Galveston Day 6

The Continuing Saga of Ghost Dog and the Buddha

Greetings from Galveston! Each morning I rose just before dawn and headed for the beach to catch the stellar event unfolding on the horizon. I was not disappointed. Most mornings Buddha stayed in bed, but this glorious morning he accompanied me out to the beach.

Moments before Sunrise
First the tide rushes in…
The Rising Sun
The Sun Also Rises

Today I wanted to ride around Galveston to look at some of the buildings. Galveston is home to some interesting old historic buildings and to some newer more modern ones.

American National Insurance Building, One Moody Plaza
United States National Bank

This building is being converted into condos.

Rosenberg Library

The Rosenberg Library is the oldest continuously operating library in Texas. I visited this beautiful library with the hopes of finding a clean well lighted place to study in. But, alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Due to covid the study rooms were closed. I was free to roam the stacks but not to study. I did come away with a book however, so all was not lost.

Hutchings Building in the Strand

The Strand Historic District, also known as the Strand District, in downtown Galveston, Texas, is a National Historic Landmark District of mainly Victorian era buildings that now house restaurants, antique stores, and curio shops.

Gaido’s Seaside Inn

Later in the day we headed back to the motel for a dip in the pool. We were staying at Gaido’s Seaside Inn, which according to their own testimony boasts of having the best pool on the island. Who am I to argue?

No Diving
Pool Side
Having a chat
Proof of Life – The Buddha

We ended the evening at a Mexican Restaurant. Buddha’s friends hadn’t heard from him in a while so I posted this picure to prove he was still alive.

Stay tuned for day 7 of the exciting adventures of Ghost Dog and the Buddha.

Galveston Day 7

Last Day in Galveston for Ghost Dog and the Buddha

Last day for a sunrise
Early morning light
First the tide rushes in…
Meanwhile, back at the ranch house…
The birds were hungry today, but then they are always hungry
One last swim
When those sharks bite…
Off Shore Drilling Education Center
Off Shore Rig
Off shore rig
Ocean Star
Santana
We met down at the docks
Had Lunch at Katie’s with Jeone, Kim and Buddha
My Step Daughter Kim and I

The next day we started our drive back to Kentucky….

The Three Bodies of Buddha

Buddhisim by the Numbers

The Buddha came to be represented as having “three bodies”:

  1. Dharmakaya – the source of enlightenment and happiness.
  2. Sambhogakaya – the body of bliss or enlightenment.
  3. Nirmanakaya – the historical embodiment of the Buddha.

When he was about to pass away, the Buddha told his disciples, “Dear friends, my physical body will not be here tomorrow, but my teaching body (Dharmakaya) will always be with you. Consider it to be the teacher who never leaves you. Be islands unto yourselves, take refuge in the Dharma. Use the Dharma as your lamp, your island.”

The original meaning of Dharmakaya, the way to realize understanding and love.

Based on the teachings of Thich Nhat Hahn

Photo by Benn Bell

Generation of Swine

Georgia governor Brian Kemp

Let’s face it. The only way Republicans can win is to cheat. That is what is behind the voting rights restrictions which affect mostly people of color who are most like to vote Democratic. The Republicans simply don’t have the numbers to win so they suppress the vote in order to improve their chances. We can’t let this happen. The Republicans want to hold onto power and rule by minority. They don’t care how they do it or how many lies they have to tell in the process. The image of a group of all white men signing a bill into law in Georgia restricting the right to vote with a picture in the background of a slave plantation while a black female senator is being arrested and put in handcuffs just outside the door who is demanding transparency, tells you all you need to know about the racist white supremacist ideology that these Republican swine are vomiting onto the body politic. Any person of conscience will reject these acts and if they are a Republican, they will immediately resign from the party which is now more than ever completely morally bankrupt. Furthermore, I urge all people who care about the right to vote to boycott products and service that emanate out of Georgia.

Blood and Soil

According to Karl Popper, writing in his The Open Society and its Enemies, The Myth of Blood and Soil was originated by Plato and detailed in The Republic. Plato freely admits that the myth is a lie. It was a propaganda ploy used to bolster his idea of the ideal state which is totalitarian in nature ruled by a philosopher king and a racially pure elite.

The Myth of Blood and Soil is based on two ideas: 1. In order to strengthen the defense of the mother country men are born of the earth of their country which is their mother. 2. Racialism: “God has put gold into those who are capable of ruling, silver into the auxiliaries, and iron and copper into the peasants and other producer classes.” These metals are racial characteristics. Any admixture of one of these base metals must be excluded from the higher classes. In other words, only those with racial purity may rule. Plato goes on to say that any mixing of the metals will lead to the fall of man. “Iron will mingle with silver and bronze with gold, and from this admixture variation will be born and absurd irregularity; and whenever these are born they will they will beget struggle and hostility; the city (state) must perish when guarded by iron and copper” and lead to the degradation and the fall of man. Remember, Plato admits that the Myth of Blood and Soil is a propaganda lie useful in persuading his rulers to follow his racial policies.

