bear-trap. I an breathing hard and fear this is the end.

Sugarplums dancing in my head as I am invited through the secret briar patch door to sample some home cooking and finally get warm. Animal like characters dressed in tuxedo tails took their places as they began to dance around the campfire. If you promise you won’t give up our location you can spend the night with the Jersey She- Devil! Half human- half animal there she stood in her natural beauty as she traversed through the fire as if it was cotton candy. Is this a nightmare, a bad dream or is it real? What is real? I think I’ll grab another peanut-butter sandwich and go back to bed or am I heading to the other-side.

Whoever said life is a journey wasn’t kidding! I am what I am— what I am!

QUOTE: “Inside the sacred fence before which I bow there must be a pond filled with clear water; As my mind-moon becomes bright I see its shadow reflected in the water.”

– Daito Kokushi

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: Why do Cannibals eat people? To civilized people, the practice of cannibalism, or eating human flesh, is a horrible thought! Yet it was practiced by many primitive tribes and may still be practiced in some parts of the world today.

These tribes didn’t eat human flesh because they liked it; they did it because it was usually part of a religious observance or part of a sacred ceremony.—–

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Your Dreams! Be like Sigmund Freud and keep a pad on your night-stand and immediately jot down any dream occurrences. These dream sequences can be later used for dream analysis and maybe someday you will wake up.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Is life real or a dream? Possibly a combination little Grasshopper! Now get back to your chores and your Zen meditation practice.

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 on the health benefits of Aloe Vera!

By now we have probably all heard of aloe vera and many have seen it in plant form. My aunt Lillian had it growing in pots all around her house and would slice off a leaf and put the cool aloe vera directly on any burns, cuts, poison ivy or wounds. It’s soothing ability made you run for aloe vera every time you had a pain or itch. Since that time I have heard of huge commercial aloe vera farms in Africa and have been told by health food store owners this is one of the best things you can drink for a variety of aliments.

So there I was cruising through the Publix Grocery store when I spotted a gallon of Aloe Vera in the drink center for $6.95. Rather than purchase from the tv or over the internet, I simply purchased the gallon of Aloe Vera and started to drink at least eight ounces a day. I not only feel better, but I am told this helps lubricate your joints and cleans your colon. Thinking to myself— if anything can heal that fast on outside wounds it would definitely be good internally and make a good inexpensive tune-up tonic for yourself. The brand is Fruit of the Earth which is the nations’s largest manufacturer of pure Aloe Vera Juice located on the web at:

For more than 3,500 years, healers and physicians have sung the praises of this fragrant desert lily. Pictures of this juicy, succulent plant have been found on the walls of the temples of Egypt, where it was believed to have been used in the embalming process. Alexander the Great was reputed to have conquered the island of Socotra in the fourth century B.C., in order to acquire the beautiful violet dye produced by the species of Aloe (socotrine) grown there. The Greek physician Dioscorides wrote of its benefits to heal wounds and treat hemorrhoids, and the Romans also used the plant to help heal wounds. Aloe originated in southern Africa, and many varieties of this perennial are now cultivated throughout Africa, the Mediterranean and Caribbean regions, and in many countries of South and Central America and Asia. Although there are nearly five hundred varieties of this perennial plant, only Aloe Vera is considered to be the “true” curative healer. Some of Aloe Vera’s constituents include beta-carotene, beta-sitosterol, lignins, saponins, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, amino acids and the important antioxidant vitamins (A, C, E and B1, B2 and B3).

Cleopatra used Aloe Vera as a beauty treatment, and today this remarkable emollient is still used to smooth wrinkles, heal skin irritations, soothe burns (including sunburn) and draw out infection from wounds. Aloe Vera has attracted the interest of modern physicians for its ability to heal radiation burns.

Aloe Vera is a powerful laxative and known to be one of the finest body cleansers, removing morbid matter from the stomach, liver, kidneys, spleen and bladder and is considered to be the finest colon cleanser known. It will not promote “gripe” (sharp pains and grumbling in the bowels) when used as a laxative, and it is also less likely to cause dehydration from such use.

Aloe is potentially helpful in the treatment of Type-2 diabetes and does not cause weight gain, a common side effect in some diabetes medications. The herb also promotes the absorption of nutrients through the digestive tract and normalizes blood sugar.

Indian Ayurvedic physicians highly recommend the use of Aloe internally as a drink that acts as an astringent for hemorrhoids, in addition to stimulating fertility in women.

