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Friday, December 30, 2011

Thirst - poem by DT Strain

(cc) Milan Boers (
Before I was
the music was
and the earth and the
moon and the stars

'twas long before
those days of yore
with the girls and the
tits and the bars

And from that thirst
I planted thus
my roots in that
safe warm place

a cool vast sea
surrounds and nurtures me
in that time of
self and play

But it was not long
in my short song
before I'd hear
those fateful words

I am thirsty

The others in the sea
made me see where
the waters run dry

and though I'd wept before
when the sea held me
only now did I see
what it was to cry

The others and I
took it all in stride
we were here to
save the world

there was no ailment
we could not prescribe
and so we set out
flag unfurled

we journeyed wide
we journeyed far
and, oh yes, the girls, and the
tits, and the bars

Yet we were thirsty

We left our homes
that cold and
dried up sea

and though our thirst
had not quenched
we knew all the
reasons that be

but through the battles
we had waged
and the dragons
we had slain

our prescriptions failed
my friends were felled
my trinkets proved
quite plain

Alone again
but far from home
I could not
save the world

And still I was thirsty

My cup run dry
no tears to cry
exhausted of
reasons why

but then I see
the earth speak to me
and the sun and the
moon and the sky

Over there
behind that flag
there seems to
be a trail

my answers gone
but if I could bring
myself along
to see

if maybe be
something for me
no not me but
perhaps the sea

It is thirsty

The path is dark
not clear to see
but well worn and
old it seems

and as I go
I gather fruits
that fill and
nourish me

Then I come
to a place I've
never been

still far to go
but waters flow!
enough for the
others in the sea

I fill my cup
what little I may
and turn toward
that place I'd spurned

For they are thirsty

Running now
with my little
cup I'm free

returning home
to share good news
to the thirsty
in the sea

A new crop has sprung
a new group has come
from that warm
safe place to cry

one by one
I go to them
to quench them
or to try

but they turn away
no time to drink
though even
they lament

We are thirsty

Yet there is no ailment
they cannot prescribe
no dragon
they cannot slay

their trinkets shine
much more than thine
and must surely
light their way

And then I see
that they nor me
could ever
fill the sea

for crying is
and will always be
it's wellspring
by necessity

But still I wonder
what lie down
the remainder of
that path?

its waters glisten
if I will listen
not blinded by
what I hath

Though each must
find their path
to extinguish that
harsh thirst

my tongue is wet
though look forward yet
to that music
I heard first

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

New article for naturalists looking beyond meditation

More and more Humanists, atheists, and other secular people discovering the usefulness of meditation. With this in mind, I have recently written an article that gives an overview of some other concepts that go beyond meditation, into a more fully contemplative practice for the naturalist. The article appears in The New Humanism, produced by the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard University. You can read it HERE.

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Happy Bodhi Day

Today, December 8th, is Bodhi Day, which is the Buddhist holiday that celebrates when Siddhartha Gautauma (the historical Buddha) reached enlightenment. The day is in remembrance of his coming to realization of the Dharma (wisdom) foundations of what would become Buddhist philosophy. Namely, a rejection of the asceticism he had been involved in, in favor of the Middle Path of moderation, and the deep understanding of suffering and how to relieve it through non-attachment. This is referred to as ‘the Great Awakening’.

Traditionally, the day was “the 8th day of the 12th lunar month” but this has been set to December 8th in Western and Western-influenced countries using the Gregorian calendar. Of course, it doesn’t really matter which day Buddha’s enlightenment actually occurred. Shocking to many of other beliefs perhaps, some monks will tell you it doesn’t really even matter if the story is even true. What matters are the teachings, and whether they work in alleviating suffering and promoting happiness. The existence of these teachings are the real thing worth celebrating for the Buddhist.

The reason you’re reading about this in an article by a Humanist is because most of the core, earliest documented teachings of the Buddha are Humanistic in nature; focused on human happiness in this life, through a series of practical practices and principles. This is why Humanist contemplatives have begun to meditate and explore mindfulness and its role in human well-being more and more.

Also, we’ll be having a traditional celebratory dish, rice pudding, tonight! Happy Bodhi Day!

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