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A dream I had of the Goddess Kannon, and thoughts about our approaching foot pilgrimage

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A dream I had of the Goddess Kannon, and thoughts about our approaching foot pilgrimage

It has been a very snowy ski season in Colorado.
We had witnessed an avalanche that closed the highway for many hours, and many more avalanches were reported in our area.
Ski season was fun, with friends who came over to ski with us and a mixture of heavy snow and sunny lovely days of good skiing.

In two short weeks, we will leave the Rocky Mountains of Colorado to walk the Chugoku Kannon pilgrimage in Japan.
I am both excited and anxious, feeling as if I have never walked a pilgrimage before.

My mind is full of self doubts.
After three months of winter without any walking, can we really walk every day for eight hours per day for three months?....
Can I really live for three months with only two sets of clothing and one pair of shoes?...
Will this pilgrimage be fruitful and enrich us mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually?
Or will it be an enormous expense for everyday experiences of l…

Painting in my studio, and planning our next foot pilgrimage in Japan

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Painting in my studio, and planning our next foot pilgrimage in Japan

This winter, there is a lot of snow in our garden and in the high Rocky Mountains around us.

The mountains look beautiful, especially on sunny days when the sky takes on deep hues of blue.
The air is crispy clean, and the quiet of the high mountains is soul nourishing.

Each season has its own distinctive sounds.
In Spring, you hear the return of birds, especially hummingbirds, who make sounds like tiny helicopters when they circle around to claim their territories.

In Summer, we hear the din of the cicadas, the hum of butterflies, and the songs of many birds.
Living on a creek that empties into the Colorado River, we see many kinds of birds of prey and fisher birds.

In Autumn, we hear the sounds of chipmunks and playful squirrels eating the seeds of ripe pine cones, and of fish jumping in the creek.

Winter is almost silent.
The river and creeks still flow over the rocks, making a pleasant, gurgling sound.
We hear t…

A Monk’s Guide to a Clean House and Mind

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A Monk’s Guide to a Clean House and Mind

We have returned home to Colorado, after three months of travel.

Our house, and my studio, have been closed for three months, and have required lots of cleaning and dusting.

We do not use a maid or a cleaning service, on purpose.
We do all our own cleaning as part of our practice of mindfulness and contemplation.
It is also a good way to stay fit and active in daily life.

But I have to admit that I have found myself a bit impatient.
Less happy about cleaning and more wanting to be done and to see the house shiny and clean again.

So I read this little inspirational book called, “A Monk’s Guide to a Clean House and Mind.”

It says:
“A monk’s day begins with cleaning.
We sweep the temple grounds and gardens and polish the main temple hall.
We do not do it because it is messy or dirty.
We do it to eliminate the gloom in our hearts.

When you visit a Japanese Zen Buddhist temple, you will feel the bliss and tranquility of the space.
The gardens are m…

The Last Sanctuary - the House of Mother Mary, Near the Ruins of Ephesus, Turkey

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The Last Sanctuary - the House of Mother Mary, Near the Ruins of Ephesus, Turkey

It is an amazing story, one that is almost hard to believe, but it is indeed true.

One might wonder, how a mountain top sanctuary near Ephesus in Turkey, was discovered by a paralyzed nun living in Germany who had never been here?

Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774–1824) was a nun who was born 8 September 1774 in Flamsche, Germany.

During her life, she experienced the phenomenon known as the “Stigmata,” in which people manifest the bleeding wounds of Christ on their hands, feet and around their heads.

She also had mystical visions, that were written down by Clemens Brentano, and published in a book called “The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary” (published in 1852 in Munich, Germany).

Anne Catherine Emmerich was bedridden while she had a series of visions recounting the last days of the earthly life of Jesus, and details of the retirement life of his mother, Mary.

Her visions included a detailed description of t…

Ephesus, the home of the Mother Goddess, and a Story of Glory and Decay in Ancient Turkey

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Ephesus, the home of the Mother Goddess, and a Story of Glory and Decay in Ancient Turkey

Sometimes, when I walk the streets of some great modern cities, it is hard to believe that one day, all that might remain of the grand buildings, the vast streets and the advanced cultures living there, is a crumbling gate, a few stone sculptures and nothing else.

But history tells us that this is exactly what has happened all over the world.

Take, for example, the once glorious city of Ephesus.
It was a HUGE city, continuously inhabited for thousands of years.
Some say there is evidence of its being fully inhabited dating back to thousands of years BC.
Now, very few people around the world are even aware of the grand cultures and the tribe of warrior women who established the city.

Yes, according to legend, Ephesus was first founded by an ancient tribe of great female warriors.

The name of the city is thought to have been derived from "Apasas,” or “Abasas,” in the language of the Kingdom o…