In test tube studies, acemannan, a potent immune-stimulating compound found in Aloe, was shown to be active against HIV. In people with AIDS, it soothes the lining of the digestive tract, increasing nutrient absorption. University Maryland researchers found another compound in Aloe, aloe-emodin (responsible for its laxative effect), which appears to kill the viruses that cause herpes and shingles.

Aloe juice also contains aloemannan, a complex sugar that concentrates in the kidneys, stimulates the growth of healthy kidney cells and slows rate of crystal formation.

Aloe Vera soothes the gastrointestinal tract and eases peptic ulcer inflammation caused by excess acid, aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs.

Ingested, Aloe helps to lower cholesterol, increases blood-vessel generation in the lower extremities of people with poor circulation, soothes stomach irritation and promotes healing.

A medically active complex sugar in Aloe stimulates and regulates various components of the immune system, and some clinics have used Aloe Vera to increase the efficacy of chemotherapy treatments when used with other chemotherapy agents. Aloe protects against skin-damaging X Rays – an effective antioxidant that absorbs free radicals caused by radiation. It also reduces inflammation resulting from radiation therapy and stimulates cell regeneration.

Applied topically, Aloe Vera is known to rejuvenate wrinkled, sun-aged skin, and will stimulate cell regeneration. Application also promotes the healing of sores, insect bites, cuts and burns, and is an effective treatment against psoriasis and eczema. Aloe contains enzymes that relieve pain, and as a mild anesthetic, it relieves itching and swelling. Its topical application will help burns from scarring. Aloe Vera is an astringent and emollient; it is antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial.

A tea made from the dried juice of Aloe Vera Leaf makes a fine mouthwash, effective against cold sores and also a wash for the eyes. ——–

Aloe vera plant has been used as powerful healing plants since many years. This cactus like plant or medical plant which contains green shaped leaves and the gel is extracted out of this plant and was brought from Africa to North America in the 16 th century. There are number of healing benefits which is provided by the aloe vera plant.

The aloe vera gel is used mainly for healing wounds. These plants are also grown by many people in their homes as houseplants especially in temperate climates. The leaves of aloe vera are used in all types of healing wounds and provide various benefits.

The gel which is extracted from aloe vera plant is used as a first aid for sunburns, eczema, burns, insect bites, wounds and treating fungal infections. It acts as an antifungal and is a very good treatment for healing acne, athletes foot, mouth sores and tonsillitis. It contains white crystalline oxidation product which stimulates cell regeneration and provides such healing properties.

As a medication, aloe vera is beneficial in the treatment of bronchial congestion. The juice which is derived from the whole leaf is helpful in healing numbers of digestive disorders. The leaves of aloe vera are good for chronic constipation. They are useful for poor appetite and stimulate bile flow.

Aloe vera plant is beneficial for uterus, liver, ulcers, colon and hemorrhoids disorders. Aloe vera not only provides healing effect to the person but it also returns the bowls to the normal position. The regular use of aloe vera gel and extract keeps the colon clean.

It is also considered as the best natural moisturizers. It is used for preserving the skin against the harmful effects of the sun’s rays. Aloe vera is used in many hair and cosmetic products for healing the wounds.

It also gives shine to the skin and the face looks very bright and charming and has a soft sensation. It is mainly used as an herbal remedy for the detoxification and reproductive system. It is helpful in speeding up the healing process of burns and other conditions.

The aloe vera gel is also rubbed on the skin of the person to reduce redness. Rubbing the leaves of the aloe vera on the cuts in the skin which prevents from infection and increases the healing process by temporarily act like a bandage. Because of its moisturizing and healing benefits to the skin, aloe vera plant is widely used by many cosmetic companies and added in their products.——

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

QUOTE: “Each and every spring, Blossoms gave my mind its Comfort and pleasure: Now more than sixty years Have gone by like this.”

– Saigyo (1118-1190)——

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: How did the Vampire Bat get its name? Because bats like to roost in dark caves and come out at night, they are greatly feared and misunderstood animals. The bat that is probably feared the most is the so-called vampire bat, which is native to South and Central America.

This bat is only three inches long, but it feeds on the blood of larger warm-blooded animals such as goats, chickens, cattle, and sometimes humans. The bat’s worst feature is that it is a transmitter of diseases such as rabies.

