Pick a date, any date. I pick this one. A nice astronomical date. This is when the series of “marathons” begins. Summer Solstice 05:24 Wednesday 21st June 2017 I’m taking as my muse the Marathon Monks of Mount Hiei in Japan. I’m going to use some of their rituals to turn my journeys to and…Read More Setting Off on Project Marathon Monk
By far the most common metaphor for a life is that of a journey. After all it has a beginning, middle and end. It appears to go through different terrain, run at different paces and our paths often cross. Sometimes we leave things behind. Sometimes we can’t. But we can confuse a metaphor with the…Read More Lay Pedestrian resolves to mug Marathon Monk
There’s a great art house film called Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter. It is about a Japanese woman who obsessively watches a flaky video of an American thriller. Eventually she snaps and travels to the USA to dig up the money she saw being buried on screen. I really enjoyed Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter. It reminded me…Read More Lay Pedestrian meets Marathon Monk
I remember a story about a guy who set off to walk from the centre of the USA to the ocean relying on the kindness of strangers for support. He was curious to learn more about his country and himself. At first he found it very difficult. People were suspicious and unhelpful. Then he learned…Read More Marathon Monk: Back story
I’m just back from a four day retreat at Wiston Lodge lead by Dene Donalds that I found very powerful. My sinuses were playing up for much of it which may have added to the impact but I actually had some good sitting and walking. Often you can tell a “good retreat” from the after…Read More Wiston Lodge: Turning towards retreat
These trees are the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh were a vivid yellow/green and just a red filter in post process produces this effect. They were spectacular.Read More No IR Film required
To encounter something living that is massively larger than you are on your way to nursery but change you.Read More Size is important
I took lay ordination into the Order of Interbeing as True Embracing Oak (Chân Sồi Bao Dung) on 28th August 2015 – a year ago today. This is my Oak Tree ordination family. From the top down Anthony Leete, Julia Claremont-Brown, Me, Margaret McClean and Patricia Diaz. We came together on that day for a significant…Read More One year old today
I enjoyed this video from Veritasium it complements a blog post I wrote back in 2010 – The present moment does not exist – which does a similar thing but at a larger scale.Read More Present moment – it may be just what we think it is.
I’ve been reading Christian literature again. This is an odd experience. Thomas Merton, C.S. Lewis and now Abbot Christopher Jamison have been working to make me a better Buddhist. In Finding Sanctuary (Orion Books 2006) Jamison differentiates between prayer and meditation roughly like this: Prayer is a personal conversation with God using “I” and “You”. It…Read More Secular mindfulness needs a rethink
In searching around for a subject to talk on at FameLab Scotland in January I stumbled across the fact that I had possibly been misusing a very basic psychological term. I have often referred to the Hedonic Treadmill to illustrate the tendency we all have to seek happiness by acquiring or disposing of “things”. These…Read More Hedonic Treadmill: Are there just Happy People and Sad People?
I came to see that the human imagination is not paramount in the creative process: that what is paramount is “The Creation” and He who created it and that what the true artist is expressing is not himself but his response to this eternal continuing process of Creation … I believe that, in the humblest…Read More The role of the artists
We are constrained by the choices we have made but the most constraining choice is choosing not to choose.Read More Freedom of Choice
I’m just back from a week at Plum Village. I’d hoped to do some portraiture but didn’t really have time. Retreats are busy places what with all the meditating and the Mindfulness. My working meditation was in the vegetable garden with Sister Coa Nghiem. She is from Thailand and speaks Vietnamese but not much English…Read More Sister Coa Nghiem
I gave a talk to the Uniting for Peace Inter-Faith group meeting at the Theosophical Society in Edinburgh. I made a recording so I can improve on it if I ever give a similar talk. Here it is: Summary [Brian Cooper asked for a 300 word summary for his report. The words below are roughly…Read More Buddha – a life of and for peace
Can’t believe I haven’t embedded this before:Read More Unsung Hero
Final day of the Wiston retreat.Read More Josephine: May 2015
Just having received the 5 Mindfulness Trainings.Read More Jerry: May 2015
Is this Roland? Looking out the door at the end of the Wiston Retreat.Read More Roland: May 2015
I’m amazed I pulled this image out of the series I took of Mia as she was larking about – like usual. Always making people smile. The shot kind of captures her a bit but I hope to photograph her again.Read More Mia
I’m doing some clearing out and came across this shot of Faith from a few years ago which triggered more gratitude for eyes and light and children. She’s much bigger now and asking for her first point shoes.Read More Faith to get point shoes
I grabbed this shot of Jane (who is one of my fellow Interbeing aspirants) at the end of our Wester Caputh retreat last week. This is with the FX27mm ‘pancake’ lens.Read More Jane at the end of the Wester Caputh Retreat
I can’t remember whether I have seen it before or not but I was walking in the woods by the river Tay when I came across Feather Frost A.K.A Frost Flowers. It looked like people had left little lumps of tissue all over the woodland floor. Wonderful to see. Fascinating but not really beautiful. Difficult…Read More Feather Frost
My brother Steve came up to visit in October and we had a nice time together for which I’m really grateful. He’d lost weight and was generally feeling and acting a lot more bouncy than over the last few years. We are both looking scarily like our father though.Read More Brother Steve
Something to be grateful for first thing in the morning.Read More View from the bathroom window
It is a navel gazing time of year but this year I feel more reflective than usual. I’ll be 50 in less that two months so perhaps it is my perpetual mid life crisis. This is a selfie with my Fujifilm X-M1 and nifty XF27mm f2.8 pancake lens @ f2.8 using the paper ball lampshade…Read More Gratitude Blog?
The Order of Interbeing ( Tiếp Hiện (接现) Order) was founded in the mid 1960’s, in Vietnam, by Thich Nhat Hanh (a.k.a. Thay). The basis of the Order are the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings which lay out the core principles for lay and monastic life. In 1987 Thay published a thin volume in English containing the 14…Read More Interbeing: Fourteen Guidelines for Engaged Buddhism
This is the Second of the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings of the Order of Interbeing: Aware of the suffering created by attachment to views and wrong perceptions, we are determined to avoid being narrow-minded and bound to present views. We are committed to learning and practicing non-attachment to views and being open to others’ experiences and…Read More The Second of the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings: Non-Attachement to Views
I just read “Vietnam: The Lotus in the Sea of Fire”. This small book was written at the height of the Vietnam war by my Zen Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh. My first sensation on receiving the book was one of gratitude. I had been wanting to read it for some time but it had never come…Read More Vietnam: The Lotus in the Sea of Fire
I just came across an ad for a Introduction for Mindfulness on Eventbrite and I wanted to capture it here. I guess that it will disappear off Eventbrite once the event has gone by and I want to be able to quote it in the future. Here is the text:Read More Mindfulness: The Ultimage Not-Quite-Getting-It Example?