Interview with Takuin ~ Part 1 of ?

Two long time readers at approached me at the beginning of the year and asked if they could interview me for my own website. Sounded interesting to me, so I said yes. The three of us have spent the last few weeks emailing back and forth, and these posts are the result of those emails. In reading over this interview, I seem to be more personal than I expected, if that is the right way to say it. And I hope anything I say is not misinterpreted. But if any of you need clarity, please post in the comments below and I'll do my best to clear it up.

The questions in this particular post, were asked by Jake.

Jake: Tell us about your path to becoming a spiritual teacher.

Takuin: There was no path, and as I see it, I was never a spiritual teacher. I understand that some people might say otherwise, and that is fine. But at no time have I ever thought of myself as a spiritual teacher.

My only real concern was to learn how to to speak. Not the physical means of speaking, but rather, the way I might make sense of an event that seemed to make no sense at all.

J: And what was that event?

TM: Some have called it awakening, liberation, or enlightenment, amongst other things. It took place on December 1st, 2006. I place no real importance on the event itself...

J: I have heard you say that before, but first I want to ask what about that event made no sense?

TM: Well, any kind of awakening, or whatever we call it, is a leap beyond logic. It is beyond what we know, in any meaningful way. It has been called many things but as it is a leap beyond, it can never be captured.

A major problem of the spiritual seeker is the desperate need to understand the realization; to understand something essentially beyond the powers of understanding. The only thing the seeker can do is make the awakening into something understandable, and therefore, allow themselves the potential opportunity to chase it down. But unfortunately, they can never actually chase awakening; they can only chase their ideas of awakening.

J: So the seeker is not actually seeking enlightenment, but their idea of what enlightenment is?

TM: That is it, right there.

J: After that 'accident' happened to you, you must have been curious, right? Did you seek out anyone for answers, or at least try to find some explanation of what happened to you?

TM: I did, but that probably lasted about a week. Even though I had no idea what this thing was that happened, I could clearly see the workings of this mind. And when I heard the explanations from others, telling me 'your experience was this, your experience was that', it was all meaningless.

"What was I to do? When they told me it was this or that, whether I accepted it, rejected it, or did nothing, I was still the same creature. It did not touch the life that was there."

I suspected that if there were discoveries of any kind, they would be made alone, beyond the muddy paw prints of others.

That turned out to be fairly true.

J: Do you think it is a trap impossible to break out of? I mean, the wheel within wheel way the search seems to go on?

TM: Clearly it is not impossible to leave behind, but the cost is great. The seeker IS the search, and you cannot separate the two. If one hopes to escape the search (which is itself a search), one has to die to what they have known, and that effectively kills the need for enlightenment in the first place.

But ending the search can be a trick, too. For most people it is like holding a live hand grenade behind their backs and thinking, "As long as I don't see it, it is ok to keep holding on to it."

J: And when it blows up, they grab another grenade with their remaining good hand!

TM: Haha...yes...

Just drop it, already. ;-)

J: You mentioned earlier that you place no real importance on your 'accident'. Why do you think that is?

TM: What about it is important? We can look at it, and analyze it from a distance...

We can say, life changed, and you lived differently than you would have. Possibly yes, possibly no. We can say, you would have never written all of those words without that accident. Sure, I can see that. We can say, you would have never met the people you have met over the past 5 years. Probably true. And so on. But why is that so important? The specifics, I mean.

A million other things could have happened on that same day, and each one could have led to an interesting life. That doesn't invalidate any of life's particular circumstances, but life and living are not the analysis of life and living.

That kind of analysis is just another way for us to solidify a vague aspect into something solid so we might be able to deal with it better.

It is an act of war.

J: Why do you say that?

TM: Once a target becomes solid, you can build turrets and defences. You can also learn how to manipulate the thing for your own personal gain.

If we are speaking about enlightenment, it is necessary to make it into something in order to take it. And that is why so much time is spent with words, trying to understand it. You cannot take what you cannot understand.

"People want to know what it looks like, what are the symptoms, what are the smells, the sensations, the lightness or the heaviness, or whatever it is. Why do they so desperately want to know these things?"

J: Maybe because if they have those sign posts, they'll know when they are getting close to the destination?

TM: Yes!

And what does that mean? What are they actually getting close to?

J: An idea?

TM: An idea handed to them. I have heard it called second-hand living, and that is not far from the truth.

J: So could we also say, they are looking for something, searching for something they have already created? They create the idea of what enlightenment should be, then look for the idea they just came up with? Is that right?

TM: That's it.

J: That is fucking cruel! Haha...

TM: It is.

But I don't want to be cruel about it myself, because the spiritual seeker already has enough to deal with. It is the ultimate abusive relationship, with the ultimate asshole spouse. ;-)

The reality of it is cruel enough, so I don't care to make it worse.

J: We've talked a number of times on Skype, and I've never found you to be cruel. Have you heard that you're cruel from other people?

TM: Not really, no.

It is always difficult with the written word, you is sometimes hard to hear the tone of the words. It is easy to misinterpret.

I have been told that I am unsympathetic, which I don't entirely disagree with. I can understand that one. But I am largely supportive of the people I speak with. For me, even if spiritual seeking is an impossibility, I love hearing stories and love listening to others talk about their own searching and where it has taken them. And I really don't think people come to me for answers, anyway. Sometimes they have, but that is an attitude I do not tolerate easily.

