Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Young Journal

Posted: 20/03/2017 in Education, Writing
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This one is personal.

My first teaching job was at Dick Sheppard school in Tulse Hill – to all intents Brixton; the school does not exist any more – for one reason after I left the Deputy Head was stabbed on the steps of the school. I really got into working there. The kids were difficult. Before I worked in China, I used to have an adage, the best and worst kids I taught were the black kids at Dick Sheppard. But the system was clearly failing these kids for all kinds of reasons but it was not the teachers. Undoubtedly there was the problem of teacher expectation but mostly the teachers worked hard. But the system odds they were fighting were just too much.

This part I am not sure of. At the same time as I was disillusioned with teaching, I began doing a part-time job helping the kids from the Youth Centre (mostly the same kids) with word-processing – wordstar whatever that was. The next thing I recall was resigning as a teacher and beginning work on a magazine – Young Journal – in the same building.

I remember only one thing about the first magazine, and that was just before printing. I knew a typesetter, and he agreed to do the typesetting. I had no idea what I was supposed to give him so I printed out everything, and the Friday before printing Monday gave them to him. He refused. For the next issues I learnt what was required, but for this issue I had to go home, get out my printer and spraymount, and layout the first magazine. I worked solidly and sleeplessly that weekend, and by Monday lunch-time took it up to the printers. I remember being pleased with myself for finishing it, and being pleased with the quality of the first magazine – a pleasure that soon went when I saw the typeset magazines 2, 3 and 4. I have put online 2, 3 and 4 but the first has gone.

The most important result of all that effort was that the magazine had gained some credibility. The Area Youth Office gave us a small budget that paid for future printing, typesetting and some photos, I continued to be paid as a part-time youth worker and the basis for the magazine was set. Publishing the first magazine also brought in new writers which was better as I was still “sir” to many. But perhaps most importantly there was a magazine to show the community. It brought in the first ads but more importantly it brought cooperation – they wanted to help the kids – black youth.

Typically I remember Angela Wynter. The interview had been arranged and the writer, Carol Billy, called in sick; I went to do the interview. Scared of losing the interview I expect I fronted up and tried to explain. I remember an unwillingness, then courtesy and a fascinating interview in front of the fire in her Clapham (?) flat – including learning about duppies. Carol was then able to write the article – Magazine 3 pp 6 and 71st pdf.

London was a metropole, and Brixton apart from having a Caribbean community also attracted African exiles who were always looking for print. In issue 2 I interviewed Omwony-Ojwok on Uganda – Magazine 2 pp 6 and 7 1st pdf, and for issue 3 I interviewed Ndeh Ntumazah – Magazine 3 p13-141st pdf. They both became friends and teachers. I worked often with Ndeh. He asked me to type up the interview with him, and I discovered when creating the Young Journal website and doing a search that the interview had been printed verbatim in the book “Ndeh Ntumazah A Conversational Auto-biography”. And I am suing them for royalties – joke. Seeing this google page was a great honour for me. When I think of injustice in life, I think of Ndeh, a wise and intelligent man I believe of royal descent, having to work in exile as a car park attendant. I have no concerns about giving back to my politics teacher.

I had visions for the magazine. I wanted subscriptions, more ads, to make it commercial enough to pay the writers. But all of that fell flat. In the middle of working on the fourth issue my personal life went through upheaval, and I left Brixton for Brighton. I committed to the fourth issue but it was a struggle. I heard rumours concerning a fifth issue but no more involvement for me. I believe there was a fifth issue but I am not sure – I lost contact.

Moving to Brighton made a trade unionist and activist but I sorely missed all the contacts I had made within the Brixton community. My personal life in Brighton remained in upheaval all the time I was there until eventually I started afresh in Botswana in 1993 where I was happy for 6 years before travelling further until retiring here in Thailand 11 years ago. The magazines have always been prized possessions, are now not in such good condition because of the travelling, and only now have I put them online.

