Famous Japanese Mountains and August Pilgrimage 2014

Sometimes life is stranger than strange, especially if one is married to a Miko.

My dear wife had a calling that we can pilgrimage to visit Kobo Daishi Kukai at Koyasan and then on to Mount Kurama to visit Mao-son, Bishamon-ten, and Senju-kannon, the symbols of the universal soul, forming a Trinity known as “Sonten”.

So as usual I said, “OK!”

And it just happened that way! Away we went.

The pilgrimage would have taken a few months a hundred years ago but we just drove to the airport six am Friday morning, flew to Japan, ran to catch a fast train to another train junction and two trains later that day we arrived at the Cable car that services the top of Mt. Koyasan. Just nine hours of travel and we were there!

We grabbed a cab and by 3:30 pm we arrived at out Monastic Hermitage/retreat house where we checked in just to leave our luggage. We then walked out the beautiful and ancient main gate of that classic Shingon Buddhist school.

The hike up the mountain trail leads through an immense cemetery that is 1200 years old and has the graves of hundreds of the most notable Japanese Monks, leaders, poets and warriors. The grand Masoleum at the end is the Eternal meditation location of Kobo Daishi Kukai who started the construction of this Buddhist complex in 816 AD. We said “hello!”

The weather cleared, sun came out and we were amazed at the energy that this place exudes, the Shingon Buddhists seem to have mastered manifestation and organization! The order and harmony and natural beauty of this mountain area is enhanced by the many ancient Shrines and Temples.

The cemetery record rooms have the names and location of every famous body entombed there engraved on brass plates.

We returned to our room and had a great vegetarian meal, our Shingon host may be Vegetarian but they served Saki with the meal! After dinner we did a night hike through the main Temple area starting at Konpon Daito, the Great Pagoda which was just across the street from where we are staying.

Giant Pine trees and the ancient pilgrimage route is registered as a World Heritage Site. We had the place to our selves, which was the reality of our entire trip. A storm on the horizon kept everyone away except for the dedicated crazies like us! We stopped at the tombs of the famous and made our greetings then headed back for morning Service at our Hermitage. Afterward we packed up and headed to Mount Kurama as a storm formed on the horizon. Luckily we made it to the end of the train line before all trains were shut down due to the torrential rains. Temporarily stranded we did what ancient pilgrims probably did, we ran through the rain to a small pub, bought a bottle of Saki and two bowls of noodles. An hour later the trains were still not running so we hailed a cab. Sort of like borrowing a horse in ancient times, luckily we had enough yen on us to pay our way to Mount Kuruma. By now the rivers were all raging brown water making tremendous noise and we did a small detour since the main road had just washed out. We made it to a small riverside Inn where we changed into our Yukatas and sandals to climb the Mountain. The rain stopped as we headed out and it seemed too good to be true, and it was! As soon as we got about a half kilometer up the mountain the storm hit with torrential rain, thunder and lightning, what a greeting!

Close to the top we entered the Diamond Temple where we participated in a purification service. After that we continued up the mountain to find the very ancient site of the Sonten of Kuramaya. Through the heavy rain we found a protected covered shrine and entered. Out the back side we could see that we were right next to the Extremely Ancient ruins of Venus. [According to the local story more than six million years ago, Mao-son (the great king of the conquerors of evil and the spirit of the earth) descended upon Mt. Kurama from Venus, with the great mission of salvation of mankind. Since then, a powerful spirit governing the development and the evolution not only of mankind but of all living things on Earth has been emanating from this Mt. Kurama site, and a priest named Gantei received the spiritual transmission here.]

We stayed for quite a while, it was one of those moments where the clouds temporarily parted and we were right at the place we came to see! As we left the rains came and we were soaked, as we got farther down the mountain the trail became a flowing waterfall of mud and leaves.

Iori said it was just our Waterfall training. Hours later when we finally reached the road at the base of the mountain we saw a cab on the lonely road and hailed it. We apologized profusely for all the water we were dripping into his cab but we made it back to the Inn. Iori had a leach attached to her calf, a first for her but that is how wet our walk was.

The Innkeeper was happy to see us return alive and made a very beautiful meal and lots of Saki to end our day on a very Happy note.

My old body seems to creek and groan occasionally but I always just say, “Not me, just this body!”

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Sign at Koyasan

Sign at Koyasan

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The Zen of Magic and the Magic of Zen and buttons

The Zen of Magic and the Magic of Zen or how to cover the spiritual and material rituals of life and keep it simple with magic buttons.

We humans seem to need a bit of magic in our lives, a belief in something outside ourselves to occasionally lean on or to blame when things don’t go according to our plans and expectations.

It’s too UNFAIR to be held completely responsible for the life we lead isn’t it?