J: That has always been a problem for teachers I think (even though you say you don't think of yourself as one); those students that want a pointer, versus the ones that want to have their hands held and be told how to do it.

TM: I don't know how difficult it is for teachers. Many seem to be in the business of accumulation, anyway; to get more and more students to spread their light across the world or whatever it is.

It seems to me, if one is a spiritual teacher, their goal should be to lose their students, and not keep them.

J: How so?

TM: If I am a teacher, and the same people keep coming to me year after year, asking the same questions, then what the hell am I doing? Certainly some of that responsibility is on the student, but that would also be my failure as a teacher. If I can't give a student the tools they need to learn on their own, to explore on their own, within a single year, that is my fault.

If that were the case, I should just give up and go fishing or something.

J: Haha! Nice!

You started in December of 2006, a few weeks after your accident. And by my calculations, you've written over 320 articles. But recently you've talked about stepping away from all of that. Why did you decide to give it up?

TM: It is not a matter of giving up anything, necessarily. The site for me was a vehicle of exploration, and it still is.

Originally, the whole point of making was to find a way to speak, or to make sense of the senseless, as I said earlier. But that quickly changed when I realized that could never happen.

"So somewhere along the line, it changed into an exploration of many things, but the underlying subject was always one of enlightenment, more or less."

Looking back into older posts, I cannot really see a progression, or a change of any kind. But I do see how my writing has changed from chunky to sparse. And that seems to be the direction I am moving in now.

J: What direction is that?

TM: I am learning that verbosity is not necessary. At all. Fewer and fewer words are needed to fully express living, and that is where all of this is headed. I don't know exactly what this means, and I don't know exactly how this will express itself at, but it will happen soon.

Besides, I have never really been the kind of writer that plans what he is going to say, so I will not know where this is headed until it comes out. I'll be just as surprised as you will, Jake.

J: Are you worried about losing the readers you've gained over the last 5 years?

TM: Not at all. If they stay, read, comment, and involve themselves in what I am doing, I'll love them. And if they leave for greener pastures, I'll still love them. I do suspect that many will leave, however.

Just from my own observation, I seem to have primarily two kinds of readers; those interested in exploration, and those wanting to be told what to do. I have no interest in doling out objectives and praising them as rules of living. It is horrifying and unfair, as it stifles and kills one's ability to explore and truly live for themselves. I will no longer take part in any of that.

J: Have you done that?

TM: Not to that extent. At least I hope not! I have always avoided telling anyone how to do to get this or that, and so on. I have always attempted to turn it back onto them, because everything they hope to see is there already.

J: Was there a specific moment that led to this decision? Or was it something that slowly happened over time?

TM: I think it was a gradual thing. But there may have been a final straw. I am still undecided about whether or not what I observed was the defining moment, but it certainly didn't help, haha.

J: What was it?

TM: As you can probably imagine, Japan is a popular place for foreigners to visit for spiritual reasons. Perhaps not as popular as India, but still, there is a lot of that activity going on here. So it is not terribly difficult to find spiritual seminars and retreats and that sort of thing, if you know where to look.

I sometimes like to go to those places to watch people. I won't pay to get in to a seminar, but I like to find a place out of view and just watch the people in attendance.

"I like to see that activity; the movement, the action, all taking place in a rather concentrated space."

Early last year, I was sitting at just such an event. I saw a group of about 10 to 15 people sitting in some kind of meditation. One of them had a small child, maybe 5 or 6 years old. And children, being children, are not always so keen on sitting still and saying OM, or whatever. The father of the child kept trying to get the boy to sit still, and there was a bit of a struggle there.

Finally, the boy asked, "What are you doing?"

The father replied, "Trying to meditate."

The boy asked, "Why?"

The father, a bit frustrated answered, "Because I want to be happy."

Then the father said something that stunned me...

"And if you want to be happy, you'll have to do the same thing."

I. Was. Horrified.

I have told this story to a few people, and most of them don't think of it as such a big deal. But to me this was horrific. I was nearly in tears.

How dare he. How dare he set up his child in a fruitless search, teaching him to believe that, on his own, he is inadequate. I couldn't believe what I was hearing.

"Is that what we want for our children? For them to conform to a system? Do we want to teach them in order to be good, to be happy, they must perform actions in the same manner as everyone else? If the child fails to do this, what will they think of themselves?"

I sat with that event for some time. I am not saying it was the sole reason for my decision, but it did cause me to stop for a bit and explore.

And to be fair, there is no way to know if the child even heard what his father said. It could have been in one ear, and out the other...

...but I really doubt that.

J: At first glance I would've been tempted to say, "Big deal," but I see where you are coming from.

As far as changing direction, did your family and friends support this change? Or is this even something you would have talked to them about?

TM: I mentioned this to one or two people, but it wasn't anything I felt the need to really talk about with anyone. And to be honest, I do not think anyone in my family has ever read anything I have written. We have certainly never really talked about it, but not for any particular reason.

J: They've never read anything? Are you serious?

TM: I can't know for sure, because as I said, we have not talked about it. But I am fairly certain of that.

I don't feel bad about it at all. They don't ask me for spiritual advice, and they don't think I am any more strange than I always have been, so it is fine.

