Monthly Archives: February 2010

Zentraveler on Ninja Zen Koans!

Ninja Zen Koans

To the Ninja, the Mind is the ultimate weapon. Development of the Mind can be achieved only when the body has been disciplined. To accomplish this, the ancients have taught us to imitate the Five Elements and the Eight Mystic Trigrams. From these come the physical exercises and techniques we practice in Black Dragon School. Thus, the Art is crafted and the body is trained.

To develop the mental skills necessary to fully utilize the special powers and abilities conferred by these methods, the Ninja practice codes and ciphers, much like the Cryptoquote which can be employed in their trade of espionage, as well as crossword puzzles, riddles, mathematical games, and for the more philosophical principles, Koans. All designed to exercise the Mind and teach the student to think.

This grants the Ninja access to the incredible world of possibilities. Thus, when confronted with danger or need, the Ninja is not limited in his development of a solution. He is able to improvise, adapt, and overcome any obstacle, making him formidable indeed.

Some Koans take the form of questions, like the one that asks, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear, does it make a sound?” There is no “right” answer to this question. It can be argued for years from either perspective, yes or no. BUT, to the Ninja there is at least one other answer. It matters not at all whether the tree makes a sound or not. What is important is that it has fallen.

Further, not all Koans come from Japan. One example is the famous psychological test: “Is the glass half full or half empty?” The Ninja is not limited to these two choices, because he is aware of this ploy to see if he is optimistic (half full) or pessimistic (half empty). Therefore, the Ninja uses an option that seldom occurs to other people: The glass is too large for the amount of water contained therein. Thus, it is neither half full nor half empty. And, there are many other “answers” equally as correct. The “trick” is to imagine them and exercise the mind. That is what makes them fun, and useful.

Learn not only to “read between the lines” but also “within the words” of each of these examples. There is always more than meets the eye.
Adapted from

QUOTE: Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than exposure
– Helen Keller

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: There were never such thing as ninja training camps, due to the enforcement of the samurai, the ninja trained in small groups hidden seperated in high secret.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Ninja Codes! You may need to break out someday!

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: It’s all in zee Ninja secret code. Break it and you move into the genius class…automatically!!

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.

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?

Leave a comment

Filed under Practical Zen, Uncategorized

Zentraveler on health benefits of the coconut!

I was backpacking on the Southern most border of Belize in Central America when I encountered one of the most interesting humans I had ever met. I spent the afternoon learning that he was one hundred percent using the coconut to live by, live on, build his house with, feed his chickens with, and sell the copra oil to the local hardware where he could then buy other necessities. Like the man who held the secret he was glad to share his story with me and I realized then how important the coconut tree has been to the planet!

A lot has been written about the negative effects of using coconut oil and one of my most respected authors Jordan Rubin …..takes the opposite approach and has added coconut products as a must for good health including: helping with cholestrol instead of what a lot of the older literature speaks about! He has several tv shows and has written many books including the one called Patient heal Thyself which is a must for anyone who is serious about maintaining good health!

Enclosed is an article about the coconut taken from the Coconut Research Center. org. After reading the article as a free thinker its up to you what you decide, but for me I love drinking pure coco water, scooping out the clean white meat, and adding coconut to a variety of speciality dishes. If you want something to die for try coco shrimps rolled in coconut and beer and lightly grilled on the barbie.

(cocos nucifera)
The Tree of Life

The scientific name for coconut is Cocos nucifera. Early Spanish explorers called it coco, which means “monkey face” because the three indentations (eyes) on the hairy nut resembles the head and face of a monkey. Nucifera means “nut-bearing.”

The coconut provides a nutritious source of meat, juice, milk, and oil that has fed and nourished populations around the world for generations. On many islands coconut is a staple in the diet and provides the majority of the food eaten. Nearly one third of the world’s population depends on coconut to some degree for their food and their economy. Among these cultures the coconut has a long and respected history.

Coconut is highly nutritious and rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It is classified as a “functional food” because it provides many health benefits beyond its nutritional content. Coconut oil is of special interest because it possesses healing properties far beyond that of any other dietary oil and is extensively used in traditional medicine among Asian and Pacific populations. Pacific Islanders consider coconut oil to be the cure for all illness. The coconut palm is so highly valued by them as both a source of food and medicine that it is called “The Tree of Life.” Only recently has modern medical science unlocked the secrets to coconut’s amazing healing powers.

Coconut In Traditional Medicine

People from many diverse cultures, languages, religions, and races scattered around the globe have revered the coconut as a valuable source of both food and medicine. Wherever the coconut palm grows the people have learned of its importance as a effective medicine. For thousands of years coconut products have held a respected and valuable place in local folk medicine.

In traditional medicine around the world coconut is used to treat a wide variety of health problems including the following: abscesses, asthma, baldness, bronchitis, bruises, burns, colds, constipation, cough, dropsy, dysentery, earache, fever, flu, gingivitis, gonorrhea, irregular or painful menstruation, jaundice, kidney stones, lice, malnutrition, nausea, rash, scabies, scurvy, skin infections, sore throat, swelling, syphilis, toothache, tuberculosis, tumors, typhoid, ulcers, upset stomach, weakness, and wounds.

