Sunday, May 31, 2009

Zen Practice, yes, "Cold Metal on the bottom" by ko shin

Cold metal on the bottom

That's what it was, no toilet seat, just shinny metal

Cold, and strange

But that's how our inmates sit on the throne

More inmates than any other country in the world

Cold metal on the bottom, that's it

It was a strange experience, not because there was no toilet seat,

My poetry teacher gave us an assignment

Go for a walk, sit somewhere for awhile

Then write some things down

I do that all the time, but not on cold metal on the bottom

I was sitting in meditation with the men, in the chapel, in the prison,

Nature called when you are my age you learn to answer in the moment not

Some time soon….get it?

The chaplain gave me some choices, I guess because I'm not an inmate

So I entered the door with a sign on it, inmates only

There it was a metal throne with out a seat

I paused only a second, nature was yelling by now

And so I sat on the cold metal with no seat

Teacher, you ask how did I feel?

Hm, relived and free…who needs a seat...

Saturday, May 30, 2009

New York Observed- Along Newton Creek, Reconsidering Nature

Chris Ruen - Search

Chris is the son of our friends, Ed and Katie Ruen of Milwaukee, We are very proud of Chris's
first article in the Times! Great work Chris!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

In Gaza, a powerful site-and more global viollence against the people....what will we do?

My friends and colleagues, please visit this one, read and read, dry the tears and
cover the anger with love and chants and prayers for peace. Thanks to my colleagues
in the Peace for Palestine Blog, for this contact.

Peace in Burma, bless the people's leader
"This morning Nobel Peace Prize Recipient Aung San Suu Kyi was moved from her Rangoon home to Burma's notorious Insein Prison, where she will face trial on Monday for supposedly violating the terms of her house arrest by hosting an unauthorized visitor after an American man swam uninvited to her compound and refused to leave. "

and Sri Lanka:

LTTE urges IC to save civilians in the name of humanity, SLA attacks kill 1700 in 48 hours

[Thu, 14 May 2009, 12:06 GMT]
The LTTE on Thursday called upon the International Community to protect the civilians from the ongoing carnage by taking whatever measure required. "The LTTE is ready to engage with the International Community in its actions to bring an end to the humanitarian crisis." The statement came as Sri Lanka Army (SLA) continued its indiscriminate barrage causing untold human tragedy. Initial estimate by the LTTE Peace Secretariat Thursday afternoon was 1,700 civilians killed and over 3,000 wounded within the last 48 hours. The catastrophic situation has been made worse by the acute shortage of food and medicine, the statement said. "Local doctors who are trying to work in these hospitals have decided to hand the hospitals over to the ICRC in the hope that under ICRC management the hospitals may be spared from bombardment."

Monday, May 11, 2009

Response to BS from Embassy of Israel RE: BREAKING NEWS: Sheikh Tamimi Attacks Israel at Interfaith Meeting, Vatican Dismayed

I am very happy that someone spoke the truth, you folks do not want people to have any other story than your lies. I hope the Pope had his hearing aid on, you have a way of shutting down any conversation about the killing fields of Gaza and the West Bank your army and government support and have created.
Please watch this documentary, the Palestinian story, closer to the truth than you have ever been as a government.
There are many, many people who detest your government and its actions. You base your actions on your sacred scriptures and you mis-read them as Xians mis-read theirs to put people down, occupy and destroy people's hope.
It can be different. The hope in the Torah, the Gospels, and the teachings of spiritual communities of every form and kind point to one truth, peace & love, live your life to do to others what you would want them to do to you. Read the ancient Rabbi's. the teaching of the Buddha, of Islam and others...
Peace and I hope sometime in the near future you will stop the violence against the people of Palestine, will withdraw ALL settlements and live your peace it is my daily chant and prayer and the prayers of millions around this world.
Climb ... into the light of day.... As soon as you were born, a new possibility was born with you, a free heartbeat. ~Nikos Kazantzakis, The Saviors of God, p. 71-2

From: Benjamin L. Sack []
Sent: Monday, May 11, 2009 5:07 PM
Subject: BREAKING NEWS: Sheikh Tamimi Attacks Israel at Interfaith Meeting, Vatican Dismayed

Embassy of Israel
Washington, D.C.