I think I prefer it this way. My friends and my family really know nothing of what I have written, and that is just fine. And if they ever ask what I have been doing, I just say I have been writing and growing my beard, and that is good enough for them. ;-)


This interview continues in the next post.

November Project 2011 Finale

This post wraps up the November Project 2011. Now that there have been a few days of space, and as I sit here looking over the posts for November, I think the project went quite well.

I would like to thank everyone for all their wonderful questions. I could not use them all, but I am grateful for every one. And special thanks goes to everyone taking part in the comments. It is always good to see others give themselves over to the questions in order to look deeper into them.

Thanks very much!

For those of you new to the site, and to the veterans unable to read the earlier posts, the following list contains all of the writings for the November Project 2011, in order.

The November Project 2011

01: On Dropping Thought

02: The State of Non-Duality

03: Burning the Notebooks

04: Quick Thoughts on Living

05: Questions Answered - Again!

06: On Increased Awakenings

07: Quick Reply on Living

08: Life After Death

09: What Are You Reading?

10: Confused About Enlightenment

11: In Sickness

12: Belief

13: On Writing at

14: On Freedom

15: On Meditation

16: On Dreaming

17: On the Earthquake and Tsunami of March 11, 2011

18: On Finding Out for Yourself

19: Where Should I Sit?

20: On Siddhis and Super-Powers ;-)

21: Takuin on Film

22: On Conclusion

23: On Apophis, Natural Resources, and Love

24: On Haters and Troublemakers

25: On Enlightenment and Awakening

26: On Ending

27: Ask the Reader

28: On Questions

29: On Suffering

30: One Last Sentence

Thanks again, everyone! ;-)

And for those of you coming to these posts late, please keep this in mind: Quick Note on Comments

The Woods

On Suffering

November Project: Question #29 This question comes from a good friend through email

I have asked the same questions over and over. I don't think I care as much for 'enlightenment' as for end of suffering. I have heard there is light at the end of tunnel. What if the tunnel is lifelong? What does one do if one feels like a tiny little lost being so panicked by life that the cosmos feels like an alien, uncaring thing?

I think you've done this long enough to know any answer given by an outside authority will do nothing for you.

How many times have you asked these questions? To how many different people? What have their answers done for you?

You've listened to those people, and at the time I am sure their answers were reasonable to you. Do this, do that. Avoid this, avoid that. And you have done those things. Yet, still here you are with the same questions, the same wants, the same suffering.

And how many times have you asked inwardly? And what questions have you asked?

Why do you struggle so with living, even though you are designed to do it perfectly?

The problem is not yours. It is not your fault. But you give it so much energy and make it into something seemingly insurmountable. Why do you do this? Is it just the accumulation of what, deep down, you believe are the bad decisions you have made? Do you wish you would have done this, or should have done that? Or perhaps you feel you could have done more than you have? What is it?

We have talked many times. I am telling you, there is no deficiency in your functioning. You have the same limited base that I have. Although you and I come from different countries, and were raised in entirely different cultures, our base is the same. What you are searching for is there within you. The only difficulty is, no one else is capable of telling you how to see it, or how to find it.

You've done all the tricks, taken all the tips, and listened to so many people, Takuin included. And I love you dearly. But you have to do this alone.

It is true, some people can listen to or read teachings and remove some degree of their suffering. I do not think you are one of those people. Your brain is far too clever for that. It knows what to do, but you have allowed the stories of others to cover over the beauty of that functioning. Even though your intelligence is vast and your mind is sharp, it will succumb to the weakness of your belief and fear.

Forget about the cosmos and if it is uncaring. That is only your attribute, projected on to infinity. Whenever you look out, point out, search out, you are getting away from what is precious, and that is your life and the love you can give everyone.

Please, set aside what you've been told, set aside your inaction, and just take the first step. You will not fall. You can be afraid, uneasy, uncertain, all of that. It is ok. But you will not fall.

Please do this...

Snow and Water

On Haters and Troublemakers

November Project: Question #24 This question was asked by TJ during a recent Skype call

In my own 'spiritual' writing I've had some problems dealing with haters and troublemakers, and I can't really handle it well. It totally gets under my skin and it makes me want to block comments or start over. What do you do to get over that kind of stuff, and why do you think they do it in the first place?

Thanks for the question, TJ.

I hope I'm not being forgetful, but I honestly don't remember having much of a problem with that on the website. There certainly have been incidents, but it has not been terribly mean-spirited.

Those problems mainly arise because of the interpretation of the reader. The writer is certainly involved in there, too, so one can't remove oneself completely. The writer always has some degree of responsibility.

There are certain subjects that invite intense reaction. If you talk about belief, reincarnation, life after death, god, or religion, and you say something contrary to popular belief, prepare yourself, haha. People will come out of the woodwork to tell you why you're wrong. And sometimes you might actually be wrong, so you can't just instantly dismiss anything they say.

As a writer of that kind of material, you should always be questioning yourself anyway. So if you take those comments as new lines of investigation, and you can invite the commenter to share in further exploration, it will only be better for everyone involved.

But sometimes, a troll is a troll is a troll. And our blogs allow us to block anyone we wish. Feel free to exercise that right. :-)

Always remember to be open, but in the end it is your house. If you don't want someone there, feel free to throw them out. Just don't be an asshole about it.

