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The Blue Cliff Record

Moleskine Ruled Notebook

Vintage Cleveland Indians cap

Pilot G-2 extra fine point gel pen


Billboard Hacker II

Another Billboard Hacker (see What Have I Done To...) mural has gone up in New Rochelle. I really like everything about this public art project. [NOTE: The mural is on Centre Street between Huguenot and Main. Can't miss it].


What About Me? (From The Archive)

I have posted this video by Sakyong Jamgön Mipham a couple of times, but it always seems so relevant to our current situation. Shootings, and election-year politics, and carbon emissions, and unrestrained economic growth at any cost.  Never hurts to hear the words one more time:

You know what? None of it will make you happy unless you do one simple thing: change "me" for "you".


What I Carry

Shown above is the stuff that I carry. Not to the field, but to the office everyday as part of my "going to work" kit. Start bottom left and the move counterclockwise: 1) Timbuk2 Custom Laptop Messenger Bag. Have only had it for 7 months, but it is truly waterproof and holds everything I need. Those bike messengers know how to make bags. 2) BUILT Bento sandwich box. Currently holds a peanut butter (crunchy) and sliced banana sandwich on whole wheat with some mutsu apple slices. Yum. 3) Tom Bihn organizer pouch for flashdrives, and chargers, and cables, and dongles; have tied a prayer flag from Nepal to the zipper (because it never hurts). 4) Apple earpods and carrying case (thx, Josh). 5) Smateria sleeve containing my iPad Air. The sleeve was made in Cambodia from recycled nylon fishing nets (thx, Thibault). 5) ten-trip ticket on MetroNorth and ID's from NYBG and Columbia University. 6) manila folder containing my dharma talk on Case 87 from the Blue Cliff Record for this Sunday at EHZC. Gulp. 7) An assortment of gel pens (Pilot G-2 05 and 0.38 Signo uni-ball), a Sharpie yellow highlighter, and a wooden Faber-Castell mechanical pencil that I have had for 20 years. 8) Field Notes and Moleskine notepads. Can't decide, I carry both. 9) Sunflower yellow, Davek Traveler umbrella. Without a doubt, the best collapsible umbrella you can buy. Only problem is if you ever set it down, leave it in a taxi, or loan it to someone–it will disappear. And, 10) my faithful  iPhone 4, which is not in the picture because I used it to take the picture. Probably use it more for Spotify than to make calls or send text messages, but it has been all over the world with me. Sturdy and reliable.

Long post. Sorry. I carry a lot of stuff.


Boxing and Firing

Dayak man from the village of Ensibau in West Kalimantan setting the dried leaves and twigs that he has crammed into a "box" cut into the trunk of this Dipterocarpus tree on fire to get the dried damar resin (see Damar) flowing again. This technique of collecting resin from wild trees is called "boxing and firing". I don't imagine that the trees like it very much. [NOTE: For the obsessively observant, the villager from Ensibau shown in the photo above, is the same one shown here cutting shingles (from a similar Dipterocarpus species)]. 


Main Hall at Garrison

The main meditation hall at the Garrison Institute before the sitters arrive, and the bells sound, and all things get real quiet, and your left knee starts to hurt. I have spent quite a bit of time in this room (see Fall Sesshin 2011, Spring Sesshin, View From The Floor, and several other posts). but I've missed sesshin since Susan passed away. [NOTE: It looks like we will soon have a wonderful new resident teacher at EHZC. Stay tuned].  


The Bee and The Passion Flower

The Bronx Green-Up guys planted a bunch of Passiflora cuttings in the bed at the base of the back wall of the lab, and then ran strings up the wall so that the plants could climb. What a great idea (thx, Ursula and Sarah, et al.). The plants are doing great and apparently love the habitat. Lots of flowers, and although I am told that we might need to hand pollinate the flowers to get fruit, walking out the back door on my way home yesterday I saw a happy pollinator covered in pollen. [NOTE: Just so you know, that characteristic flavor in Hawaiian Punch came from passion fruit. Quite exotic in the 1930's].


Cabin In The Catskills

The little cabin in the Catskills (see Hermitage and Building the Hermitage). The door is always inviting, but especially in winter when it's snowing and the woodstove is fired up and glowing. And then you step in, close the door, start boiling some water for tea, and dig out Red Pine's The Zen Works of Stonehouse: Poems and Tales of a 14th-Century Chinese Hermit. And fluff up the sleeping bag.


Above the Canopy

Looking out over the canopy of the Selva Maya (see Selva Maya) in Campeche from the top of one of the pyramids at Becan. The forest seems to extend as far as you can see in all directions. Not because of forest policies from the central government, or multi-lateral funding initiatives (REDD+), or international conservation mandates–but because local communities have decided among themselves to keep their landscapes forested. [NOTE: Reflections from an air-conditioned office in New York City. Very much missing Campeche].



I keep a journal every day that I am in the field. Have done so since the first trip to Myanmar in 2005 (see Hukaung Valley Rattan Survey). Was actually Elysa's idea (thx, Elysa) to keep a record on this trip and she gave me my first journal. I am currently on journal number five. Given time and motivation, the idea is to turn all of these observations into a book at some point. We'll see. [NOTE: As shown above, my journal of choice is the classic 5 X 8.25 inch Moleskine Ruled Notebook. The vintage Cleveland Indians cap is also a classic. Oh, and the Pilot G-2, extra fine point, retractable gel pen is a real jewel].


Collecting in Danau Sentarum

Image above was taken by dear friend, Wim Giesen (thx, Wim). It's 1994, and I am in Denau Sentarum (see Danau Sentarum) in a large, and somewhat tipsy, wooden boat collecting a specimen of Calamus schistoacanthus (see Enrichment Planting). Looks like I was having a good time. [NOTE: Maybe the boat was tipsy because Wim was standing up in front taking a picture].