The legend of the vampire, which is the soul of a dead person who stalks the country looking for a victim from which to suck blood, existed in Europe long before the blood-sucking South American vampire bat was known to those people. In the 1700s, explorers to South and Central America related stories about bats that sucked blood. These stories became exaggerated, and it was then that all vampires became thought of as bats.

There are 2,000 varieties of bats, and most of them eat insects!——

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: THE MOUNTAINS! Large mining corporations are destroying our mountains in West Virginia, Kentucky and other Appalachian states by blowing the top of the mountains off and letting the runoff cause floods and ruin our pure streams.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Drink your Aloe Vera for great health benefits.

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 chills in a backpackers hostel in Isla Mujeres, Mexico!

Are you like a fellow American who hopped the train, rode the rails from Texas, and somehow found the least expensive place to stay in a Mexican paradise? According to Mike he stayed in the Isla Mujeres Backpackers Hostel nearly three years. If it isn’t entered into the Guinness Book of World Records— It probably should be. He paid one dollar a day, which translated to $30.00 a month to live in paradise, plus he had to pay for his food, which cost him two dollars a day. The rest of the benefits came from fellow travelers sharing their beer etc.

So for a grand total of three dollars a day which is 90 dollars a month— let’s add in emergency items $10.00, and he has lived there for approximately 100 dollars a month, which is 1200 per year times three, which is 3600 dollars to live in paradise for three years. Well that’s his story! We all have one. As it was told by management, he left in the middle of the night owing the hostel owners two or three months back rent plus a tally at the food bar.

Do we Americans every get enough of ripping people off throughout the world? No wonder we are getting a bad reputation. While we travel we should all be ambassadors of our Country and try to give more than we take. It’s a simple rule that we all should follow while traveling about.

Isla Mujeres is only minutes from the resort town of Cancun and was the sacred area where the Mayan Women were instrumental in elaborate fertility ceremonies. It has been reported that the women did all of the work and the men drank beer and fished. Who would disrupt such a culture?

At any rate you take a ferry to get there and let the adventure begin. A scenic fisherman’s village with funky fish restaurants, streets for shopping, beaches to sunbathe, and an idyllic island that explodes when tourists come from Cancun, but otherwise is a sleepy village, where you can walk and find everything you need. There are some beautiful resorts dotted around the island or you can stay right in town with some of the less expensive accommodations.

You can either rent a motor scooter or travel by golf cart for the entire distance of the island. When you travel by golf-cart you can purchase a package which includes a typical Mexican lunch on the banks of the backwater of the Caribbean. At the luncheon you sit at picnic tables and eat with the local Mexicans, where you learn about their culture and heritage.

At the extreme southern end of the island they were shooting a television commercial using the dramatic rocks against the sea splashing water high up on the cliffs. Talk about a photo shoot— with models dressed in flowing pastel gowns against the brilliant blue backdrop. That will sell almost anything—- I only hope they don’t sell their soul before big developers take over.

The water is a brilliant jet blue, where you can swim and find your own private pool, where the water laps around you like a jacuzzi. You can arrange to go sport fishing with professional guides and will fish some of the best waters in the Caribbean. They have guides set up on the Northern most point of the island. You can also rent snorkeling gear and swim in some of the purest, blue water in the world. And If you won the lottery or money plain doesn’t matter, why not rent a villa with a bridge located on it’s own tiny piece of land surrounded by turquoise clear waters.

As the sun starts to go down in the late afternoon you will see the backpackers hostel visitors head for the long beach bar, equipped with rope chairs and a fantastic view of the Caribbean. Thinking you might have swallowed too much spring water, you see a monkey in a swim suit hop up on a bar stool. One of the tourists hands the monkey a fresh brewski. He also hands his owner-handler a fresh brewski. Owner and monkey kick back and enjoy a few beers as the evening progresses.

You see this native Mexican didn’t have the advantage of graduating from the London School of Economics, but I can assure you he will drink for free for the rest of his life and has a good time enjoying himself and meeting new and old fellow travelers every evening for the magnificent sunsets at the bar. Shakespeare said it: “The entire world is a stage!” and someone recently said: “Everyone is selling something.”