Coconut In Modern Medicine

Modern medical science is now confirming the use of coconut in treating many of the above conditions. Published studies in medical journals show that coconut, in one form or another, may provide a wide range of health benefits. Some of these are summarized below:

Kills viruses that cause influenza, herpes, measles, hepatitis C, SARS, AIDS, and other illnesses.

Kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, gum disease and cavities, pneumonia, and gonorrhea, and other diseases.

Kills fungi and yeasts that cause candidiasis, ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush, diaper rash, and other infections.

Expels or kills tapeworms, lice, giardia, and other parasites.

Provides a nutritional source of quick energy.

Boosts energy and endurance, enhancing physical and athletic performance.

Improves digestion and absorption of other nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.

Improves insulin secretion and utilization of blood glucose.

Relieves stress on pancreas and enzyme systems of the body.

Reduces symptoms associated with pancreatitis.

Helps relieve symptoms and reduce health risks associated with diabetes.

Reduces problems associated with malabsorption syndrome and cystic fibrosis.

Improves calcium and magnesium absorption and supports the development of strong bones and teeth.

Helps protect against osteoporosis.

Helps relieve symptoms associated with gallbladder disease.

Relieves symptoms associated with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and stomach ulcers.

Improves digestion and bowel function.

Relieves pain and irritation caused by hemorrhoids.

Reduces inflammation.

Supports tissue healing and repair.

Supports and aids immune system function.

Helps protect the body from breast, colon, and other cancers.

Is heart healthy; improves cholesterol ratio reducing risk of heart disease.

Protects arteries from injury that causes atherosclerosis and thus protects against heart disease.

Helps prevent periodontal disease and tooth decay.

Functions as a protective antioxidant.

Helps to protect the body from harmful free radicals that promote premature aging and degenerative disease.

Does not deplete the body’s antioxidant reserves like other oils do.

Improves utilization of essential fatty acids and protects them from oxidation.

Helps relieve symptoms associated with chronic fatigue syndrome.

Relieves symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (prostate enlargement).

Reduces epileptic seizures.

Helps protect against kidney disease and bladder infections.

Dissolves kidney stones.

Helps prevent liver disease.

Is lower in calories than all other fats.

Supports thyroid function.

Promotes loss of excess weight by increasing metabolic rate.

Is utilized by the body to produce energy in preference to being stored as body fat like other dietary fats.

Helps prevent obesity and overweight problems.

Applied topically helps to form a chemical barrier on the skin to ward of infection.

Reduces symptoms associated the psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis.

Supports the natural chemical balance of the skin.

Softens skin and helps relieve dryness and flaking.

Prevents wrinkles, sagging skin, and age spots.

Promotes healthy looking hair and complexion.

Provides protection form damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation form the sun.

Helps control dandruff.

Does not form harmful by-products when heated to normal cooking temperature like other vegetable oils do.

Has no harmful or discomforting side effects.

Is completely non-toxic to humans.

See Research to read some of the published studies regarding the above mentioned uses of coconut products.

Coconut Oil

While coconut possesses many health benefits due to its fiber and nutritional content, it’s the oil that makes it a truly remarkable food and medicine.

Once mistakenly believed to be unhealthy because of its high saturated fat content, it is now known that the fat in coconut oil is a unique and different from most all other fats and possesses many health giving properties. It is now gaining long overdue recognition as a nutritious health food.

Coconut oil has been described as “the healthiest oil on earth.” That’s quite a remarkable statement. What makes coconut oil so good? What makes it different from all other oils, especially other saturated fats?

The difference is in the fat molecule. All fats and oils are composed of molecules called fatty acids. There are two methods of classifying fatty acids. The first you are probably familiar with, is based on saturation. You have saturated fats, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats. Another system of classification is based on molecular size or length of the carbon chain within each fatty acid. Fatty acids consist of long chains of carbon atoms with hydrogen atoms attached. In this system you have short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA), and long-chain fatty acids (LCFA). Coconut oil is composed predominately of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA), also known as medium-chain triglycerides (MCT).

The vast majority of fats and oils in our diets, whether they are saturated or unsaturated or come from animals or plants, are composed of long-chain fatty acids (LCFA). Some 98 to 100% of all the fatty acids you consume are LCFA.

The size of the fatty acid is extremely important. Why? Because our bodies respond to and metabolize each fatty acid differently depending on its size. So the physiological effects of MCFA in coconut oil are distinctly different from those of LCFA more commonly found in our foods. The saturated fatty acids in coconut oil are predominately medium-chain fatty acids. Both the saturated and unsaturated fat found in meat, milk, eggs, and plants (including most all vegetable oils) are composed of LCFA.

MCFA are very different from LCFA. They do not have a negative effect on cholesterol and help to protect against heart disease. MCFA help to lower the risk of both atherosclerosis and heart disease. It is primarily due to the MCFA in coconut oil that makes it so special and so beneficial.