Can it be that we somewhat like being a victim sometimes, blaming others for our feelings and situation?

Yet that nagging subconscious pokes us to remind us that “YES-we are completely responsible as to how we FEEL: that is FREE WILL.”

But what about the actual material situation we live in, should we judge our wealth against others?

If we do then at best almost everyone puts themself down. Does it really make a difference if you own a house or rent one? Are you happier driving in a Mercedes than a Volkswagen or Toyota?

Do people around you “Push your buttons” and make you angry?

Well, maybe you should stop letting others push you buttons and you will soon discover that you push your own buttons and it’s all in your head.

We all need a bit of ritual and a bit of introspection daily to keep a balance. The moments of introspection can be defined as ZEN moments, moments of pure awareness devoid of mental ideas. I define Magic as everything, the totality of experience and the stuff that dreams are made of!

So I’ve created my own magic buttons to press and a simple ritual I’d like to share with you.


Thank you and don’t worry-be happy!

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Summer time to smile!

Summertime has arrived here in Okinawa. Its hotter here than most places I’ve lived but not that much hotter than where I was born: Chicago, Illinois.

I’ve moved on average about every three years for the last fifty years.  I have owned over forty-seven properties and my hobby was remodeling and renovating houses. Once I had three homes, one completed and a place for my family, one to work on and one cabin on Herron Island for weekends and summers. Remodeling was just a way to stay busy and express my creativity with tools as my career as a commercial broker wasn’t emotionally fulfilling.

I also remodeled four Yachts during my thirty-five year career as a broker, something to work on and explore the ocean and islands with my friends and family.

I believe that the purpose of life is exploration and discovery. What are we and what are we capable of both as individuals and as a society? What do we become in the few decades we exist and experience individuality?

As a young child I saw myself as life itself, not the individual body but a continuum of life flowing. I was about five years old when I discovered my first bird nest in the back yard, I saw the baby birds hatch from the eggs and soon fly away to make new nests and lay eggs. I thought it’s just a continuation of an idea, an old idea repeating itself over and over again, the birds are just doing what they expect to do! Most people just take it for granted that the birds are there and they are not seeing the process of life.

We humans are not much different from birds, we hatch out, grow and repeat whatever life style we inherited from our parents. We live our expectations and beliefs. Yet we have the capacity to see and be much more, to realize that there is more to life than the material shell and that there are many unanswered questions about how we got here!

So what is the nature of discovery?

I do not believe in individual evolution, it is the universe that evolves and individual species are just a symptom of that growth in knowledge.

So what is the nature of life itself?

It’s easy to recognize that thoughts become things, that an invisible process of nature underlies all our successful projects and activities. Life manifests ideas. There is a magic to life that many overlook.

If you have recognized that your thoughts have manifested, then you know that a positive focus is one of the most important realization that you can achieve and realizing what you are is the most important experience in my point of view. The truth really does set you free.

After writing this in an attempt to share the important life issues I have learned over the last 68 years I realized that many people do not really understand what a positive outlook is!

If you are thinking that you don’t want war or you don’t want crime etc., you are not a positive thinking person, you are contributing to the feelings of war and crime and whatever. What you resist persists is not just some silly psychological statement. Thoughts all seem to manifests in some way.

If you are positive, you think about what causes peace, how do you spread peaceful, harmonious ideas? What does it take to keep the representatives honest? How can we make this world better? How can we help improve our educational system?

And how can we have fun while creating harmony and discovering our true selves?

Early on I had an opportunity to study Zen in college but I didn’t have time to sit around and do nothing!

Later in Graduate school I did Zazen for a few years but didn’t think anything about it!

I was a Monk for a few years but the robes just didn’t suite me!

Later in life I started to get serious about meditating but it just got me nowhere!

Sometimes just creating a smile can be the most positive statement made.



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A scattered Month of May

Life happens, I haven’t written for a while as I’ve been sidetracked by weather, a dying computer, a busy wife who performs on stage, mold, mosquitoes and snails in my garden: a myriad of time consuming issues, a scattering of time segments all of which have distracted me from my present main material occupation of writing.

Maybe I’m just easily distracted? I made a commitment to finish a book by month end and get it to the publisher but that final 10% to completion is the walk through a mine field. I just stepped on another “maybe I should”. Maybe I should make it a script, maybe I should change the title and maybe I should forget the novel and make it a young adult science fiction short story? I’ve had days like this before but not a continuation of adverse events eating up an entire month!