The following day I am rubbing my eyes in the bright sun, when I see the monkey and his owner ride a bicycle through town and stop at the local market. You guessed it! But tell me this isn’t funny looking! The monkey and his owner come our of the market with a large brown bag full of vegetables and edibles. The owner gets on the bike, the monkey gets on the bike behind the owner and hands the brown bag to the monkey. The monkey proceeds to hold the brown bag under his left arm against his chest and puts his right arm around his owner. Before they take off on their bicycle, the owner reaches in the brown bag— peels two bananas, puts one in his mouth and puts a banana in the monkey’s mouth and off they go. I might add the monkey is wearing a different colored swim suit today. It pays to be fashionable I always say!

So if you want a different island experience and would like to spend some time there— Isla Mujeres may be just what the travel doctor ordered. They have different places for rent to suit most budgets, wonderful weather, very good restaurants, good fishing, an outstanding food market, inexpensive transportation, and just a great place to chill. Plus Who knows— maybe you can marry one of the Mexican Isla Mujeres ladies and drink beer and fish for the rest of your life.

QUOTE: “The unenlightened person does not understand his own true nature, does not realize the Pure Land in his own body, and thus petitions all over. The enlightened person never differs no matter where he is. For this reason the Buddha says, “Wherever I may be I am always in comfort and bliss…If only your mind is pure, your own nature is itself the Pure Land of the West.”

– Platform Sutra——

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: How long have people been eating candy? Pictures and written records show that candy was made and eaten in Ancient Egypt over 4,000 years ago. These records show that honey, figs, and dates were the chief sweetening ingredients, since sugar was not yet known. As the taste for candy spread, each tribe had its own candy-maker, who guarded his secret recipes very closely. ——

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Lithium Batteries, GE new saver light bulbs, electronic waste! Since you almost need a creed from the government and permits from the manufacturer and at least a nuclear waste permit from Russia— might as well save the stuff until they figure out what to do with the potentially hazardous, and dangerous waste created by man.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Downsize until you have the Basics!

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Zentraveler on the Great Blue Heron!

Fables not only mimic life they have been handed down in story-form since the beginning of civilization. You have the Crocodile dance in Africa, you have the Eskimo Bear dance, you have the Snakes of the Sea Celebration in the South Pacific and legends worked into our history and civilization depicting the animal influence on our culture.


There he was in all of his splendor with his plumage gently blowing in the wind. He lifts his one foot and creeps toward a pod of small minnows. They spot his large beak making a shadow and swim to safety. He stands there in the midst of a feeding frenzy and passed up every variety of fish. That one is too small, that one is too large, that one is two wide, that one has a stripe down his side and I don’t like stripes.

Still standing on one foot he hasn’t made a muscle move for over an hour. Where does he hide his other foot? Does he use hydraulics? Fish swim in and out and fly across the eddy being chased by larger fish. There’s one that looks pretty good. OOP’s I missed him as he dunks his beak like a spear-fisherman in hopes of catching dinner. I must be losing my touch how did he swim away?

As seconds turned into minutes, and minutes turned into hours, and hours turned into days, our Great Blue Heron turned down hundreds of chances looking for the perfect fish. History will show that our magnificent equipped Great Blue Heron eventually turned into a skeleton and starved to death.

The moral of the story is you only have so many chances in life and unless you step up to the board and take a chance—— your perfectionist tendency will ruin the very thing you are looking for.

QUOTE: “Nowhere is there place To stop and live, so only Everywhere will do: Each and every grass-made hut soon leaves Its place within this withering world.”

– Saigyo (1118-1190) —–

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: Who Stuck The Stick in Slapstick?
The expression “slapstick comedy” today refers to low, rough humor, rather than the kind that uses words to put across a joke. Typical examples of slapstick are a comic fall and a custard pie in the face.

The word “slapstick” goes back to the 17th century Italian pantomime theater. Because pantomime uses no words, the clowns had to use actions to get laughs.

One of these actions was the striking of the seat of the pants of other characters with special kinds of sticks that made loud slapping noises. ——

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: The Great Blue Heron. The Louisiana Heron, The Little Blue Heron, the Night Heron, while you on a saving roll— why not save all of the Herons. They is very nice to have in the neighborhood.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Start living by dropping your excessive compulsive attitude on perfection.

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Zentraveler drinks 8 glasses of water per day!

How many times have you read that it is necessary to drink at least eight glasses of purified water per day. There is only way to do it! Purchase eight 12 oz glasses and fill them from morning until night. When you get up in the morning you can take your first glass as a tonic and then take the rest throughout the day. The first glass in the morning consists of the squeeze of one fourth of a lemon plus add one fourth teaspoon of cayenne pepper. This cleans your arteries, takes care of mucus and is a good general tonic.

