Sent May 7th, 2020

I have this thing where once I start a book I refuse to let it beat me. I don’t even remember when I started Manual of Insight by Mahasi Sayadaw, but it took me at least 4 months to finish, but I finally did it this week. The book is a very thorough instruction in a particular set of Buddhist meditation practices, but sometimes I feel the more words I read on something the less I learn; by the time I get to the end I have forgotten the beginning.

The weather feels more comfortable than it has in a long time. The alternating sun and spring showers keep the air lightly humid and clean. The flowering trees lend the air a slight fragrance that is at its peak just after the rain ends.

It is just warm enough outside for us to keep our deck door open in the afternoon. Amelia likes the freedom to roam between the house and the baby-proofed deck. Whenever she hears an airplane overhead she’ll excitedly point at the sky and exclaim “Feiji! Feiji!” (“airplane” in Mandarin).

Before starting Manual of Insight, I read a translation of the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu. The first page reads:

Tao called Tao is not Tao.

Names can name no lasting name.

Nameless: the origin of heaven and earth.
Naming: the mother of ten thousand things.

Empty of desire, perceive mystery.
Filled with desire, perceive manifestations.

These have the same source, but different names.
Call them both deep-Deep and again deep:

The gateway to all mystery.

I can still recall it from memory all this time later.

Written while listening to "Pinch Me" by Barenaked Ladies