Each issue is a story in itself and let’s begin with the strange turn in the weather. I should first explain that I live on a small tropical island in the East China Sea. The weather this time of the year swings from 18°C [64°F] to 30°C [86°F] degrees. Now that doesn’t quite explain what happens inside a house when there is a 20 degree swing up over a few hours and high humidity, everything sweats. The walls, the floor, clothes, shoes, everything drips water including me. Anything made of leather, bamboo, woven baskets and even my water based painting supplies immediately fuzz over with spectacular growths of molds and mildew. Eventually the sun burns through the clouds and the earth steams for a few hours and there is a window of opportunity to hang out the laundry to dry.

We do not have a dryer, microwave or TV set and homes here do not know what 220 is. We have a 45 amp, 100 volt service panel that is fed with wires equal in size to the phone lines to my house in Tacoma. The good side to this is our small energy footprint and the covered outside laundry drying room is an excellent place to smoke cigars.

So what’s the problem? It’s the time consuming task of bleaching down the mold and keeping everything spotlessly clean.  And while I’m fighting the mold, mosquitoes and other issues my computer started the death throes of a 4 year old Windows 7 laptop machine, locking up at any random excuse, refusing to finish a restore command, and finally refusing to start except from a recovery CD. Déjà vu!

Now insert here the horrors of buying a laptop computer in Japan: Japanese keyboard, no English explanations anywhere, pop-ups in Japanese and finally the piece de resistance, Windows 8.1 in Japanese.

…my wife loves her new computer, and I love her old one!

Ps the garden is producing wonderfully organic food in spite of the snail invasion.


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Valentines’ day evening walk!

HamahigaJima Blog


Inside Cave at night

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Car Is Here GPS

Valentines’ day, my dear wife Iori asked if she could see the ocean at night from Hamahiga Island and visit the Ancient Shrine there.

So after dinner we drove to Hamahiga Island and parked along the shore, not a soul in sight and we have walked out to the sacred shrine across the atoll coral bar that connects to Hamahiga many times before. But with a full moon and high tide, the waves were occasionally breaking across the path and the wind was so strong that we had to hold on to each other but we made it in the dark, to the tiny nameless island that the shrine is on only to find that the path was now under water and the tide was still rising. There was no way to get to the stairs without wading through deep cold water.  We found a small cave so Iori could light some incense and say her prayer. I settled for an “in the moment” mindful meditation, mindfully watching the waves breaking higher and higher, the gusts of wind blowing white caps horizontally across the cave opening,  the beautiful full moon and Orion in the sky. Wet and cold we made it back to the car. Too dark to take pictures, I took a few anyway [attached].  Just another beautiful and adventurous day in Okinawa. Later that night we warmed up in the soaking tub, my preferred kind of prayer, or prayer answered. Can’t complain, there is red wine and chocolate in the kitchen and a Cuban cigar on my desk!  Thank You and Happy Valentines Day to all.


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Forgiveness Blog


I once heard someone say forgiveness is letting go of the hope of having a better past. A strange and witty way to look at it!

My outlook is that I do not condone the behaviors of others that irritate me, but I forgive, not for their sake but for my own happiness in the present moment.

Blaming others for your anger simply reinforces an attitude of powerlessness, victimization and continued anger.

If you are carrying burdens or grudges from past experiences, remember that the past does not exist except as mental illusions. Change the illusions, just change your mind about how you feel and choose to be happy.

Now that you are happy, you are in a better mental state to take proper action or make the proper response that will make a difference to your view of the world.

It helps to view all challenges as opportunities to grow stronger and wiser. Whenever someone or something makes you feel angry, ask, “What am I learning here?” or “Where did I learn that response?” A little self-discipline will gradually strengthen your emotional core. Forgive and forget and keep a forward-looking attitude.


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Happy New Year 2014, resolve to be Happy no matter what!

Self Empowerment and enlightenment is just a decision.

How to share insights that seem difficult to communicate without sounding nonsensical, delusionary or unbelievable.

Be here now… Ram Das, I shall not want…Bible, at this moment you are the sum of your past thoughts…Buddha.

Judge not and you will not be judged refers to the dangers of self-judgement.

In god we trust…Motto of the United States is found in most ancient religious texts.

In Vedic Philosophy, the theme is recognizing the layers of consciousness and eventually realizing what and who you really are; life itself. The same life that seems to appear from nothing and turns an acorn into the oak tree.

Trapped emotions, false beliefs, improper thinking and lack of faith in yourself and lack of faith in the universe unfolding in some orderly manner creates more stress.

Everything is in balance, everything is the way it is and that is the present shared reality. Individual realities are another matter for we are then observing individual free will or the acceptance of how things are. Surrender to reality and choosing to be happy is just that, choosing!

To change what you are just requires you to be happy and realize that your life is the result of your thoughts, your decisions and your actions.

The Ego will argue with this always, Ego always says, “It’s not my fault” and “why me?”