As far as why they do what they do...they're simply asserting their beliefs. They believe something different from what you say. For whatever reason, your words become a threat to who they believe themselves to be. After all, if you point out something within them that destroys a particular belief, you are in effect destroying the person.

When we look out into the world, it is easy to see how this plays out in terrible ways...

Thanks for your question, TJ.

Breakers and the Water

On Apophis, Natural Resources, and Love

November Project: Question #23 Today let's do something different. Multiple questions, multiple answers. These particular questions I did not plan to answer. But I thought, What the hell? Why not?

This might not interest you, but I thought i'd ask anyway. First, what do you think of the possibility of apophis striking the earth in 2036? [She's referring to 99942 Apophis ~ TM] And second, if an impact seems imminent what do you think humanity will do?

Well, the chances of Apophis striking the earth are 1 in 250,000, so we're probably safe. BUT, I don't like those odds, haha. Usually when scientists give us the odds, the numbers are so high we can't really understand them in any significant way. But 250,000 is a number very easy to get our heads around. I don't like that I understand it as well as I do. ;-)

But even if Apophis strikes the earth, it is not an Extinction Event sized asteroid. It is a 10 - 20 million death sized asteroid, in all probability. But that is really dependent upon where it strikes, if it does.

What will humans do if the strike is imminent? Probably wait till the last moment, work frantically to try and stop it, then when millions die lament, "We did the best we could!" But that is just based on human behavior in general. ;-)

I've heard we're coming up to our last reserves of oil for the entire planet. Do you think its too late to avoid the horrible things that will happen when the oil runs dry?

Depending on what source you trust, the earth's supply of oil will be completely tapped within 30 to 70 years. I tend to think it will run dry sooner rather than later, for one main reason...

Humans will not stop screwing.

The more humans born, the more resources needed. And since the number of humans brought into the world will only increase, the amount of resources needed to support them will also increase.

The general theme for resources has been, when you run out, or do not have what you think you need, you take it from someone else.

For example - and purely hypothetical, of course - if a particular nation has certain resources the rest of the world depends on in certain amounts, and if they put a strangle hold on said resources, another more powerful nation(s) might invade and take the resources, through force, for their own use. Now normally, people all over the world might stand up against such oppression. But if they can be convinced the invasion is for the right reasons, they'll keep their mouths shut.

But thankfully, we're only speaking hypothetically.

As I mentioned in the Apophis question above, historically, humans tend to wait until the last minute to act. And at that point, the only method for change is violence. This is mostly due to the stupidity running through thought that says, "It is not so bad. I'm sure someone will take care of it." And maybe that was fine years ago, but we can no longer afford to be lazy in this way.

Only you can take care of this problem. And by YOU, I mean EVERYONE.

If we keep to what we've always done, when we run out of resources we'll see horrors that would frighten Hitler and Mengele. And they'll be committed in the name of some noble pursuit.

Tokyo Daibutsu Dark

Do you think you love more, or have more love, after your awakening?

What is love to you? Is it dependent upon the past? Dependent upon a history you have with a particular person? I bring it up because that is how a great many people see it. And many say that is love. But it is familiarity.

We might ask, is love dependent upon familiarity? Can you not love a person you are not familiar with? Or is it simply a matter of what you prefer?

Can there be more or less love? Or is it more or less familiarity?

Thanks for the questions, everyone!

On Freedom

November Project: Question #14 This question comes from Liz through the Contact form

Do you think humanity will ever, truly, be free?

Thanks for the question, Liz!

Humanity has always been free.

I know it is sometimes difficult to see, with all the needless destruction that goes on in the name of this or that. But freedom can never really be lost... can be covered over, but never lost.

Thanks for your question!

On Increased Awakenings

November Project: Question #6 This question was asked by Bill through the Contact Form

Now that there are more awakened people than ever before, how do you think this will effect the world that we live in?

We hear a lot of this talk these days, of there being more awakened people throughout the world, or that awakening is happening at a faster pace than ever before, and so on. There certainly are more people talking about it now, which I suppose is not a bad thing. But I just don't see it as an actuality. At least, not yet.

I think there is one reason for the rise in these ideas, and that is the Internet. Now, more than ever before, we do not have an increase in awakened people, but an increase in our ability to see them all over the world. It is not the same thing. We have no idea if the number of awakened people is actually higher, or if we are just looking at what we have had all along.

The Internet makes it possible for us to see people all over the world, after all, and I find it suspicious that 'more' people are supposed to be awakened, when that number has 'increased' right along with our increased ability to access the rest of the world easily. Does that make sense?

And also, due to the Internet, we now have access to vast amounts of spiritual teachings and teachers. More of that knowledge is available than ever before, which does not mean an increase in awakening, but an increase in people's ability to speak as if they are awakened. Again, not the same thing.

Yellow Flowers

I'm not saying that every teacher is out there trying to fool you, but it is true that the common lingo of awakening is so seductive, one can easily fool oneself without really noticing. Of course, there are only so many words we can use to describe awakening, and we shouldn't necessarily throw things out just because of words commonly used. But, have you ever asked yourself why so many teachers sound so much alike? Does any part of you find that suspicious, or at least, the tiniest bit odd? Question it.