One testimony to the writers the magazines are timeless and can be enjoyed now – except for 140-character culture not being able to read so much and demanding colour instead of black-and-white. Enjoy the Young Journal:-

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

Zandtao Writing

Posted: 13/04/2016 in Writing
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No blogs since 14th March but writing on website.

New project – reading Pirsig and writing my retrospective reflections.


platform

And this week I have tidied up Wai Zandtao leading to my working on Sannadee.
When I retired the first novel I finished was Baengoi, and there was then a sequel Sannadee – I am now in the middle of Sannadee which was started in 2008.

Baengoi

sannadeebutton

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

Envy

Posted: 25/02/2016 in Insight, Meditation, Writing
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Brad just wrote about envy, and it sparked me on envy; it didn’t spark me but I felt I should consider my own envy.

My biggest envy is “being a spiritual teacher” and then nowhere near as big but far bigger than any other envy “being paid for what I write”.

“Being a spiritual teacher” would presumably be based around my treatise, even though it is not finished I have moved on from where the Treatise is at. But no matter. I would like to be invited to places and attempt to have some impact on peoples’ lives – what I consider for the better. But then I wouldn’t want too much of that. I wouldn’t want to lose control of my life. I just want to be able to give a little spirituality. It is frustrating not being listened to a little when there is so much horseshit (Trump?) around. But then I know that horseshit is just paid for – when you have craziness in the mainstream (Trump) what appears more tolerant (Hillary) would be palatable and she could then do the 1%-dirtywork. It is about spectrum, there is Trump and Bernie and the middle of the road – Hillary. And Hillary does 1%, so she will still deliver hell. When Jesus or Siddhartha are lost in Conscious Life Expo there would be no chance for a Zandtao. So “being a spiritual teacher” would mean events, much talking and stuff, and deep frustration as no result. So maybe beach, slagging Brad off and zazen is enough.

As for “being paid for what I write” my envy there already got tailored. I started by thinking I am envious of being a writer but I’m not. I wouldn’t want all those events, even Doris Lessing had to do all that shit. So I would want to be paid for my writing, but then the amount of money you get for a book in 1%-publishing doesn’t interest me. What would I spend it on? And it might alter my life – and I might lose control. So publishing is actually about “being a spiritual teacher” so I am back to what I discussed there.

So am I envious of a huge amount of money, what would I do with it? OK a retreat for myself – without landladies, a retreat for others, ecological stuff solar panels and organic food, maybe enabling some of “being a spiritual teacher”. But even with all that I’m afraid I would lose control.

Today writing this envy hasn’t got me, I am doing OK. But some days it gets me, it is interesting – now I know I don’t want it really.

And then it struck me, my real envy is having a life where I could talk Dharma, I miss meeting people where that happens. That was a bolt, finding my real envy.

And then another envy, I envy the wisdom of people like Thay or Brad or Eckhart, and all the wise people who keep their heads down. But with that wisdom comes responsibility, and I am back to “being a spiritual teacher and writer”.

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

Homepage Buddhism

Posted: 08/02/2016 in Buddhadasa, Writing, Zen
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Lost in my website is a personal homepage that really has no access, it was just there because it was an original homepage. There was a bit on Buddhism I have just updated with the following:-

I have just started considering Shobogenzo (his book and my page), and it made me reconsider what I had written on this unused homepage. Click on this screenclip to see what I wrote in Summer 2004:-

oldbuddhism

In some ways the issues are the same now (February 2016), where is the genuine Buddhism? Back then I thought Theravada was genuine. Following retirement in 2006 I continued with that theme focussing my study on Theravada. By that concentrating I have come to see Buddhism so differently. Where is “what the Buddha taught?”, and my answer now is “who knows?” Theravada has the high ground in the sense that the mostly claim to source their teachings in the suttapitaka, but this is not something I now feel confident about.

The Theravada sources are themselves are shrouded. I do not know the full history but what is written in the Theravada sources (which can be downloaded here) were committed to paper many years after the death of the Buddha. Theravadans claim that these people had perfect memories and it was common for things to be recounted that way. I am sceptical. In this original piece I had completely bought into the belief that Theravada following the original teachings of the Buddha, now I see there are important areas of disagreement amongst Theravadans especially the issue of anatta and reincarnation amongst the Forest Sangha.

