Archive | October, 2012

I’m From

23 Oct

32 years ago  

The Universe planned

To hurt the crap out of my mommy

As I pushed out of her tummy


I began to grow up

In search of some acumen

Fixed to the fate of being born human


Then suddenly, finally, something dawned on me:

Being an Earthling ain’t meant to be dandy

It meant being burdened with dumb and stupid feelings

Of sorrow and confusion with no apparent meanings

Of poopy times and tears

Of sadness and despair

With fits of frustration

When you just wanna rip out all your hair

But all of that grief

Puts more hair on my chest

(Though I certainly hope it is different for a woman’s breast…cause a woman with a hairy breast would be gross!)


So when something seems wrong

In fact it is right!

Indeed, a cool concept

In fact, it’s hella tight!

“Hella” is a word that speaks to my home

With Minister Tony, Bro’s Jerome and Derrone


And that’s where I’m from:

From a sanctified past

That managed to transform

Into the here and now really fast


I’m from getting in trouble with Darren for prank calls

From Mom and Dad’s devotion to absorb all my falls

From G-d and His weirdness

Like, come on, G-d’s totally weird

It’s not like He just sits up there with a long nappy beard


I’m from Yom Kippur marathons

With Izya and Moisha

And having the privilege of being nicknamed “Kiddosha”

I’m from love love and more love

Love from my cat Smokey

Who I keep reincarnating into plants…okey dokey (I couldn’t find any good word to rhyme with Smokey)


I’m from the happiest moment of my life’s current bend

When my brother Mark, told me I was his best friend

I’m from travelling the world

With Robbie – (he may as well be my kin)

With all our adventures of “Shinsky and Hin”

I’m from laugh-out-loud sessions with Danny Bendett

From Desire’s writing – for which I have way mad respect


I’m from role models and teachers – the real McCoy’s

Such as Wilson and Paul: my deepest sources of sharing joy

From the building of temples, within and without

With Oom and her kindness, with her high Karmic clout


I’m from Luba and Izya, the best grandparents ever

From Luba’s growing radiance

And Izya’s sincere endeavor

To spit some serious wisdom

To teach my naïve mind

To be vigilant and clever

To cherish all that I find 


So what I’m really saying is

Listen to your teacher

Whose purity is clearly defined by one feature:

It comes packaged as a present

That is, this moment here and now

And wants to inspire

To draw from you a “WOW!”
















Taking Buddhist Practice into a Taxi Cab

14 Oct

In my first three months in Thailand, I think I’ve learned most of my conversational Thai within the doors and windows of taxi cabs.  Throw your hand out anywhere along a busy street and within seconds a bright blue or pink taxi cab will come zooming up to you.  Step inside and here’s what you’ll most likely see: the interior of the cab adorned with shiny talismans, wallpapered with foreign currency, or plastered with mug shots of the driver’s favorite Theravada Buddhist master.  And most important (in my opinion), a cheery taxi driver with an affable smile and uncanny willingness to do his best to chat in English with you (I say ‘his’ because I’m yet to meet a female taxi driver.  Though I did get one lady, she looked so butch with arms bigger than my legs and spoke with a voice of a 70 year old man with Emphysema.  Sorry, that doesn’t count.  Ok fine, it counts!).  Show him that you’re making an effort to speak Thai and he will become your best friend.  I have made dozens of best friends so far.  And I plan on making more. 

I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for Buddhism, and I find that it can be beautifully practiced while staring at the back of my taxi driver’s head and making sure to say hi to him.  My idea of Buddhist practice is constantly evolving.  It seems like the less I talk about Buddhism and the more I do Buddhism it, the more I feel that I’m practicing it.  And therein lies the one element of Buddhism that never changes in my mind: one won’t find the wisdom or essence of Buddhism in a single book written about it.  I don’t care if it’s written by the Dalai Lama, Thick Nat Han, or G-d!  If you get sold on the teachings of Shakyamuni Gotama – AKA Da Buddha – then better get off the ol’ buttocks off the couch and start practicing them instead of just reading about them. 

 But there is something that absolutely must be read and enjoyed. In fact it’s the following story I’m about to tell.  One evening I got into the taxi and asked the driver to take me to my apartment.  Holding true to my own personal commitment to just say hi, I initiated the conversation by asking him where he was from.  He told me he used to be the owner and operator of a bar and nightclub on a small tropical island of Phuket.  Then the tsunami attacked from the coast and obliterated everything to the ground.  “One moment I have everything, one moment I have nothing,” he explained.  Then I asked him, “So why did you decide to be a taxi driver?” He said, “I chose to be a driver because I wanted to continue serving others.  When I drive, I get to serve.  It makes people happy.  It makes me happy.”  These words will deeply resonate in my heart for a long time.  In my eyes this man is the human prototype for a pretty decent way to go about life.