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Ryōkan Taigu – Wild Roses

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Photo by flickr user Java Tourism. Used by cc: All rights revert to the originator.
Photo by flickr user Java Tourism. Used by cc: All rights revert to the originator.

Wild roses,
Plucked from fields
Full of croaking frogs:
Float them in  your wine
And enjoy every minute!

-Ryōkan Taigu, 18th c. Japan

A single drop of water

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Photo by flickr user Christiaan Triebert. Used by cc: All rights revert to the originator
Photo by flickr user Christiaan Triebert. Used by cc: All rights revert to the originator

甚生阿難三十年爲侍者、
祇爲多聞智慧被佛訶。
云、汝千日學慧、不如一日學道。
若不學道、滴水難消。

For thirty years the wise Ananda ministered to the Buddha’s personal needs;
but, because he was too fond of acquiring knowledge, the Buddha admonished him,
saying: ‘If you pursue knowledge for a thousand days that will avail you less than one day’s proper study of the Way.
If you do not study it, you will be unable to digest even a single drop of water!’

-Master Huangbo Xiyun (Hsi Yun), 9th c. China

That which is neither born nor destroyed is the Buddha

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Photo by flickr user Iñaki Bolumburu. Used by cc: license. All rights revert to originator.
Photo by flickr user Iñaki Bolumburu. Used by cc: license. All rights revert to originator.

“The universal mind is no mind and is completely detached from form. Only study how to avoid seeking for or clinging to anything. If nothing is sought, the mind will remain in its unborn state. If nothing is clung to, the mind will not go through the process of destruction. That which is neither born nor destroyed is the Buddha.”

-Master Huangbo Xiyun (Hsi Yun), 9th c. China

Nepal to declare Everest off limits to inexperienced climbers

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Photo by flickr user xinquinhosilva. Used via cc:. All rights revert to originator.
Photo by flickr user xinquinhosilva. Used via cc:. All rights revert to originator.

…and all I can say is ‘it’s about time’.

Permits to climb Everest will only be given to those who can prove they have already scaled mountains that are higher than 6,500 metres, officials said. Disabled, old and very young people also face bans.

“We cannot let everyone go on Everest and die. If they are not physically and mentally fit it will be like a legal suicide,” he said.

“The disabled or visually impaired people usually need someone to carry them, which is not an adventure. Only those who can go on their own will be given permission.”

While I’m not a fan of sweeping bans based on items like age or disability, it’s important to remember that for Nepalese and Tibetans Mt. Everest is known as Sagarmāthā and Chomolungma:  ‘forehead of the sky’ and ‘Goddess Mother of Mountains’ respectively. To conceptualize a place with preexisting spiritual connotations as a public convenience is fraught with peril on the face of it. No one is ‘entitled’ to go there, and those foreigners who do are first and always guests. Some of those who make a business of carting well-heeled adventure travelers to Everest’s summit will surely be found at the forefront of support for this measure, but others will inevitably chafe not so much at the bite in their bottom line but the idea that in Nepal there are again places money can’t go.

Good people shine from afar

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Photo by flickr user Thomas. cc: license. All rights revert to originator.
Photo by flickr user Thomas. cc: license. All rights revert to originator.

“Good people shine from afar, like the snowy mountains; bad people are concealed, like arrows shot by night. If a man by causing pain to others, wishes to obtain pleasure for himself, he, entangled in the bonds of selfishness, will never be free from hatred. Let a man overcome anger by love, let him overcome evil by good; let him overcome the greedy by liberality, the liar by truth!”

-The Dhammapada, XVII

Wendell Berry

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“Why do farmers farm, given their economic adversities on top of the many frustrations and difficulties normal to farming? And always the answer is: “Love. They must do it for love.” Farmers farm for the love of farming. They love to watch and nurture the growth of plants. They love to live in the presence of animals. They love to work outdoors. They love the weather, maybe even when it is making them miserable. They love to live where they work and to work where they live. If the scale of their farming is small enough, they like to work in the company of their children and with the help of their children. They love the measure of independence that farm life can still provide. I have an idea that a lot of farmers have gone to a lot of trouble merely to be self-employed to live at least a part of their lives without a boss.” -Wendell Berry