Why drink water if I am drinking coffee, tea, and colas all day —–doesn’t that count? Not really! You still need your eight glasses of water to avoid dehydration, to eliminate waste via your skin plus the other outlets set up on your body.

My biology teacher Mr. Adams explained water is so important, if you had your choice in the desert of only two products, which you could live the longest on the answer is: water and peanut-butter. Since we all know we need to drink more water why don’t we? It’s really a personal hang-up we have developed along the way. It is so convenient to just grab a coke at Mc Donald’s or find something in the vending machines.

Just ask any model who relies on her perfect skin and body tone what her secret is and I already know— it’s purified water and lots of it! Every-time you are hungry and try to give into the potato chip munches— go for a cold glass or bottle of purified water. It will trick the brain and the stomach to making you feel full.

A very large person, weighing just under 500 lbs, came into my health spa and was told to drink huge amounts of water, shift to carrots, and celery, and eat good protein like, non-fat skinless chicken, fish, and all the salads you can eat. Use olive oil and vinegar for dressing and like a real miracle he dropped over 100 lbs within three months. This weight loss secret alone is worth millions of dollars to our soceity and our pockebooks.

So if you want to flush the poisons and diseases out of your body, glow like a Hollywood model, and feel like a million pesos— then simply make up your mind here and now to drink at least eight glasses of water for the rest of your life. As Larry the Cable guy would say: “Get er done!”

QUOTE:Water, water, everywhere! Forget about it—- and start drinking your eight glasses per day.

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: Eat an apple a day to keep the Doctor away plus drink pure water for longevity and a healthful life. You knew it, but you don’t do it! Tisk, Tisk, shall I grab my flogging stick?

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: YOUR MONEY! When you go to a restaurant order water with lemon to save an average of three times per week times 52 = 156 times $2.00 = $312.00 per year.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: You are what you drink! Don’t be a lounge lizard and Drink pure water!

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Zentraveler experiments with Mescal in Oaxaca, Mexico

One of the great philosophers said: “life is an experiment.” That being said, since I wasn’t in the confines of a science laboratory and the travel bug bit me—- off I go without a clear destination to travel through the real Mexico. Arriving by a travel van to El Paso, Texas, I arranged for a sleeper train car to Mexico City. After being told all sleepers were taken, I slipped the train porter a crisp ten-dollar bill and was ticketed immediately.

I can’t remember exactly, but I think the trip took 32 hours. Of course you have to remember the train stops for supplies, stops for water, stops for unknown reasons, and backs up sometimes in a small town. I love this form of travel. You are stretched out in your sleeper car watching the desert fly by, watching cattle without fences, and getting a vista into the real Mexican lifestyle. Everyone is carrying something, eating something or just moving along.

The experience on the train is simply fantastic. In the dinning car we had “filet mignon” for the evening meal with real white tablecloths . With a push of a button in your sleeper car a porter served you drinks and attends to your needs with a professional attitude. Very relaxing and very refreshing. And we think we have the answer by climbing behind the wheel and driving 24 hours straight to get somewhere.

After arriving in Mexico City five or six hours behind schedule, we changed trains at the main train station and headed for the central part of Mexico. Looking at a city block of people wrapped in a maze at the train station, I called over an official looking person, handed him a crisp five dollar bill, and received our tickets to Oaxaca within minutes.

As we rolled through the valleys and agricultural part of Mexico, it continued to pour down buckets of rain. As if on a mystical adventureland— the rain and the fog lifted just over the train allowing us to penetrate the clouds as if we were flying through space. Off to sleep I went– watching the rain pound against the glass and seeing the terrain fly by as if we were in a kaleidoscope. Sleeping like a baby with the monotonous sound of the train, and the train swaying back and forth, I had one of the best night sleeps I had ever had in my life.

Just as I stepped out of my cabin to head to the dinning car for breakfast, I saw my travel friends in a frantic state. JD’s hair was standing straight up and with his best stutter attempt said to me: “The rivver is coming up aren’t you worried. We have beeeen up all night worried to death. One of the trains coming the opposite direction went into the river and it’s a National Emergency.” I pointed out to JD that I was on the land side of the train and couldn’t even see the river so I didn’t have a clue.

