June 2016

"The Thinking Mind" (Zen Tale) by Charlie Badenhop

Many years ago there was a young man living in a large city in Japan who felt his life was quite empty. With the hope of achieving a state of inner peace, he shaved his head and went to live in the mountains as a monk.

After studying diligently for ten years, the man realized he still didn't understand how to live with a sense of emotional fulfillment. Talking with other disciples, the young monk heard of a highly evolved Zen master living in China. He was drawn to study with this man with the hope of finally realizing his true self. He gathered his meager belongings, crossed the sea of Japan, and started a long and arduous journey across arid plains.

Every day he walked for many hours, and would stop for the evening only after finding a patch of land that had a natural source of water safe for drinking. After traveling in this manner for more than a month, he had the strange sensation of feeling both energized and empty.

One day was particularly hot and dry and the monk walked endlessly unable to find water. As the day turned into a moonless night he finally found an oasis. Totally exhausted, he collapsed onto the ground and began crawling around in the darkness in search of liquid sustenance. He came across a roughly made cup that had been left behind. The custom of leaving a cup with some water in it for the next traveler was quite common. He drank the meager amount of delicious tasting water and felt blessed and at peace with the world. He soon lay down and slept quite comfortably until awaking to the light of the early morning sun.

Upon sitting up, the first thing he noticed was what he had taken to be the roughly made cup the night before. Indeed it was not a manmade cup, but rather the shattered skull of a baby wolf! The moist skull was caked with blood, and a number of ants were crawling around inside scavenging for food to carry back to their colony.

The monk saw all this and immediately began to vomit! He was overcome by several waves of nausea, and as the fluid poured forth from his mouth and nose, he clearly experienced his thinking mind overwhelming his body and his emotions. With no choice but to submit to the moment, he understood that his thinking mind had been overwhelming him his entire life!

The night before the water tasted delicious and he felt refreshed. It was his misunderstanding of the circumstances that led him to feel fine. Upon seeing the skull and the ants in the light of the morning sun, it was his memory of his past actions and not the putrid water that brought about his nausea.

Regardless of whether or not he was understanding or misunderstanding, it was his thinking mind that created the way he felt. This was suddenly very clear to him. He realized that if his thinking was capable of creating suffering, it was also capable of creating peace of mind. He realized that what had occurred in the past was much less important than the way he reacted in the present. Upon understanding this, his journey was complete and he returned home to live his life with a sense of emotional fulfillment.

From “It's Your Thinking That Leads to Your Suffering”
By Charlie Badenhop

THE TAO IS SILENT — Preface (excerpt) p. xi by Raymond M. Smullyan


When I first came across the Taoist writings, I was infinitely delighted. I did not feel that I was reading something strange or exotic, but that I was reading the very thoughts I have had all my life, only expressed far better than I have ever been able to express them. To me, Taoism means a state of inner serenity combined with an intense aesthetic awareness. Neither alone is adequate; a purely passive serenity is kind of dull, and an anxiety-ridden awareness is not very appealing. A Chinese friend of mine (of the modern school) recently criticized Taoism as a philosophy of “having one’s cake and eating it too.” I replied, “What could be better?” He responded, “But one can’t have one’s cake and eat it too!” This is precisely where we disagree! All my life I have believed that one can have one’s cake and eat it too. Hence I am a Taoist.

Actually, I came to Taoism first through Zen-Buddhism. It took me quite a while to realize to what extent Zen has combined Taoism and Buddhism, and that it was primarily the Taoistic elements which appealed to me. The curious thing about Zen is that it first makes one’s mouth water for this thing called Satori (enlightenment) and then straightaway informs us that our desire for Satori is the very thing which is preventing us from getting it! By contrast, the Taoist strikes me as one who is not so much in search of something he hasn’t, but who is enjoying what he has.


"Uni-Verse" by Doreen Davis


One Song.

Sense the rhythms of the Earth.
Place your feet upon her heart
and let your blood pulse to her tempo.

Feel the chants in winds and waters echo.

Search for melodies in stars and space –
Heaven’s notes infuse your Soul.

Angels whisper lyrics.
Do you hear them?

Listen to your brother’s song, your sister’s key
and sing the harmony.

Perceive the perfect pitch within you
and sing out loud and clear.

You are
The One Song.

The Universe.

Ms. Davis' Website:


“The Great Way” by Wu Men

-----Painting by Luo Ping

The Great Way has no gate;
there are a thousand paths to it.
If you pass through the barrier,
you walk the universe alone.

(Wumen Huikai (1183–1260) was a Zen Master most famous as the compiler of and commentator on the 48-koan collection The Gateless Gate (Japanese: Mumonkan).