I am not sure what people are expecting. If there are so many more awakened people now, what does that mean? What makes that such a wonderful thing? Is it because we'll be better as a species? We'll take care of this world better than if we're not awakened? Bullshit, I say. If people really want to help the world, they will do it now, and not wait for some magical date in the future when it will be better.

When humanity dies off, it will not be due to a lack of awakened people. It will be due to lack of right action. And anyone can make things right, right now. There is no need to wait. And we all know what right actions are, even if we claim we do not.

In order for us to survive as a species, we do not necessarily need more awakened people. We just need to take our collective heads out of our collective asses. ;-)

Thanks so much for your Question, Bill.

November Project 2011: 30 Questions with Takuin

Time for another month-long project! I received many wonderful questions last year, and I am looking forward to doing it again. Here's the project:

For the entire month of November, I will be answering one question per day, every day, from a reader. And I will be taking submissions every single day, right up to November 30th.

You can submit your questions by commenting on this post, through the Contact Page on this site, on Twitter, or on the Life Beyond the Image Facebook Page.

For those of you submitting questions, I’ll be happy to link to you if you have a website, Twitter account, etc. But if you want to remain anonymous, or if you do not tell me one way or the other, I will just use your first name, or your initials.

I will most likely answer your questions in a written post, but I may decide to record audio or video for the answer instead. I’ll just go with whatever feels right at the time.

The questions themselves should be on the topic of this website, but we can still have some fun. Use your imagination, and feel free to ask anything you like. I can’t guarantee I’ll answer every question, but I will keep them all as I might use them in future posts. So let’s get to it!

November 1st is rapidly approaching...What would you like to ask?

Big Tree

Cook Your Own Meal

An excerpt from a recent talk. Why do you feel the need for preparation in your so-called spiritual life? Is it to have enlightenment in the future? Do you look to that future and think, somehow, you might be able to touch it through your effort?

Do you think you'll be able to replicate experiences someone else told you about?

Perhaps if you read the correct book, or hear the right collection of words coming from the perfect, smiling set of teeth, or if you sit in silence long enough it will come to you, wrapped up exactly as they have said, in the same precise shape as they have described.

But this is not preparation. It is prevarication.

How much knowledge does freedom need? How much experience must freedom have? Why must you wait, bound at the feet of another, praying for their table scraps?

Don't wait for someone else to feed you. Pick yourself up off the floor, walk your ass into the kitchen, and cook your own meal.

Breathe. Live your life. Freedom will take care of itself.

Just Look

Recently, a curious child asked a curious question during a talk. Child: What are you doing?

Takuin: Speaking.

Child: No, I know that. I mean what do you do?

Takuin: I remind people to look.

Child: What does that mean?

Takuin: (pointing up) Do you see those clouds?

Child: Yes.

Takuin: Most adults cannot see them.

Child: How come?

Takuin: When they should be looking, they are instead thinking.

Child: ... (looking)

Takuin: I remind them to just look.


Most Popular Posts of 2009

This is a list of the most popular posts on for 2009. This list is not solely based on comment count alone, but also on the quality of the comments, the variety of responses, and also the amount of email received for the post.

Jenga Fail

2009 was a good year. This site has grown beyond what I might have anticipated, and the response from readers, through email and comments, has been wonderful.

I've had many wonderful conversations through comments, skype, and in-person, and I know this will continue for some time to come. I appreciate all of you that take the time to read each post, comment or send email, and I am also appreciative of the lurkers on the site (those that look, but never participate).

I am really looking forward to meeting more of you in 2010, and I am excited to write and speak more on this nonsense I seem to be known for.


Thank you all very much!

The 12 Most Popular Posts of 2009

In Chronological Order:

January - Where does it hurt?

A very short post on hurt, and the target of the hurt. Does the victim or perpetrator exist at all?

February - Water Fasting - Day 17

17 days into a 28 day food free experiment. This post recaps the first two weeks, and also goes into basic functioning during a fasted state.

MarchMayumi’s Letter

The final message of a recently deceased friend.

April - The Grief of a Buddhist

How a human being might come up against loss and grief.

MayZen and the Cockroach

An actual experience, and a koan of sorts. But I will not explain the possible meaning.

June - Are You Enlightened?

This short back and forth is from a conversation on enlightenment with my friend Boosy.

July - A Question for My Peers…

A question for my peers on the importance of 'teaching' enlightenment. Now over 100 comments.

August - Are You More Than Experience?

A short post questioning the importance of experience.

September - Does the Wind Blow?

The wind blows, but is it really there at all?

October - Notions of I AM

A short back and forth with Mike Sayers on the notions of what we think we should be.

November - The End, The Beginning

The shortest post I've ever written. This piece also inspired the meme, A Silent Post.

December - The Wound of Forgiveness

A group writing project of sorts between myself, Albert Foong, Tom Stine, Daphne Lim, and Davidya, on the subject of forgiveness.


There were a total of 58 posts for 2009 (making it a grand total of 228 posts since December of 2006). You can see all of them in the Archives.

Beyond the Known

2009 also saw the release of my first book, Beyond the Known: 365 Days of Exploration. I have received a lot of feedback so far, and even found out that it works with the Kindle (with a few glitches here and there).

It was an exciting process to put that book together, and I might release something completely different for 2010. Stay tuned to find out!