Sheikh Tamimi Attacks Israel at Interfaith Meeting with the Pope;

Pope Benedict XVI at Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center
Pope Benedict XVI at the Notre Dame Center of Jerusalem

11 May 2009
In a meeting devoted to interfaith dialogue at the Notre Dame Center in Jerusalem, Sheikh Tayseer Rajab Tamimi, Chief Islamic Judge of the Palestinian Authority, venomously attacked and villified Israel, urging Muslims and Christians to "unite together against the murderous Israelis" the Jerusalem Post reports.
It was reported by some present that the meeting was ended prematurely and almost immediately following Sheikh Tamimi's remarks.
Following the Sheikh's unscheduled and inappropriate outburst, Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, Director of the Holy See's Press Office said: "In a meeting dedicated to dialogue this intervention was a direct negation of what a dialogue should be. We hope that such an incident will not damage the mission of the Pope aiming at promoting peace and also interreligious dialogue, as he has clearly affirmed in many occasions during this pilgrimage..." Please click here to read the rest of Fr. Lombardi's statement.
Israel's Minister of Tourism, Stas Misezhnikov charged with the Pope's visit to Israel, stated:
"The sheikh's provocation hurt, first and foremost, Pope Benedict XVI who came to the Holy Land to promote peace and unity between the peoples of the region and all persons of faith. Israel condemns these words of hatred uttered by the sheikh, who instead of fostering peace and coexistence chose to plant seeds of division and confrontation between Israelis and Palestinians, as well as between Jews, Muslims and Christians."

It is a shame that the extremists were those who represented the Palestinians and the Muslims in this important event in the presence of the Holy See.

Benjamin L. Sack
Senior Officer for Public Affairs
Phone: (202) 364-5548 | Fax: (202) 364-5423

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Smoke Trails

The Smoking Book: Bob koshin Hanson

You have seen this poem before, on this blog, but this time it is
part of a wonderful site, "The Smoking Book". Many thanks to them
for using my poem, written early one morning after reading of the terror
for a Palestinian family when rockets destroyed their home. Rockets
paid for or made by the US government for the Army of the nation
of Israel and their unjust occupation of Palestine and Gaza. Pray for peace for
all peoples.

Please check this video:

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Iran: “Prisoner of Colours” is Executed: Delara Darabi, 22 years young

Poems organized for a Reading in Appleton WI, May 4, 2009, enjoy, by ko shin, Bob Hanson

You Came to Hear Poetry?

So, you came to hear poetry… from an old man?

I bet not!

So here we are, what shall we do?

I want you to know my life,

As I want to hear your story, these stories as crazy as they might seem

Is who we are…

They say, poets touch the soul, speak from the heart,

Do you mean cover up reality or speak to the truth ?

I suppose they do all that, I don't know

Oh well, what shall we poet about this evening, this morning, whenever?

The leaves are falling or the trees are budding all over,

now in beautiful colors or the buds are coming out,

there is no “don’t ask, don’t tell “ in nature

How was that?

The people are divided not over issues but unfounded fears and even hatred of race….class, some

One different that me, or you

Yes, the poet is the prophet in whatever age or time,

An alarm clock going off when it is not set too

A call to action when we are tired, worn down and hopeless

In these times what is it we need to be reminded of, these times of fear, violence against each other, nations and faiths…

Like the trees, the leaves, the falling the dying, the new plants in the spring even new trees everywhere

We are reminded by the poet a voice crying….