There are only a very few good dietary sources of MCFA. By far the best sources are from coconut and palm kernel oils.”

QUOTE: The coconut trees, lithe and graceful, crowd the beach like a minuet of slender elderly virgins adopting flippant poses.

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: Coconuts are largest seeds. Falling coconuts kill 150 people every year which is 10 times the number of people killed by sharks. Coconut oil was the world’s leading vegetable oil until soybean oil took over in the 1960s. There are more than 20 billion coconuts harvested each year. One cup of unsweetened shredded coconut has about 25 grams fat and 280 calories.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE:COCONUTS! Without the tree of life we would be less than an amoeba, which might be more than you think!Reach in your big wallet and help save the coconut trees or do volunteer work and why not plant a coconut tree for each year of your age and if you you really get organized plan on planting at least a million coconut trees. I hope you understand grashopper… this is muy importante!!!!

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: ITS ALL IN ZEE COCONUT! My friend is farming in the Phillipines and uses the oil from the coconut to run his diesel engines. It burns very clean and is extremely efficient! If coconut is good enough to run diesel engines then its good enough to run my human engine! Viva la Coconut!!!

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.

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?

1 Comment

Filed under health, Uncategorized

Zentraveler treks to old wharf, Bantayan Island

A photographers dream as I hire a tricycle and head around the coast of Bantayan Island where I travel throguh native villages and cross a mangrove estuary brimming with birdlife. I tell the tricycle driver there is no hurry and if I see something interesting or unusual we will stop and I will take a photo!

The first subjects were a threesome of goats feeding among the coconut trees. Then we stopped to photo some bright red wild flowers and continued along the coast where we entered several small villages. Each of these small villages offers a photograhic paradise as the small children scamper around trying to get into the photo.

This foreigner causes quite a scene as people offer to pose as fisherman, bring small live sharks, and point to the huge pig sunbathing and snoozing the day away! Nothing has changed for hundreds of years except a few people have small motor scooters to go to town and cell phones in order to communicate.

They live for the moment and their daily existence consists of the men catching some small fish ..which then go to the drying racks, the women collecting firewood and coconut husks, a few chickens and pigs and that is that. Oh yea they have great sweet potatoes and all kinds of veggies we have never seen before.

Most of the native villagers do not actually earn any money and therefore do not use money….they live off of the land.

On this photo journey the first area of interest is the Barangay Baigad Wharf which connects to several small islands and has pristine sand beaches with hundreds of coconut trees swaying in the breeze.

As your mind takes in the quaint fishing boats and native huts you can’t help but wonder how this little island still maintains its native appeal and has not been contaminated very much by commericialism.

The tricycle driver stops on my request to photo a local cow and we arrive at Durok Danggit with a welcome sign very near a delightful pink church hidden in the cool coconut trees. There is a decorative native bamboo kiosk amongst the coconut trees, which is also the political headquarters of this small village and as your eye takes in the native huts and sights… you can see several small stores displaying coco cola red signs.

The next area of interest is a rather new looking two story white building with the inscription in gold letters called: Sillion Barangay Hall with several deorative flags. A touch of royalty among the coconut trees!

The next area of interest displays the Secodemco Store with bright red coca cola advertising which serves the local village for rice, soft drinks and local specialties. You then come upon a gated pink mansion complete with many tropical flowers and a white picket fence overlooking the fish drying fields of the local fisherman. Every turn offers more pristine beaches, native villages and fishing boats bobbing in the sea. You can see children gathering seaweed and men working on their fishing boats and you have just remembered you left the modern world in the dust for a few fleeting hours.

Heading toward Madridejos on a dirt road you can’t help but wonder how a lifestlye is carved out among the coconut trees. You see children scampering everywhere some with clothes on and others in the natural. Taking the route from Santa Fe along the coast is a great way to discover the island either by motorscooter, bicycle, or walking and don’t forget to take your camera as you will see many photo opportunities.

So there you have it a native place very much the same as hundreds of years ago… with very strong family ties and they share everything they harvest among families! Could you live off the land or are you just another spoiled tourist who finds this interesting but why! There’s not even a electric socket to plug in my laptop!

You could watch the sunset and let the world go by but you will not be connected as we know it in the electronic age…but the connection you may receive may be much richer than you can imagine.

QUOTE: The good man should not tire of his good deeds. Till their fruit ripens, he may have to suffer bad times. But once the good deeds ripen, his life is suffused with happiness.

THINGS I MAY NOT KNOW: Your pet isn’t the only one in the house with a shedding problem. Humans shed about 600,000 particles of skin every hour. That works out to about 1.5 pounds each year, so the average person will lose around 105 pounds of skin by age 70.

THINGS I MAY WANT TO SAVE: My own skin it’s a rare commidty and a nice thing to have while you are an earthling!

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Take more photos we are in the digital age. If you take a lousy photo…. so much the better who is to judge. Your subconsconcious brain image file is getting cluttered… so a perfect excuse to let the digital age come into its own.

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.

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?

Leave a comment

Filed under travel, Uncategorized