bhikku

I sat on a blanket on my bedroom floor tonight, and ate a meager little dinner. Crackers, cheese, an apple, luckily a few chunks of salami. And I sat, and ate, and thought, and cried. Days ago I was wanting, so badly, silly little trinkets. And now I’m glad to eat this meal, and sleep in a warm bed tonight. And I read the Dharma Bums, and Jack told me how physical things don’t matter, how metaphysical things don’t even matter, and I asked myself why I used to want silly things. And I cried, oh how I’ve cried tonight. Not for myself. I’m fine, with a full belly and a warm bed, I have nothing left to ask of the world. I cried for the world, all the little people trying to do big things, to own big things, with all of their ignorance. Trying to make something of their lives with cars and beauty and malls and beer. What’s the point? I just wish they could see that they don’t need all of that. All they need is crackers and cheese and an apple, some salami if they’re lucky, A good book, some company, and a warm bed. When joy for life is so easy to come by, and everybody thinks they’re living “fulfilling” lives with all their things, and it’s so much simpler than that they’re just wasting their lives in fact. I just want them to know that it’s all very simple, this thing, life. And I’m going to spend a long time showing as many as I can.
—  A little bhikku with a young face and an old soul.
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Yuttadhamo Bhikku: Goodness and how to cultivate it

Athena

After leaving the sea, we trekked a few hours away to Athens, GA. Home of the Georgia Bulldogs, a Cousin of mine and his family. They live in a small house surrounded by the woods. 

We pulled up around 8 thirty in the PM. It was dark and we we’re hungry. David came out to greet us with a smile and hugs. His wife Emily was putting their son Crow to bed. David pulled out a gourmet selection of goat cheese, as if he had been reading our minds. We gorged with delight, after days of eating only cold corn and green beans from cans. Emily came out and joined us and we spent the night around the kitchen eating and talking and sharing stories. It was good, in a way, to find ourselves back in the human world. Even though we only spent a few days in the woods, we seemed to have separated ourselves from all the noise. However, we we’re in a quiet house on the edge of society and it made all the sense in the world to be back. 

We rested our bones that night on the futon in the living room, cuddled next to a dog and a cat, surrounded by children’s toys that sat as if in a museum, untouched, waiting for the morning. 

A child’s voice woke me up and I spent the morning playing with Crow. He took me through his own personal smithsonian. We built lego towers then smashed them. We rode in airplanes made of empty cardboard boxes, all of it in two hours or less. Tessa slept hard, obviously needing it, weary from walking and trudging mountain tops. 

Once everyone was up we spent the rest of the morning drinking smoothies and shooting a bow and its arrows. The bow was new, but built with the same look and design as the Native Americans might use. There was something powerful and magical about the object. It felt as though holding the soul of some ghost from far away America. 

There wasn’t much that happened that week that was wild and exiting. Mostly, we spent our time cuddled up in the house preparing for the road ahead. This visit was more a rejuvenation than an exploration. 

Still, Athens is a really wonderful little town. It is small, more spread out neighborhoods than urban sprawl, nevertheless, the downtown atmosphere was quite special. Filled with record stores, book stores and donation based yoga studios, this was seemingly a home for the hip bhikku wanderer. 

The last night in town was the treasure. We saw a movie and then sneaked into another one right after. But it wasn’t what we saw that made the night. It was one of those nights were you feel like you’re the only two people in town, in the whole world almost. No one occupied the empty movie theatre but us and as we left the streets were almost empty. 

There’s where you know your place in the world. When all the loud music and traffic lights shut off and go to sleep. When all the people of the world close their eyes and you can no longer hear their thoughts. That’s when I felt it, at home in my bones.