But Buddhadasa has taught me much, and that is to question views held as original Buddha teachings via Theravada. The questioning is mainly concerned with interpretation. The suttas are seen by many (especially intellectuals) as literal, and by studying Buddhadasa to some extent I have started to see this literal perception as a misunderstanding. Intellectuals discuss dogma, argue minutiae of dogma, argue authenticity of dogma, argue discussions about dogma, and miss the boat concerning what the purpose of the teachings are. In Buddhadasa’s interpretation he argues context, typically:-

The Buddha needed to use words that implied acceptance of reincarnation because at the time all in India needed scripture that accepted reincarnation.

People generally say that the Buddha avoided discussion of reincarnation but did emphasise anatta as in paticcasamuppada.

The longer I discuss in this way the more I too get bogged down in intellectualism, authenticity and so on because language and society is about these things – not truth. I interpret what the Buddha taught as not about any of these, to me Buddhadasa is about the underlying meaning of the Buddha’s teachings as he attempts to get at what the Buddha taught.

Buddhadasa lived in Thailand where Buddhism is the mainstream religion, and there is much discussion and much written about it. Buddhadasa also discusses, gets into authentication, and did a prolific amount of work. Whilst Buddhadasa’s work focusses on idapaccayata-paticcasamuppada (inc anatta and ariya sacca) in my view his work is not meant as an intellectual study, in other words it cannot be understood by intellect alone. [Note this indicator – those teaching westerners at Suan Mokh offer as download Idapaccayata – scroll down to idapaccayata.zip] (or download from mysite or from mega).

To a certain extent I understand Buddhadasa’s focus through a quote from Shobogenzo:-

“those who sit in meditation will, beyond doubt, drop off body and mind, and cut themselves free from their previous confused and defiling thoughts and opinions in order to personally realize what the innate Dharma of the Buddha is” [p35 Shobogenzo book]

Buddhadasa talked about “removing attachment form the 5 khandas” in Ariya Sacca. Is this “drop off body and mind”? What is left? “the innate Dharma of the Buddha”.

When I think of my experiences when writing, the writing occurred when I reached the “muse”, a state of mind that was free and just creative – writing. This muse or state of mind I have just come to realise is jhana, when in jhana there is no attachment to khandas – unless I try to cling to it. Am I just seeing “the innate dhamma”? Of course not because that innate Dhamma would be Voidness, but it is getting towards that in some way, in a way that is not intellectual, cannot be described by language.

In the end I do however hold to the Unity that Buddhadasa describes here:-

“For those of you sitting here who are interested in going to study Buddhism, please take notice that there is no such thing as Theravada Buddhism, Mahayana Buddhism, Vajrayana Buddhism, Zen Buddhism and all that stuff. There is just one real Buddhism and this is just pulling that I and mine out from the 5 khandas so that there is just the khandas – removing this I and mine out from the khandas. This is Buddhism. Everything else has just been added to make things showy, to make it interesting, to make it impressive, to entertain the children and all these things, so it makes the real teaching seem very profound so that nobody can understand it – all this extra stuff . Please find out what the real thing is, and save yourself the trouble of the other stuff.”

Where it’s at!

Posted: 18/10/2015 in Writing

I am beginning to post again.

the attempts at being a book critic were short-lived!!

The Programme

Posted: 11/02/2014 in Writing
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I just dreamt this storyline – I like it:-

People on the Path had gained some element of control. They designed and used drugs along with hypnotic tapes to put people on mission. This meant that mission people said and did what was on the Path but were indoctrinated. The Path Planners monitored these mission people until eventually the mission changed to the Path. What happens to the programme?

Just thought. Someone comes along and discovers the programme seeing it as sinister, and tries to find the Path Planners to destroy the Programme.

Will I do anything with it?

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Mandtao, Matriellez.