Why You? Maybe because you have been asleep to the possibilities, asleep to the dangers, and asleep to your power to change your direction at any time. Asleep to who and what you really are!

Every living human has the same potential powers, some just realize that they have choices and take the better paths.

Be Happy and don’t worry!

Old Lamp

Old Lamp



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The Monsanto Chronicles

The Monsanto Chronicles

The Best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray.

Good intentions?  The path to hell is paved with good intentions.

Short sighted, egotistical American Scientists, determined to create something to make better food and go down in history along with the likes of Madam Curie, George Washington Carver, or Thomas Edison pushed their ideas into the uncontrolled arena of profit making. The result, millions of sickly humans, wondering why society seems not to be working so well and there is so much sickness in spite of all the great scientific advances in medicine.

Just look at the Monsanto model; radical experimental products allowed to be tested on the open market without any warnings or controls. The human population damage even when recognized is protected by politics. Have we forgotten the past that quickly?

Agent Orange, Thalidomide, PCB’s, Dioxin, GMO’s,  are all products that were sold to the public without any controlled experiments to see what affect they might have. Is it possible that they really don’t care if they damage or kill millions of people as long as they get paid?

Actually I believe that Monsanto’s GMO’s are the greatest threat to humanity since the Black Plague of the dark ages. They have not only destroyed many lives but they have corrupted the very system that America had set up to protect us from such blatantly dangerous experimentation. Like out of a Cheap Organized Crime movie, the president of the USA , Barak Obama, appoints a chief executive, lobbyist,  and attorney from Monsanto,   Michael Taylor to be senior advisor to the commissioner’ of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This is the  head Federal Organization that is responsible for protecting the public from being poisoned and now heads the  investigations into Monsanto’s activities.

That’s a fact that should not go unnoticed!

The American constitution, it’s a great system but no political system is devoid of corruption, and now greed and corruption seems to rule in America.

Where are the safeguards? Is no one willing to be responsible and take on this corrupt government?

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A Warm October Home in Okinawa

Fictional life blog: Just having escaped from Tokyo last weekend.

What universe do you live in? A creative and fun dream world, a rationalization of this illusionary reality or do you live in the real now, or is that  just another form of illusion?

I have chosen the dream world at times, for in my dream world I know what is going to happen. My dreams are my stories, my way, my desires and my friends in real life are my partners in adventures. Sometimes it’s difficult to accept the “REAL” real world I live in, yet I am not affected by it except in my judgments as how I think it should be.

In my stories and dreams, my friends are never sick, they are happy and successful, never grow old and never die. They are heroes and face adventures with humor and inner strength. I can always depend on them to complete their missions.

We win all the battles, outwit all the authorities and eliminate all the bad guys by being clever and taking action without judging ourselves.

I have traveled the universe, visited many planets, fought many battles, made a few friends, fixed many alien computers and spaceships, learned many alien languages, always just enough to stay alive and return to earth to share the stories with mankind.

My travels are not just my reality but a platform for new ideas so that mankind can evolve to the next step. I hope my books add value to people’s lives, to make young people curious about the reality of alternate thoughts and investigate meditation, yoga, natural food diets, alternate healing modalities and alternate sources of power; all seemingly fictional to many humans stuck on this planet!


Tokyo Escape routes on viewscreen


Ancient Monoliths

And if you don’t know that there is a next step in life, or some great improvement,  you won’t take it or make it !

Sincerely, Rudy

Pictures are from our escape from Tokyo last weekend…

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Back to writing….maybe… Sept 9, 2013


Well I haven’t written for quite a while as we have moved to Uruma, an older residential and hilly area in central Okinawa. The house we found is old enough to have a formal six tatami mat tea room, fully enclosed with sliding shoji screens. Immediately after unpacking we attacked the garden area that was ignored for many years and started replanting flowers and bushes to fill in the area against the old dividing walls [fences]. I have had many homes and many gardens in my life, but I haven’t had a vegetable garden for over fifty years. And so a spot was selected for a small vegetable garden. At the back of the house I am planning a Zen garden. All this takes time, time that I would have been spending writing. Gardening seems more enticing this month! Next weekend I am teaching a workshop on Stress Management and my wife Iori is holding an Expressive Arts Therapy workshop. My attention maybe should be there but there is some indescribable bliss in tending the soil, some ancient feeling of familiarity, like I’ve done this for a thousand years and it’s still rewarding to see the harmony of the harvest manifest. Now It’s back to my office to write this blog, actually my office is air conditioned and it’s nice to get out of the hot sun for a while! I am so grateful for all the opportunities that have manifested this year and I wish that everyone on the planet could experience peace and harmony in their lives!



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