Just then the train slid to an abrupt halt just before the river’s edge. All passengers were ordered off the train immediately, where we waited patiently on terra firma. The train tracks ahead were totally submerged and under water. A few hours later the Mexican National Guard showed up with a truck load of workers, who put in a new section of track in order for the train to move forward. I might add they did this nasty, back-breaking task, under gun-point. The train looked exactly like the train from the Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid movie.

Several hours later we tied into the old rail line and were on our way—– going down in elevation as we cruised through the rich, green, agricultural valley. Upon arriving in Oaxaca we rented cabinas along the scenic river on the edge of town. We meandered into town and looked at their beautiful handicrafts and pottery. JD still having the shakes from the train ride suggested we have a drink of tequila to calm our nerves.

The three of us tried to enter the local bar and was told, Brenda the lady, was not allowed in and that this bar was a mescal males bar only. She chose to sit outside at another cafe-bar as JD and myself went inside the mescal bar. We each ordered a shot which came in a tall skinny shot glass, whereas the bartender proceeded to sprinkle powdered red worms on the top of our wrists. “Lick it off and down the Mescal” the bartender instructed. Smooth as silk— I asked JD if he felt anything and he replied: “No Just tastes like spring water.”

About this time a tall lanky Texan named Teal bellied up to the bar and informed us about two or three of these Mescal shots would be all a fellow would need, especially if you haven’t drank this variety, which comes in daily from the Mescal Factory on the outskirts of town.” He went on to say: “that this is the dregs of the factory and they bring it in a vat,” which we could see the bartender was serving out of— using a ladle like they do at weddings.” La Vida Mescal Pura!

As we were trading travel stories, we had a few more shots and marveled how you didn’t feel a thing. Teal went on to say: “that these Mescal bars serve a social service for the locals and must be shut down at 7 p.m. sharp so they can return to their families.” Just about that time a pair of small statured Mescal Police came staggering in the door, drank a few shots of Mescal, and told everyone they had to leave. They were totally Borracho (drunk) as they blew their whistles and waved their batons.

We got the message and exited the Mescal bar mas rapido only to discover a torrential rain storm driving three and four feet of water right down the main street. With JD and myself feeling no pain, we asked each other if this mescal bothered either one of us. Out answer was a melodious: “just a singing in the rain.” We must have looked quite ridiculous walking down a street flowing with flood water—- just a singing.

The next thing I remember was seeing the bright sunlight streaming in the window. As I looked for my clothes and luggage I couldn’t find even a wash-rag. I stepped out of my cabina in the all natural only to hear JD Yell ” boy are you lucky they came in the middle of the night and carried you to high ground—- your old cabina floated down the river during the flood.” Just then Brenda asked: “If I was sick. I replied: “I feel a bit disconnected, but other than that I feel fine.” She went on to say: “JD was sicker than a skunk and was up all night throwing up.”

Right here and there I got down on my hands and knees and thanked God for saving my skin. I also uttered my infamous prayer: “Dear God If you let me slide today— I will never drink straight Mescal directly from the vat and that’s a promise; however I may slip on occasion and drink Mescal from a bottle or have his first cousin Mr. Tequila. Amen. ”

We then headed to the pharmacy and I handed the pharmacist a note which read: “too much Mescal!” He handed us an envelope of large brown pills. He sort of grinned and said to take a few of these and you will be feeling better very soon. As we walked toward an outdoor cafe I saw orange antelopes running down the street and lifted my legs like they were on air. I have no idea what he gave us, but I would lay odds it had something to do with the super lucid Mescaline plant.

After a nice lunch, Brenda was covered with hives and went to the local Doctor, who looked in the Medical Dictionary for her disease and symptoms. He then pulled out a seven inch needle and shot her in the buttocks. After that ordeal, Brenda shed a few crocodile tears and hopped the first flight back to the states.

We took the leisurely train back to EL Paso and had much time to reflect. I was told Timothy O’Leary was experimenting with acid in the general area of Oaxaca and I wondered whether Carlos Fuentes, the famous Mexican writer with his outstanding contribution to literature “Don Quixote” and in his early career wrote several short stories, where the real world is mingled with the world of fantasy, spent time in Oaxaca and experimented with magic mushrooms and mescaline.

The thing that is apparent from traveling in Mexico is the wonderful, colorful people, with their great imaginations and visions to the past and present. Their great artistic contributions and a sense of being connected. I only hope they don’t get too westernized and lose their sense of identity. Time will tell!

