Tag Archives | Buddhism

A Transcendental Ride

eye

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.

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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.

www.AlexSacK.com

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. 

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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

Friday

4:54am:
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.

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Zen Nails & Waxing

zen

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…

Noon:
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.

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Buddhism Meets Psychedelics

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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.

SCHEDULE:

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.  

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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

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A Rush-Hour to the Bottom

cab hill

Tuesday

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

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You Can’t Really Dust For Vomit

SFO

Thursday

5am:
I slept in.

I’m just now shuffling up all zombie-like to the bullet-proof glass window to slide my five “tip” thru the metal tray to Sammy in exchange for 137’s key and medallion. I’m still feeling the generic brand nighttime cough syrup that I’ve been abusing to put myself down at my prescribed 8pm bedtime. My head is fuzzy still.

I passed 137, my regular Prius, en route to the window and noted that her windows are all down. Bad omen. Are we talking vomit?

5:05am:
I’m done with the window and cordial niceties with Sammy, the new-ish office worker that Citizen’s Cab poached from Arrow. Sammy and I have finally gotten a groove on it seems. But he’s a little out of it this morning, complaining about some serious bruising due to a boating accident over unspecified body parts that he promises I do not want to see.

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Mindfulness has lost its Buddhist roots, and it may not be doing you good

Harry Koopman (CC BY 2.0)

Harry Koopman (CC BY 2.0)

Miguel Farias, Coventry University and Catherine Wikholm, University of Surrey

Mindfulness as a psychological aid is very much in fashion. Recent reports on the latest finding suggested that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy is as effective as anti-depressants in preventing the relapse of recurrent depression.

While the authors of the paper interpreted their results in a slightly less positive light, stating that (contrary to their hypothesis) mindfulness was no more effective than medication, the meaning inferred by many in the media was that mindfulness was superior to medication.

Mindfulness is a technique extracted from Buddhism where one tries to notice present thoughts, feeling and sensations without judgement. The aim is to create a state of “bare awareness”. What was once a tool for spiritual exploration has been turned into a panacea for the modern age — a cure-all for common human problems, from stress, to anxiety, to depression.… Read the rest

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No Quarter

Cal Hill

Thursday

4:15am
I awake to a drizzly San Francisco winter’s morning. Wait… It’s summer. And we’re in an historic drought.

Well, maybe the sprinkle will help… a little. On whatever rare occasion that the local news (incorrectly) predicts that we have rain coming, they inevitably go on to qualify how “it won’t be enough.” However, I did just catch on PBS’ The News Hour a show on Hetch Hetchy – the dam and reservoir system that brings San Francisco its water down from the Sierra Nevada. Hetch Hetchy is fed each spring by the melting snowpack from up around Tahoe, et al. Problem is this winter there was no snow.

But! The powers had been planning for several years now for a years-long drought. Consequently, they relayed that Hetch Hetchy is 70% full! Which said powers went on to qualify “is not enough”.

Well, we don’t have lawns and swimming pools here in San Francisco.

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Collective Transformation Through Deep Explorations of Mind with Christopher Bache – Free Radical Media

Also listen to Free Radical Media via Itunes.

In this episode, Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies Dr. Christopher Bache, PhD joins the Free Radical Crew to discuss the implications of healing the collective as well as the individual psyche through the use of transpersonal states of consciousness. Along the way, we converse on Buddhism, Hinduism, the religious experience, entheogens, and what the future holds for our environment and our species. We also focus heavily on Baches’ excellent and informative book, “Dark Night, Early Dawn,” a must have book for anyone studying consciousness.

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