Tag Archives | Buddhism

Many of Buddhism’s core tenets significantly overlap with findings from modern neurology and neuroscience. So how did Buddhism come close to getting the brain right?

A Buddha in the Rain
David Weisman analyzes the intersection of Buddhism and neuroscience over at Seed Magazine:

Over the last few decades many Buddhists and quite a few neuroscientists have examined Buddhism and neuroscience, with both groups reporting overlap. I’m sorry to say I have been privately dismissive. One hears this sort of thing all the time, from any religion, and I was sure in this case it would break down upon closer scrutiny. When a scientific discovery seems to support any religious teaching, you can expect members of that religion to become strict empiricists, telling themselves and the world that their belief is grounded in reality. They are always less happy to accept scientific data they feel contradicts their preconceived beliefs. No surprise here; no human likes to be wrong.

But science isn’t supposed to care about preconceived notions. Science, at least good science, tells us about the world as it is, not as some wish it to be.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Driving Ms. Parks

first world homeless

1st world def

I took some days off, for the soul… to “think”.

Each time my kid came home from school to find me on the couch staring into space, he gave me crap, “Dad! You didn’t work, again?!”

I told him, “Son, I’ve been thinking. I’ve been thinking a lot. And you know what? Nothing is wrong right now. Absolutely NOTHING.”

So, it’s Friday morning. And I am now going into work, to drive a cab… in complete peace, come what may. (OM, baby.)


Heading out of the lot of ‘ol Citizen’s Cab in 137 – my trusty Prius, the headlights catch that feral, orange tabby lot cat frozen, er… like a deer. It would seem she is now spoiled after gorging on all the late night BBQ pitched from the recurring congregations of chatty drivers, and the likes of me occasionally tossing her half my lunch. Well not today, Sheba!… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Chocolate Nam

Sometimes, a ride just speaks for itself. Meet Chocolate Nam…

Choc Nam

It’s mid-day and I’m cruisin’ Haight-Ashbury. The sun is high and it is yet another perfect, beautiful San Francisco day. (Yawn.) The street is bustling with thrift store shoppers, retail workers and mid-western tourists congregating for snaps of themselves flashing peace signs below the famous intersecting street signage that marks this infamous corner. Post-selfie, it’s on to gawk at all the 60’s memorabilia glowing in black lights, as bongs and tie-dye emanate psychedelic from a multitude of head shops. And with leashed cats on their shoulders and unleashed pit-bulls at their sides, dirty-colorful neo-hippie runaways hawk pot vivacious to all that pass.

I drive past… and am immediately struck by the vision of an older black man at the peak of fashion, as he hobbles into the street to flag me with his black and silver-gilt cane on high.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Dreams of a Short



I haven’t slept.

Well, I haven’t slept well. Okay, okay, I admit it… I relapsed into nighttime cough syrup abuse. And sedatives of this type are widely reputed to rob you of vital R.E.M. (Thanks, NPR.)

Maybe I’ll just go into Citizen’s Cab late today. At this point, I am willing to exchange the first few hours of the day and it’s $20-80 remuneration for a few more hours of half-sleep. (Actually, as it goes, I did just start getting some R.E.M. about an hour before my alarm went off.)

I better call-in to Kojak, though. Let him know. If you don’t show around an hour after your medallion time – 4:15am in my case, the dispatcher/office guy can (and usually will) give away your shift to a newbie not on the schedule.


Sack, “Koj, it’s Sack. I’ll be in around 7. Hold 137 for me.”

Koj, “Sack, you wanna see if I can get you a short?”

I hear Kojak broadcast over the radio, “Anybody want a short?… Read the rest

Continue Reading

A Transcendental Ride


It was a dark and stormy, clear summer’s day around high noon, as I rolled through the Elysian Fields that is the Mission District of San Francisco, when,

“Cha-ching! – 186 Liberty. Quigley. Dispatch.”

I ‘Accept’.

And I zoom across 20th Street, passing that majestic view of the city over Dolores Park, before turning a quick right onto Dolores proper, and then an immediate left up high on Liberty. As I pull up to 186, I witness what I believe to be my “Quigley” wrestling out in front of a florally manicured Victorian with several large Hefty bags.