I don't think I will change much on this blog for 2010. I will still keep posting one or two articles per week, and keep up my responses to all of your comments.

But there is one thing I might do a bit differently; I may start being more personal in my writings. As many of you have probably noticed, I very rarely tell personal stories. But there may be something of value hidden away within one's  experience that might benefit someone else.

I am still not sure how I'll approach this, but it is something that will most likely come about here and there, little by little.

Am I Missing Anything?

What would you like to see on More of a certain kind of post? More audio? Video? Is there something I've not written about that you would like to explore together? Please leave a comment below and perhaps we can begin 2010 with something new and interesting.

I appreciate all of your support over the last three years, and I look forward to all of our encounters in the years to come.

Stay safe, and be good!


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Beyond The Known E-Book Now Available

E-Book Cover It is finally here...

Beyond The Known - 365 Days of Exploration

To download this book for free, right-click the above link and save as.

About the Book

398 Pages / 2.79 MB

This book is a calender of very short meditative explorations; one per day for an entire year. Some are statements, some are questions, and others just simple movements of words. Each one can be used as a jumping off point for your own daily meditations.

None of the phrases in the book are definitive. In other words, they did not arise from a center of belief, or the conclusions of self. And although some of the 'days' in the book will seem definitive, conclusive, or opinionated, do not accept them as true or false.

The words are not important anyway. What is important is to see how you rise to fight, rise to agree, or rise to flee.

Download For Free

This book is free and is not restricted, but it must always remain free. Other than that, you may do whatever you want with it. Send it to as many people as you see fit. Quote it. Give it away on your own site. It really doesn't matter to me.

If you find you have enjoyed the book, you could throw a link my way, but you don't have to do that, either.


Beyond The Known - 365 Days of Exploration (Right click to save as)

Note: For those of you having already received a pre-release of this book, the version on this page is slightly updated from the one you have. Cheers!

The Soldier

The Road to the Mountains

War is not the fault of the soldier.

They do not want to destroy, kill, or cause pain.

They want it all to end. They want to go home.

Many governments in this beautiful world do not take care of their soldiers. Once the job of a soldier is done, once usefulness is surpassed, they are tossed aside as bent and rusted tools to be replaced by newer models.

But there are few human beings able to fix a broken tool. And resources are certainly not funneled in that direction.

When you see an old soldier, you might feel pity, but that is not necessary. You might feel hate, but please don't. You might hope to help them, if it is necessary. That is a start...

It might be enough just to give your full attention to another human being. It will never be a waste of time.

War is not the fault of the soldier. They are just another casualty.

War and Anger

Question of the Week: 9/22 - 9/28This great question comes from iamasimpleman on the short post, No Mystery. "I have read your words several times and the begin to touch my heart. But there is something against it which comes directly from my heart, anger. And this anger says, want to say, sit Takuin in a time machine to Ausschwitz and than let him talk to these people. I can tell you and send you to a thousand places in history."

Read More

Must War Continue?

This comment is from the previous post, Questions on Peace and War.

War will always be a constant in our lives. Violence and peaces are just smaller peices in the stream of chaos. Chaos rules all of us and everything we percieve as reality.

The war within ourselves, I believe is nothing but the constant struggle one goes through to find who we are as a person. Once you come to terms with who you are, then you can achieve “peace”.

This can never stop war because who we are as individuals is opposite from others, thus creating conflict and adding to the chaos that rules us all.

War may have been constant, and may indeed currently be underway as it is. It is all plain to see that it is caused by ideas and beliefs saying there are differences and opposites. But are there any differences or even opposites? Or only ideas about differences and opposites?

This is all very important to see for yourself. Just because something appears in one way doesn't meant that it has to continue. Why do you accept it? Why do you say it is a constant, and therefore, doomed to continue? I don't care about what has happened before, just look at it now, as it is. Why do you want it to continue?

You might say, "I don't necessarily want it to continue," but what do you do to stop it? You clearly see that the belief in the opposite, the belief in the individual, is the root cause of conflict, but why do you accept that it has to be that way? Why do you see it, and at the same time, cling to it?

Why do you assume there is a "who" at all? If you have never gone into it, it may seem confusing, but what if there is no who? What would happen? Is it even possible for the "who" come to terms with itself? These are important questions to meditate on.

I am not saying any of this is right or wrong, and please keep in mind, I am not necessarily talking about "YOU." This isn't a "you are wrong" kind of thing. Not at all. But you see the movement there. It is clear that you see it. But do not stop there. Keep going and find what is at the root.

Don't stop...this is your life, and more importantly, your children's lives. No one else can give this to you. You have to find out for yourself. Not, "find what is right or wrong based on a conclusion." Just find out. Be curious.

I say it can come to an end. You might rightfully ask, "How do you know?" I say these things because it doesn't exist here. And if it is not here, it doesn't have to be there.

There is absolutely nothing special about this organism (Takuin). And if it lives with no conflict, you don't have to either.

Questions on Peace and War

These questions come from various e-mails received over the last week.

"Do you think we will have peace in the world?'"

It is difficult for one to project a future in order to see what may happen. One can only sit with what is essentially the blood that pours through the veins.

The future, if seen as a projection of the past, as seeds of what has come before, holds little hope for peace. There may indeed be rest between various wars, but that is in no way peace, nor is it a reason to be hopeful.