Fast forward to Germany in the late 19th century where the phrase Blood and Soil was appropriated by the Germans to signify and glorify racialism and nationalism. The German translation reads: “Blut und Boden.” Rural life was idealized and combined with the ideas of racism and anti-Semitism. “Blood and Soil” became a key phrase of Nazi ideology.

This phrase has been taken up and by neo-Nazis and white supremacist groups here in the United States as a rallying cry. Nazis could be heard chanting the phrase, “Blood and Soil” on the streets of Charlottesville as they marched carrying their torches.

Cat Corner

I went to the cat corner

Where Maureen was waiting

She was sipping her Hendricks

Gin and Tonic

She looked up me

And smiled

Her eyes dully gleaming

Like an angel who is dreaming

Come sit with me she implored

And I complied

And we sat together in the gloaming

until the evening

Grew dark.

Dr. Seuss: “And to Think I saw it on Mulberry Street.”

OK, I guess I’ll weigh in on this. My two cents are worth about the same as anyone else’s, I reckon.

What we have here is an intersectionality. Where cancel culture meets book burning and freedom of speech meets banned books. Now, for the record I am against burning books and it seems like everyone has a match these days. And I have always enjoyed Dr. Seuss and even read these books to my kids when they were growing up….

But! There is no book burning going on here, no cancelling of Dr. Seuss, just a recalibration. His own estate has made the decision to not publish six books that contained overtly racist images. Six out of hundreds. And these books are still available. As a matter of fact, they are flying off the shelves!

We are living in strange times. The culture has evolved in many good ways in some bad ways. There is no question we come from a white supremacist patriarchal past. But that is not what we look like today. We are a multicultural, multiracial society and everyone deserves a seat at the table and everyone deserves to be included. It is important what books are put in front of children as they are the most impressionable among us. Reinforcement of white stereotypes and racial tropes is inappropriate. White children don’t need the reinforcing of white supremacy and children of color don’t need to be exposed to the hurtful images that remind them of their second-class citizenship.

This is a publishing decision, just like any other, but this one reflects the willingness of the estate of Dr. Seuss to learn and try to do better. It is not part of the so-called cancel culture, which I question really exists anyhow.

The Three Doors of Liberation

Buddhism by the Numbers

The Three Doors of Liberation:

  1. Emptiness/shunyata
  2. Signlessness/animitta
  3. Aimlessness/apranihita

Emptiness or shunyata:

Emptiness always means empty of something. A cup is empty of water. A bowl is empty of soup. We are empty of a separate, independent self.

Emptiness does not mean nonexistence. It means interdependent co-arising, impermanence, and non-self. Emptiness is the middle way between existence and nonexistence.

Everyone we cherish will someday, get sick and die. If we do not practice the mediation on emptiness, when it happens, we will be overwhelmed.

Signlessness or animitta:

The second door of liberation is signlessness. “Sign” means an appearance or the object of our perception.

Signs are instruments for our use, but they are not absolute truth, and they can mislead us. Wherever there is a sign, there is deception, illusion. Appearances can deceive.

If you see the signlessness of signs, you see the Tathagata. Tathagata means the wonderous nature of reality.

Everything manifests by means of signs.

Life span is the period of time between our birth and our death. We think we are alive for a specific period of time that has a beginning and an end. But when we look deeply, we see that we have never been born and we will never die. And our fear dissolves. With mindfulness, concentration, and the Three Dharma Seals, we can unlock the door of Liberation called signlessness and obtain the greatest relief.

Aimlessness or apranihita:

The Third Door of Liberation is aimlessness. There is nothing to do, nothing to realize. The purpose of a rose is to be a rose. Your purpose is to be yourself.

Be yourself. Life is precious as it is. Just being in the moment in this place is the deepest practice of meditation.

According to the Heart Sutra there is “nothing to attain.”

Aimlessness and Nirvana are one.

Present Moment, Wonderful Moment

              Waking up this morning, I smile

              Twenty-four brand new hours are before me.

              I vow to live freely in each moment

              and to look at all beings with the eyes of love.

              -Thich Nhat Hanh

These twenty-four hours are a precious gift, a gift we can only realize when we have opened the Third Door of Liberation.

The practice of aimlessness, is the practice of freedom.

Based on the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh

Photo by Benn Bell

Golden Globes 2021

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler

The Golden Globes show last night was pretty much a disaster. It was technologically challenged, there was no chemistry between the hosts, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, possibly because they were bi-coastal, not to be confused with bi-polar. The writing was poor and most of the jokes fell flat, marring the event beyond any possible recognition. I did agree with a lot of the picks and enjoyed some of the acceptance speeches. Jane Fonda’s was exceptional. Some of the others were just plain dumb. Speaking of dumb, I stuck for the entire show. Sigh…