I veer to a stop and yell out of my taxi’s shotgun window to the middle-aged woman all caked in layers of vibrant make-up and adorned with large ornate brass earrings that dangle down over her flowing, paisley-patterned robes. She’s huffing up a storm and wincing with each limping tug at her bags, as multiple necklaces of various lengths of colorful concentric rings of turquoise, crystal and earth-toned wood beads repeatedly flop against them, failing in their collective work to hold down the fort that is my potential passenger’s more than ample chest.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

the nAiL

There’s a nail in the wall.
Well, no. Actually, it’s in a beam.
Across the alley on my neighbor’s roof.

I always liked that nail.
Sticks out about three inches.
It’s just so straight. So carefully hammered. With Love.

Sometimes, you can see its shadow on the beam, as the sun creeps across the sky over our roofs.
A jealous sundial.

Except, it’s not jealous.
It’s a nail.


Check out Alex’s book San Francisco TAXI: A 1st Week in the ZEN Life…
And Follow me on Facebook and Twitter for your non-practicing Buddhist one-offs. 

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Take Me To Your… Gold… Bridge!

Random Thought: There are two kinds of people in this world; The kind that go, and the kind that don’t go. If you go; ok. If you don’t… I will.

gold bridge copy


I’m meandering half-awake through the Citizen’s Cab lot.

As I head towards the bullet-proof glass to retrieve 137’s key and medallion – and maybe throw Kojak a $5 bribe for an airport, I take note of a newish Escape – 203, sporting a newly smashed-up front end. Poor night driver. Wonder what the story is on that.

And I do not see 137. Damn.

This is not good.

I address Kojak at the window, “What happened to 203?”

Kojak, “It was wrecked last night.”

Sack, “I don’t see 137 in the lot…”

Kojak, “It’s shopped. Got wrecked yesterday.”

Huh?? That’s my regular Prius!

So, ‘ol Koj throws me 2402, a Prius spare. It’s a spare I’ve driven before, one that smells like meth, B.O.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Zen Nails & Waxing


Devoted Passengers,

Your driver would like to take a “detour” this week, if you will… Many a fare has asked, so please indulge as I explain the “non” part of “non-practicing Buddhist” from my author’s tag line…

I’m rolling the streets of ‘ol San Francisco in Citizen’s Cab #137 on yet another absolutely beautiful, clear, drought-ridden day. I’m rounding the left north onto Fillmore in the Lower Haight, fareless, when I spot an older woman up the block vehemently trying the capture the attention of an empty Yellow coming down the hill. She’s waving her arms all frantically at him on the sidewalk from the wrong side of a hedge of parked cars. His top light is lit, indicating that he is ‘Available’. But, Yellow does not see.

Well, “one man gathers what another man spills”.

I zoom up the block tapping my horn to gain the lady’s attention.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Buddhism Meets Psychedelics


Our friends at Evolver are running another learning lab. This time Allan Badiner explores the intersection of Buddhism and Psychedelics with guests Alex Grey, Kokyo Henkel, and Brad Warner. The course begins tonight and you can sign up here.


Monday, July 6 – The Practice and Appreciation of Visionary Art toward Building a Sacramental Culture
Guest: Alex Grey
8:00pm New York – 5:00pm San Francisco

Discover how the considered use of entheogens and Buddhist practice can enhance and deepen one another, or not.  


How does the issue of psychedelics, currently undergoing a renaissance, find itself juxtaposed with the ancient wisdom tradition of Buddhism?  It turns out that the same cast of characters (Alan Watts, Ram Dass, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, etc.) that introduced America to psychedelics, also brought us the first glimpse of the Buddha’s teachings.  Most American born Buddhist teachers and many of their students were influenced by psychedelic substances, such as cannabis and LSD, in the 60’s and 70’s.Read the rest

Continue Reading

A Rush-Hour to the Bottom

cab hill


The fog horns were blowing all last night across the San Francisco Bay. I could hear the music from my attic flat all the way over here in the Western Addition. They came whooshing in, rolling over the hill with their volley, back and forth, back and forth, bridge to ship, ship to bridge, “BRR-AWWWW-NNN-PPP!” “MOOOAA-WWWNNN-PPP!”

They can keep you up a little at night. But it’s also kind of calming, and cool. Reminds you of where you are. But it must be a bit more of a deal for those living down in the Marina; with the caveat that fog and hence, the fog horns, are somewhat rare these days in drought-stricken California.

It’s 4:53am and I’m heading up Post in my van on a quiet ride to work. It is indeed thick grey out, misty, foggy, wet… and WINDY! I do very much see the need for the horns last night.… Read the rest

Continue Reading