Peace is not a rest between wars, but a stillness within the organism. All war begins and ends with you; with each of us. There can be no hope for peace as long as you continue to project war from within.

So forget the question about peace in the world, and ask about the peace within.

"I would never kill anyone, so how can I project war?"

And what about the person that cut you off on the freeway? The person that spilled coffee on your shirt? The person that is now dating your ex-wife? The drunks in the alley, the obese people, gay people, black/brown or otherwise "differently" shaded people? Have you ever had the thought that they should be different from what they are, or should do different things from what they have done? THAT is war, not just the blood spilled for stupid nationalistic reasons.

You want to end the war outwardly, but have not the courage to see the killing you do within your own mind. Can you see the violence that lives within you? Don't say, "I am not violent," or "I follow non-violence," or some other nonsense. The self in operation is violence in operation. It separates, justifies, and defends its own limited position.

None of this is good or bad, just see it as it is. See the violence that lives in you already. Start with that. Forget the nicely painted "No Blood for Oil" signs and get to work on the only war that matters; the only war there truly is. It is the war of your own creation.

It all begins and ends with you, in every moment.

"How do I go about doing it?" (being peaceful)

Are you peaceful? Probably not. Otherwise, why ask the question? If you are not peaceful and are trying to suppress that in order to be peaceful, THAT IS WAR.

Peace is not about changing what you are. Can you see what you are without the desire to change it? Can you see that you are violent, sexist, greedy, racist, or whatever it may be? If that is what is there, that is what is. You stay with that movement, seeing it as it goes from place to place, as it arises in certain situations. Be there, in each moment. This observation of the movement, devoid of self-centered observation, brings it to an end.

I use the term observation, although it might not be quite accurate. It is not a seeing that is based on memory, justification, prejudice, or preference. In other words, it is not based on the self or the identity, as that is a part of the very same movement. The activity of the self is plain to see. It poses no great difficulty in finding it. But here is a question you may wish to meditate on: Is there activity beyond the self?

Usually, an event occurs, and one thinks, "This is happening to me." But in the observation discussed above, an event occurs, and one realizes, "This is happening." (Or you might even say, "This is happening to the self," but be careful with it.) Eventually, "This is happening," becomes less and less apparent, as you will discover there is no way to really identify with it anyway. I dissolves into, "Happening," but in the end, even that is unnecessary.

Finally, it is simply...

"What about Byron Katie's The Work, or the Sedona Method? Do these help?" (in bringing peace)

They have helped countless millions of people, I am sure. To find out more, visit Byron Katie's blog, and Tom Stine's write up on the Sedona Method.

The Work and the Sedona Method are both forms of inquiry, and seem to work well for many people.

Takuin's present situation would seem to have been induced by inquiry, although as the body sits here, it is impossible to say with certainty. In the end, one can't really say it is attributed to anything. Having said that, inquiry can have a tremendously calming effect on the organism. Although I am not at all sure that one's personal form of inquiry can bring another to a final realization.

I have said before, the world does not need Christians and Buddhists, it needs Christs and Buddhas. The same would seem to go for these forms of inquiry. I have heard of people coming to the end through inquiry, but I have never heard of someone coming to the end through another person's form of inquiry. Do you know what I mean? But they are both tools that will certainly make you feel a hell of a lot better. :)

I am not at all saying there is anything wrong with either of them. They seem to bring clarity to millions of people. And I am not even sure that what I do within is really any different from what they teach. But eventually, you'll have to face the predicament of Who is asking these questions? And that is something you will have to do on your own.

I love Byron Katie...she is so funny and loving. This is one of my favorite videos of her work.

Thanks for all the emails while I was away. I am slowly getting through them all. And thanks for all of the birthday wishes. I think I have finally digested all of that cake.

I have far more to say about war and peace, along with other writings on stillness that I penned in Toyama. They'll all be posted here in due time.

Quick Thoughts - Consciousness

Eckhart Tolle has a bit of a different definition. He calls us all consciousness, but it is all trapped in the form of identification with thoughts, beliefs, emotions, etc. The start of enlightenment is the slow removal of consciousness from all these forms, and letting just be pure consciousness, which he calls presence. He doesn't explicitly say so, but I get the idea once we withdraw consciousness (or energy or whatever you want to call it) from all our thought forms (such as the ego), that is awakening.

Well, the way I use the word consciousness is that it is the same as the content it contains. There is no consciousness if there has been no experience, no memory, no thought, etc. Those things ARE consciousness.

These things accumulate over time, and that is the pool that one draws from. So, if there is no content, then there is no consciousness, because the content IS the consciousness. (You will hear J. Krishnamurti talk about this quite a bit. He speaks of it as a container AND the contained.)

Can the ego be here without consciousness? If we say the ego is the self, the center, or whatever, then it must be built from something. This ego is a part of consciousness.

Is there a start to enlightenment? I take it to mean that enlightenment takes time. If that is the case, is that enlightenment? Does wholeness require any time? One might say it takes time to get there, but where does one have to go? How long does it take to move from zero to zero?

Can consciousness be removed? It isn't a matter of removing anything. It is more like seeing what is there for what it is. I'll give you an example from my own life if I may:

I noticed that after this realization, I seemed to have lost so many memories. It was what I imagined amnesia to be like. But I later came to understand that the memories (the consciousness) are still there, but since there is no self to be emotionally involved, they are not present.

