Pizza Night

Lisa is interested in us eating more health next year. I am working to remove fast food from my diet. Unfortunately, pizza and chinese food may fall into the category of fast food–so that means I will only be eating handmade pizza for a while.

This is the Pizza that Cody and I made which was awesome.

Cody made a pizza that was just sauce.

 I think that this is Lisa’s masterpiece.

We brought out the ingredients in waves–first crust, which was pre baked on its own, then sauce, then toppings–this was to prevent making a huge mess & I think it worked.

Jack & Kate both seemed to really enjoy this.


Tempus Coffee

My nephew Shane gave me this extremely highly rated coffee for Christmas. It is very very remarkable even when brewed in a very simple way. Much gratitude.

The Fourth Sermon

Grumbling, the dead filled the room and said: “Speak to us about gods and devils, thou accursed one!”

—God-the-Sun is the highest good, the devil is the opposite; thus you have two gods. But there are many great goods and many vast evils, and among them there are two god-devils, one of which is the BURNING ONE, and the other the GROWING ONE.

The burning one is EROS in his form as a flame. It shines and it devours. The growing one is the TREE OF LIFE; it grows green, and it accumulates living matter as it grows. Eros flames up and then dies away; the tree of life, however, grows slowly and reaches stately stature throughout countless ages.

Good and evil are united in the flame.
Good and evil are united in the growth of the tree.
Life and love oppose each other in their divinity.

Immeasurable, like the host of the stars, is the number of gads and devils. Every star is a god, and every space occupied by a star is a devil. And the emptiness of the whole is the Pleroma. The activity of the whole is Abraxas; only the unreal opposes him. Four is the number of the chief deities, because four is the number of the measurements of the world. One is the beginning: God-the-Sun. Two is Eros, because he expands with a bright light and combines two. Three is the Tree of Life, because it fills space with bodies. Four is the devil, because he opens everything which is closed; he dissolves everything that is formed and embodied; he is the destroyer, in whom all things come to nothing:

Blessed am I, for it is granted to me to know the multiplicity and diversity of the gods. Woe unto you, for you have substituted the oneness of god for the diversity which cannot be resolved into the one. Through this you have created the torment of incomprehension, and the mutilation of the created world, the essence and law of which is diversity. How can you be true to your nature when you attempt to make one out of the many? What you do to the gods, that also befalls you. All of you are made thus the same and in this way your nature also becomes mutilated.

For the sake of man there may reign unity, but never for the sake of god, because there are many gods but only few men. The gods are mighty and they bear their diversity, because like the stars the stand in solitude and are separated by vast distances one from the other. Humans are weak and cannot bear their own diversity, because they live close to each other and are desirous of company, so that they cannot bear their own distinct separateness. For the sake of salvation do I teach you that which is to be cast out, for the sake of which I myself have been cast out.

The multiplicity of the gods equals the multiplicity of men. Countless gods are waiting to become men. Countless gods have already been men. Man is a partaker of the essence of the gods; he comes from the gods and he goes to God.

Even as it useless the think about the Pleroma, so is it useless to worship the number of the gods. Least of all is it of any use to worship the first God, the effective fullness and the highest good. Through our prayer we cannot add to it and we cannot take away from it, because the effective emptiness swallows everything. The gods of light compose the heavenly world, which is multiple and stretches into infinity and which expands without end. Their highest lord is God-the-Sun.

The dark gods constitute the underworld. They are uncomplicated and they are capable of diminishing and shrinking into infinity. Their deepest lord is the devil, the spirit of the moon, the serf of the earth, who is smaller, colder and deader than the earth.

There is no difference in the power of the heavenly and the earthly gods. The heavenly ones expand, the earthly ones diminish. Both directions stretch into infinity.  

Christmas Dinner

Not the Wind, Not the Flag

Two monks were arguing about a flag. One said: `The flag is moving.’The other said: `The wind is moving.’
The sixth patriach happened to be passing by. He told them: `Not the wind, not the flag; mind is moving.’

Mumon’s Comment: The sixth patriach said: `The wind is not moving, the flag is not moving. Mind is moving.’ What did he mean? If you understand this intimately, you will see the two monks there trying to buy iron and gaining gold. The sixth patriach could not bear to see those two dull heads, so he made such a bargain.

Wind, flag, mind moves.
The same understanding.
When the mouth opens
All are wrong.

My Favorite Family Gatherings


Blow Out the Candle

Tokusan was studying Zen under Ryutan. One night he came to Ryutan and asked many questions. The teacher said: `The night is getting old. Why don’t you retire?’
So Tukusan bowed and opened the screen to go out, observing: `It is very dark outside.’
Ryutan offered Tokusan a lighted candle to find his way. Just as Tokusan received it, Ryutan blew it out. At that moment the mind of Tokusan was opened.
`What have you attained?’ asked Ryutan.
`From now on,’ said Tokusan, `I will not doubt the teacher’s words.’
The next day Ryutan told the monks at his lecture: `I see one monk among you. His teeth are like the sword tree, his mouth is like the blood bowl. If you hit him hard with a big stick, he will not even so much as look back at you. Someday he will mount the highest peak and carry my teaching there.’
On that day, in front of the lecture hall, Tokusan burned to ashes his commentaries on the sutras. He said: `However abstruse the teachings are, in comparison with this enlightenment they are like a single hair to the great sky. However profound the complicated knowledge of the world, compared to this enlightenment it is like one drop of water to the great ocean.’ Then he left the monastry.

Mumon’s Comment: When Tokusan was in his own country he was not satisfied with Zen although he had heard about it. He thought: `Those Southern monks say they can teach Dharma outside of the sutras. They are all wrong. I must teach them.’ So he travelled south. He happened to stop near Ryutan’s monastery for refreshments. An old woman who was there asked him: `What are you carrying so heavily?’

Tokusan replied: `This is a commentary I have made on the Diamond Sutra after many years of work.’

The old woman said: `I read that sutra which says: “The past mind cannot be held, the present mind cannot be held.” You wish some tea and refreshments. Which mind do you propose to use for them?’

Tokusan was as though dumb. Finally he asked the woman: `Do you know of any good teacher around here?’

The old woman referred him to Ryutan, not more than five miles away. So he went to Ryutan in all humility, quite different from when he had started his journey. Ryutan in turn was so kind he forgot his own dignity. It was like pouring muddy water over a drunken man to sober him. After all, it was an unnecessary comedy.

A hundred hearings cannot surpass one seeing,
But after you see the teacher, that once glance cannot surpass a hundred hearings.
His nose was very high
But he was blind after all.