Cycle you say, you mean what comes around comes around, I have heard that bull shit all my life, there must be another path…

I walked through the woods today, can you remember the sounds of leaves and needles under your feet, a wonderful sound and smell, a natural incense, without the smoke, just the air filled with harvest, or spring, a strange kind of dying and coming to life again, a cycle we are all a part of…

Even though some of those religious nuts want us to believe some have it others don't, we will come by this way again, not the same person or even the same form…

Many life times prepare us for this moment, not of wishes or dreams, but the reality of this moment.

Well, now you WILL hear the poet in me….hang on….

Cold Metal on the throne

Cold metal on the bottom

That's what it was, no toilet seat, just shinny metal

Cold, and strange

But that's how our inmates sit on the throne

More inmates than any other country in the world

Cold metal on the bottom, that's it

It was a strange experience, not because there was no toilet seat,

My poetry teacher gave us an assignment

Go for a walk, sit somewhere for awhile

Then write some things down

I do that all the time, but not on cold metal on the bottom

I was sitting in meditation with the men, in the chapel, in the prison,

Nature called, when you are my age you learn to answer in the moment not

Some time soon….get it?

The chaplain gave me some choices, I guess because I'm not an inmate

So I entered the door with a sign on it, inmates only

There it was a metal throne with out a seat

I paused only a second, nature was yelling by now

And so I sat on the cold metal with no seat

Teacher, you ask, how did I feel?

Hm, relived and free…who needs a seat...just cold metal on the bottom

Peace all the Time! Right?

What a day, What a moment

Thanks and praise to all who made this possible

As we cry out in this moment,

the pain of living,

The pain of tsunami, of judgment instead of grace…

Rejecting some, welcoming others, and not all…

When did Jesus reject anyone?

Why do we?

Called to love, bring justice and peace to our world…

Yet so many are left out


My neighbor, a stranger,

Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu or Jain

Lutheran or Baptist

Or whatever

Where is the separation,

In our hearts and souls

Or in our

Doctrine and interpretation…?

A word from the sutra:

Never think that I believe I should set out a "system of teaching" to help people understand the way. Never cherish such a thought. What I proclaim is the truth as I have discovered it and "a system of teaching" has no meaning because the truth can’t be cut up into pieces and arranged in a system. -Diamond Sutra

For me, my clan, it is the heart and soul that welcomes

All else is created to separate

Not to deepen…

I am here today

To empower the heart

Of all

So that Peace can run down like a river…

Join me

Walk with me

Guide me

Help me

But only from the heart and soul of your being

Not the things that separate us

Because we are all different

Oh well, what a moment, this one,

Many thanks, but now I must warn you…

My sisters and brothers on the path…

Here comes the next one…how will we receive it…

How will receive the human being who comes down the path to meet us?

Better than a thousand useless words is one word that gives peace.



Ground Zero 8pm January 9, 2002 at Mrs. Fields

The eyes, the deep sadness

the eyes

the tired people

they have built a stand now, it is easier to see, less.

It is time to move on,

but to what?

how do we appropriate this kind of event as a community and country.

a plane fell in Pakistan today, Americans loss their lives, the violence continues

when will we learn

what will we learn

what will we do

do, do, do, be, be, act like?

I have sat, I have let go, but it is still there

time to close

time to let go

time to ...........

this is a burial ground, and we as white folks have never been able to handle burial ground well. We build shopping malls and parking lots over the bones of ancestors we move them when we need the space.

We cannot move this burial ground, a large ground of souls to remind us of our human journey......

time to close

time to go

time to let go

time to .........

where do I want to be buried?

these folks never had the freedom to ask this....ashes to ashes, I want to be buried in the winds of the universe.....maybe Japan, maybe here, does it matter?

the danger is, letting this go will help us forget it like so many other life changing transforming horrific tragic events....yet each of those moments are remembered as a moment of grace, we cannot forget.

time to close Mrs. Fields

time to go

time to let go

time to.......freedom

Koshin at Jesus Place….Gobind Sadan…

Koshin at Jesus Place….Gobind Sadan…

stop fighting,

cattle, sacred yet thirsty

cool breeze



a dog, brown and thin

singing to me in the cool hazy morning breeze

what does he say this day?

let the spirit move Koshin....

let her move.