QUOTE: “The sun shines warmly, The spring snow clears; The jaws of the plum And the face of the willow Vie with their fragrant freshness. The occasion for poetry And spiritual divertissement Holds boundless meaning Permitted to the person Who wanders in the fields And arduously composes poetry! ”

– Daito Kokushi——

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: How Does a Chameleon Change Colors?

Chameleons are lizards known for their ability to change colors. But contrary to popular belief, the chameleon does not change its color to match its background. It changes as a result of its mood, the temperature, or light conditions.

Most chameleons have brown or green as their main color, but they can turn to an off-white, yellow, or light green. When they are cold, their color is lighter than when they are warm.

The chameleon’s skin has several layers, with different color pigment cells in each layer. The inner layer has black pigment cells. The chameleon’s nerves control the expansion and contraction of the color cells. When the black cells either move closer to or farther from the skin surface, they blend with, blot out, or intensify other cells. This causes the chameleon’s color to change.

The chameleon’s tongue, which always hits its prey, can be extended more than twice the length of the chameleon’s body! ——

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Adopt a Gorilla… Save a Species!

An excellent way to help protect the last remaining mountain gorillas is to adopt a gorilla. They also make wonderful gifts for your friends and loved ones any time of year. Proceeds from adoptions directly support the gorillas monitored by the Karisoke Research Center staff.——

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Empty your mind!

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Zentraveler on overcoming anger Zen Fable!

Overcoming Anger

A Zen student said to his teacher, “ Master, I have an ungovernable temper. Help me get rid of it.” “ You have something very strange,” said the teacher. “Show it to me.” Right now I cannot show it to you.” “Why not?” It arises suddenly.” “ Then it cannot be your own true nature,” said the teacher, “if it were, you would be able to show it to me at any time. Why are you allowing something that is not yours to trouble your life?” Thereafter whenever the student felt his temper rising he remembered his teacher’s words and checked his anger. In time, he developed a calm and placid temperament. —–

This anger thing can destroy your life if you let it take hold of you. Of course like anything else if you have the knowledge you can conquer anything. The easiest way to conquer anger is to begin a meditation program. One of the easiest methods to master is to simply breathe in and say: “bad air in” and exhale saying: “good air out.” Start with short five minute sessions and ideally work up to 30 minute sessions twice a day—one 30 minute meditation in the morning and one session right before you go to sleep When your mind is fighting you and running all over the place on speed you can simply say: “thinking” or plug in the ancient Buddha practice of saying “change pegs.” Eventually through practice anger disappears and you can concentrate on other areas of your brain that our helpful to our planet.

It is also helpful to have a strong talk with yourself and decide right here and now that you will only give this anger thing so much of your valuable time and that’s it. For example I will dedicate ten minutes a day to being angry over the government, Aunt Sally’s inheritance dispute, Uncle Homer’s chewing snuff, kids with loud boom-boxes in their cars, drivers cutting you off etc. — and the list goes on. The rest of the time don’t play into its hands or you will feed it like a starved plant and it will wrap around you like a wild parasite and dominate your life. Haven’t you heard the expression: ” Life’s too short!”

QUOTE: Kuei-shan asked Yun-yen, “What is the seat of enlightenment?” With a short hesitation Yun-yen answered: “Freedom from artificiality.”

– Kuei-shan (771-854)——

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: How did toadstools get named? Long, long ago, people believed that toads used certain mushrooms to sit on. They also believed that toads were poisonous creatures and so the mushrooms they sat on were thought to be poisonous too.

But we know today that toads are NOT poisonous creatures. And we also know that very few, if, indeed, any at all, sit on mushrooms. However, of the 770 different kinds of mushrooms growing, about 70 ARE poisonous enough to make a person eating them very sick or even cause death. But the other 700 kinds are entirely safe. —–

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Brew Your Own Coffee! You can save more than 60 dollars a month by brewing your own coffee. Sometimes the simple things can save the most money. Seriously, 3 bags of beans gets us through the month for a total of $20. Buying a cup every day would run about $4 for both of us, times 20 work days = $80 minimum per month.—

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Don’t be a hothead! Use the old rule of counting to 10 and take a few deep breaths. It’s not worth the effort to raise your blood presure or have a heart attack over anger. Chill, Chill, Chill and take the advice of the Jamacians— don’t worry be happy!!!!!!!

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