The self is linked to many events that solidify its existence. I was beaten, I was robbed, I am good at sex, I am stupid because of an event, I am better than others because of this or that, etc. These things become important and solidify what we consider the self to be. These feelings of who we are define the things that we do and the things that we say. And it all comes from what has happened before (the past).

Now, if the self is gone, there are no longer important connections to what has happened before. Since there is no self to define, the definitions (the past) become useless. The definitions are still there, but there is no connection.

Maybe it is like having a phone book; it is filled with numbers, but you do not know what is there unless you need a number. Unless you look. Otherwise, it is just there, causing no harm to anyone.

That is as close as I can get to it in words.

Order in Our World

I was at a talk last night on the topic of Order. I was not there as a speaker; just an observer. I sat quietly for the two hours, listening and observing my thoughts. It was wonderful to go into the subject of order, to find out what is there, if anything, and see if it can be brought about in some way. A still mind, a mind that is in the moment, or a mind that is present, whatever you want to call it, is a remarkable thing. In that state, is there Order? You ask the question, How can we have Order in this world? Some might answer that only through God can we find Order. Only through his/her guidance can we be set upon the right path. But how many thousands of centuries have we done this? Religion after religion, cult after cult, we are still in the same horrible state of affairs. They say, God will show us the way. Well, when? And which God? And why should we believe you anymore? For thousands of years we have been promised this freedom, and nothing has come of it. I do not want to be fooled anymore.

I can no longer believe that any religion has a monopoly of the enlightenment or salvation of humanity. If one did, we would have it. And I cannot be tricked into believing that we just have not found the right one yet. What is the difference between them, anyway? No, I must walk alone, and see it for myself.

You ask the question, How can we have Order in this world? Some might say that we will find it in a social system. Does anyone still believe this? How could it be possible? Society has fragmented us. Our nationalities keep us at war with one another. There is always that difference, and that fatalistic comparison. How can the United States be any different from Canada, or Mexico? I cannot understand this kind of thinking at all. How can India be any different from the U.K.? I do not understand. Is it because we look different? There are different languages, and different cultures. But so what?

I was born in the United States. That is all. I was born there. But so what? Some might say that I am unpatriotic. Why does patriotism have to be an opposite of unpatriotism? They are both their own conditions. It is not, if you aren't one, then you are the other. Why would I need a label to see another person? If I used the label or the image, then I cannot meet that person ever. If someone asks me, are you patriotic?, and I say no, then immediately I am unpatriotic or an anarchist or whatever. But why? If I say I am not patriotic, that is all. Nothing else. I do not waste energy on pursuing some anti-patriotic stance. If I did, that would be no different from being patriotic. Can you see this?

Some might ask, don't you have pride in your country? That question confuses me. I was born in a place. How can I be proud of a place? You country has done wonderful things, they might say. Aren't you proud? It becomes difficult to talk about; I am not proud, and I am not non-proud. I am just here. Why must I be one or the other? I have no desire for conflict with other human beings. Why would I want to adopt a feeling given to me by another, when I know it will eventually put me into conflict with another?

I hope I can make it clear that there is no action here that is against something. I am not saying I am against a nation, and I have no negative energy here. It becomes difficult. How can I even be proud of myself? There is nothing here. If I have set a difficult goal and then achieve it, am I supposed to be proud of that? If I am proud, disappointment is just around the corner. I do not know that I am able to make myself clear here.

You ask the question, How can we have Order in this world? Some would say through political action. We have had similar, if not the very same, political structures we have had for thousands of years. In what way has this set human beings free? There is always division in politics. Why would I even want to entertain the idea of being interested in their promises? It makes no sense to me. I have no desire to be divided any longer. There is nothing in me that wishes for some new system to set me free. I have no conflict here. In fact, if as a result of reading this, someone becomes angry, I have NOTHING to do with it. There is no division here. Why would I have any hate or anger for anyone? It is none of my business what other people think about me. And only I can upset myself. Am I to believe that someone has some kind of magical power to get into my mind and make me mad? That is insane.

It is always difficult to make oneself understood when speaking like this. Many people take these things personal for some reason. I am sure at one time, I would have done the same. But do we really need to be in the dark anymore? In this current age, we have more knowledge than we have ever had at any time in history. It continually grows exponentially. But what has all of this knowledge given us? We still kill each other, hate each other, become more and more isolated from one another. What can knowledge do to set us free? All knowledge is from the past. It is the creation of memory. But humans are present creatures. How can we use a dead thing, something born from the past, to free us into the present? Is it at all possible?

Some might say that we learn from our mistakes. Is that true? Why do we still hurt each other? Why do we still have all of this terrible division in the world? If we could learn from our mistakes and set things right, then why don't we?

Please believe me, when I write these words, all I can feel is joy and love. I do not say these things, or anything for that matter, out of a need to prove a point or to be right. I have no agenda that will take away my self-created hurt in order to make me feel like a bigger person.

I can truly say that I love you. To anyone that reads this. I know that humanity can see through these things. I know that we human beings can express this love and joy, for the betterment of all. And I know that we can live together, in real loving relationships with one another. But why haven't we done it?

Ask yourself right now. Why haven't you done it?