The eyes, shine in the night

leaning against the stone wall,

"what are you doing here?, Koshin"

the eyes asked,

They know the dryness of India,

the road, the field.

"I am on the path," I answered.

The eyes answered, softly…

" keep moving, it is a path that does not end..."

Attending a Memorial Service…

I am not sure I knew this person

And she is not here,

Only a Picture

On a table with a Candle

& some holy book.

Why am I here?

I don’t need to be reminded of my own end, do I?

Where did she go?

How did she Go?

Maybe the Priestess will tell us…maybe…


Only a bunch of mythical words again.

No answers, again, just stories…maybe stuff

Where will I go?

How will I go?

You want to come?


Neshkoro Pops

Poems of Spring by ko shin, Bob Hanson April 24, 2009


woman’s voices

sing ancient texts

fresh water falls


time to leave

autumn leaves falling

new life, old journey

What path?

no map, same path

no end, only rest places

the sun always comes


the leaves fall

the creatures sleep

life is grace


An orange sun sets

evening cool

everyone is mine


red pork chop

little bugs


ha, what a feeling...

From our cells come freedom - Mandela

From our own Cells, comes Freedom

I stood there, an extremely hot afternoon on this Island off Cape Town SA,

transfixed by the place, the cell.

Its history

Its contact with my life, living thousands of miles from it…

Nelson Mandela’s jail cell, decades in a cell,

working in the suffering sun of Robins Island,

digging in the salt mines

Far back in the cave, a university was created, the students

Reformers, revolutionaries, the people’s models, leaders…

later, with bad eye sight, weak legs, a heart of gold…

Walking to freedom never looking back

How do we get out of our jail cells?


Maybe it is how do we act in freedom from our cells?

Walk the Path

Walk the Path…

What does it mean to walk the path?

What does it mean to be compassion?

Not dominating but compassionate

Not fear, but acceptance

Not exclusion but inclusion

Not war but non-violence, peace

Not hate but love

Not judgment but open and honest conversation

We no longer need to be lost, but our found,

Is this my karma, or, the Path?

The answers, no not answers but the moment

is where I experience all of this and more…then…

Move to the next one, free, open, it’s just a breath away…

I saw it...

I saw it

a fat robin, resting in the naked bush

how satisfied she looked

so filled with the worms and the bugs of the earth

I sit, also over weight, fat you say


not really

wondering, knowing what I know, feeling what I feel,

how does one act with skillful means

so that justice will flow like a river, everywhere,

when national issues, interest, fear and even hatred block justice

stop all peoples from being free, safe and loved.

Oh fat and happy robin, let us learn from you

as the bush fills out, green, and as spring brings new life,

may this world be filled with hope...may you find hope, somewhere...

ko shin, Bob Hanson

1 shot, 2 kills

“1 Shot, 2 Kills”

Compassion at its best, You say

Respect at it best?

No, killing at its worst!

Remember the day when one might say,

"one of my best friends is Negro?"

Or maybe today, "one of my best friend is Muslim, Jewish, or Gay?"

I thought at first it was a statement of care

Then realized it was a statement of tolerance

Ok, I will accept you , but I know I am better,

Or my faith is the only one, or, now I cannot be bothered

By our differences.

1 Shot, 2 Kills”

The tee-shirt of a soldier

Where could be anywhere these days, right?

The news article said:\

“1 Shot, 2 Kills” reads one t-shirt routinely worn by IDF soldiers. It depicts a pregnant woman covered by a bulls-eye. Another t-shirt for infantry snipers depicts “the inscription ‘Better use Durex,’ next to a picture of a dead Palestinian baby, with his weeping mother and a teddy bear beside him.” Soldiers wear these shirts only with the approval of their platoon commanders.

Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgandaReport.Com .

How do we work for peace?

Within or without?

How does one tolerate the wall that cuts you off from your farm?

How does one tolerate the wall and the nasty check points

That cut you off form family, medical services, friends, life itself…

In the name of Yahweh the Chaplains in the IDF yelled at the

Troops as they readied for battle, quoting the Torah…a righteous war

Fighting with bullets, rockets and bombs, many made in or paid for by

the United States Foreign Policy…$10,000,000 a day they say...

"1 Shot, 2 Kills”

Tolerate not respect

Human life is cheap when you hate or live in fear

Hear people Oh people of Israel& the Universe,

The world will not tolerate this killing-fields in the name of defense or peace…

"1 Shot, 2 Kills”

This muse will not finish until there is peace

We do not learn from the past or the present

We think not of the future

We can live in fear or hope

Hatred or understanding

Tolerance or love

"1 Shot, 2 Kills"

Your call and mine..

Trails of smoke

trails of smoke

falling into my village

not the trails of angels but of violence

against my family, my neighbors even those I do not get along with




trails of smoke from the rockets

killing the innocents

trails of smoke in the sky

run for cover

pray for peace, yes, peace

and maybe quiet...

Lighthouse, who looks for you now…?

lighthouse, old as you are

who looks for you now?

who can you guide?

who can you save?

the moment tells you

reminds us

we are the guides

we are those who serve all

the light from your house

reminds us, who we are.

Wake Up!

It is that sense on interconnectedness with all people, with all nations and with all paths of the spirit that brings new life.

Wake Up!

Everyone needs to be part of the conversation, all at the table when working for peace and justice.

Wake up!

How do we, as people who have been a part of historical religious institutions respect, honor and walk with all people who are deeply spiritual beings outside the context we know and think is our spirituality?

Wake Up!

How do we renew and transform deadly old religious structures, to be the spirit force they are meant to be?

Wake Up!

Peace! How can we bring all views to our table, the table of the universe, and honestly broker, empower peace when our governments and religious leaders often block this conversation?

Wake up!

The elimination of racism is a primary battle that still needs to be fought. It reminded me, nothing has changed. What are we going to do? Connected to this struggle the issues of inclusion in terms of gender, sexual orientation, age, and those challenged by body and mind.

Wake Up These are times, we are the people.

Finally what you see is what you got...

telling your own story

healing begins

life is a journey

when are you settled?

maybe only when it ends,


moves to a new place.

who am I? more than a job

or an address or phone #,

who am I?

what you see is what you got!

Deep Rivers, running through our lives….

Deep rivers, run through our lives

Often we do not know the source or the ending

Our spiritual practice is a way we ford the rivers of our consciousness

Or we build bridges

But so often we destroy the bridges

Deep roots

Empower a tree to be taller, thicker, stronger

There are more than one family of roots in a large beautiful tree

The diversity of our spiritual journey

The many part of the Path

Give us hope and life

How can we deny our interconnectedness with all nature and the universe

Yet, we act as though we control the earth and all its gifts

Now is the time

Now is the time

This moment, is when we must transform our ways

Deep rivers

Deep roots


Hope and Peace

koshin early May 12,2008

Poems on a snowy winter night

I am sure

I saw this flower

peeking out of snow, deep and cold

no, it was my dream, my wish...

wanting peace

peace is always seeing the beautiful flower

peeking out at you & I saying,


-ko shin

a child keeping the flies off his head

hungry, hot, lonely

what is he waiting for?

compassion, something to eat,

hope, maybe he does not know that word

what is there to hope for....

as I gaze on him,

the pictures from Gaza, today

and I wonder, where has human compassion and love gone?

in meditation, contemplation, chanting and prayer

we can send hope to this small boy and all in places of violence

that there might be peace... we have the power...

ko shin

this bird knows,

knows that the snows melt

the bushes, the flowers, the earth & sky

supplies her needs...

why do we worry, I sometime wonder,

be quiet now, for just a few moments

listen and you will hear

the compassion of the universe....

it is yours, and mine...

ko shin

021009 where did that come from...

Where do these things come from…

Growing older, must be like moving into a state of Vipassana

A deeper form of meditation where everything you have filed elsewhere comes up…

Maybe that is where the stories of wisdom telling come from throughout the creation's history.

I don't know I just feel it, like the deep rumblings of the tummy soon after the meal you could have skipped…

I remember...

It was after 8:30 in the morning, there was commotion in the outer office,

I walked out in the room filled with emotion, the radio was on, my staff was crying,

A plane had hit the towers in NYC,

My step son, Marcy's kids were in Manhattan, are they safe we asked without speaking?

We felt as a nation, a world, what we all feel at the death of a child, a baby, a loved one…

A emptiness in the bottom of our lives…

Where did this come from, a mid-winter, sunny and warmer than usual day in 2009?

It's there my sister, it's there my brother, it's there…

Always reminding us of our journey,

Of our compassion,

Of our hope…

May the question is not, where does this stuff come from?

But, what else is there, where ever it is?

We are all "dhamma brothers (&Sisters)" *

Life as it continues will surprise us, not just memories, but who we are,

Thank you, whoever I am thanking…can I rest from this stuff for a while? No!

"I am the spirit of where it came from, and I have something to tell you now…"

A sudden something, the morning of February 10, 2009 by ko shin, listen!

*Dhamma Brothers, is a Documentary recently released on Donaldson Prison in Alabama, where they

Used the Vipassana Program, a ten day silent retreat with 20 some inmates and the program now continues there and in other prisons. Worth seeing. I have a copy. Check out Peace!

We search and pray for balance

In all things in our lives

in the life of our world.

Peace is all we search for

even when it seems impossible

when will we learn?

when will we learn?

I often find the quite of the place I dwell,

almost unreal, so quiet, so beautiful,

when others must look out for violence entering their space...

where is our balance as a world?

leaders bragging they broke the laws of human rights, tortured others in our name,

and we do nothing, our new leaders seem to do nothing...

we see it happening the we argue about arguing

when will we learn?

where is the balance?

oh, it is here, where? you ask

search in your heart, that light, the Buddha within

yes, the balance comes, the peace begins with me,

with you, with the Sangha, the community of spirit,

whatever the path...begin to live your path for, in, peace...

early morning, Jan. 13, 2009, tons of light, quiet snow, and the winds of peace, ko shin

Dozing off I heard a monk…say

Let me respectfully remind you,

life and death are of supreme importance.

Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost.

Each of us should strive to awaken. Awaken. Take Heed.

Do not squander your life.”

(from the evening service of Zen Buddhism)

One with all

bombs only increase the hatred of people

using compassion

loving speech

deep listening

brings this moment

new life

a quote that speaks…

"There are always people who dare to seek on the margin of society, who are not dependent on social acceptance, not dependent on social routine, and prefer a kind of free- floating existence under the state of risk. And among these people, if they are faithful to their calling, to their vocation, and to their message from God, communication on the deepest level is possible. And the deepest level of communication is not communication but communion. It is wordless. It is beyond words, and it is beyond speech, and it is beyond concept. Not that we discover a new unity. We discover an older unity. My dear brothers, we are already one. (Speaking to a conference of monks from many religions.) But we imagine that we are not. And what we have to recover is our original unity. What we have to be is what we are."

(Asian Journal1968 p.308) Thomas Merton

On a desert highway in India:

bare mountains,

hot sun

green fields

people working, pulling, carrying

third world, no, the world

processions of men, carrying colorful


going where?

blessing the road?

who knows, spirituality, a path, everywhere

I feel a strange kind of soulful oneness

These poems were created by ko shin, Bob Hanson, a poet, a sage, an aging monk living for justice and peace for the entire universe. Please join on the journey. Wake up!