Dharma Reflections



There is no point to life, nor of itself,

for it knows not its direction,

where it is going,

nor where it has come from.


It cannot move from where it is,

yet it never stands still;

It is a strange thing,

this unfolding process

that neither stand still

nor goes anywhere

nor abides in random togetherness.


Yet, we who call ourselves humans remain

deluded in giving a point to the pointless,

who sing a song of purpose

while playing second fiddle in an orchestra without a conductor.


There is no point to existence,

no purpose in abstracting something

to what cannot lead anywhere

nor abide where it is.


There is a relief to all of this,

for it dissolves the pressure to be here and now

or to use the here and now

to get somewhere else that is not here and now.


There is no point to being here

and there is no point to being anywhere else,

no wonder there is only time to dance!


As a creative force, the poem has a radical function in the deepest intimacies of our being.


A poem serves as a vehicle for inner transformation through the medium of a precise language employing subtle forms that serve to impact upon our sensibilities, and enable us to break away from habitual perceptions. Our receptivity to the immediate presence of a poem, and the revelations that emerges, sanctions the power of the poem.


The reader and the read enter into a deep relationship with each other where the act of total attention to the lines invites a significant shift of awareness to open out our sense of life and our humanity. The austerity of language and the single pointed precision whisper, if not shout, to the reader of a greater truth. The poem is the finger pointing to the moon. What it points to is neither on the lines, nor between the lines.


An authentic poem sacrifices itself, dissolves into its own mystery, to make way for what might be called a ‘spiritual’ waking up. With its hidden power and intimate significance, the authentic poem takes us into a deep realm of penetration into the conventional and unconventional.


One line of a poem can sink deep into our being on one day, and then another line or theme emerge on another occasion. In this meeting of the two, namely the reader and read, we become available for fresh ways of seeing.


The poem serves to speak to us of deeper truths within the disciplined structure of a handful of words. Our lives are enriched through the poem’s precocious capacity to shift us from a settled zone of view into a depth of consciousness that often remains inaccessible. The discerning care of the application of the lines of the poem has the potential to contribute significantly to ennobling and empowering our lives. 


Your life will be nourished immensely through the reading of poetry. Do you have a book of poems at hand?


A friend, Tom, sent me this:

Five tips for a woman….

1. It is important that a man helps you around the house and has a job.

2. It is important that a man makes you laugh.

3. It is important to find a man you can count on and doesn’t lie to you.

4. It is important that a man loves you and spoils you.

5. It is important that these four men don’t know each other.


Paul Koppler, the founder and guardian angel of the Waldhaus Retreat Centre, Nickenich, an hour from Bonn, Germany and I were talking over lunch last week about the practice of Naikan Therapy. We have a mutual friend, Franz in

Austria, who has been a Naikan therapist for more than 25 years leading Naikan retreats, often every other week.

Naikan Therapy enables people to take total responsibility for their feelings, perceptions and views in matters of a relationship, and to transform their attitude towards another person. It is truly a Buddhist therapy.

Naikan means in Japanese inside looking and was founded by Ishin Yoshimoto in 1953.

A participant sits a seven day Naikan retreat. He or she is provided with a small room, pen and paper, and only leaves the room to go to the toilet and shower. The Naikan teacher goes to the room daily, perhaps two or three times, to listen to the person’s reflections. The participant has three questions to reflect on and has nothing else whatsoever to be committed to.

The Three Questions

  1. What have I received from __________ ?
  2. What have I given to __________ ?
  3. What troubles and difficulties have I caused __________ ?

These questions apply right up to the present time in the retreatant’s life. The person generally takes the most important person in their life and explores the relationship within the context and discipline of the three questions. The practice enables the person to come to a realistic view of the relationship and the necessary give and take required.

Naikan helps the individual take full responsibility for their attitude, motivations and enables him or her to recognise the support and care that the other person has offered. The practice is to end the problems in the relationship due to seeing the other primarily or equally at fault.

1. What has the person given me? The retreatant might list all the details of what the person in his or her life has offered, shared or sacrificed going back as far as possible. One becomes mindful of all the little things. The more the recollection of tiny details the better. Everything is important.

2. The other side of the equation. What have I given to the person? What am I offering currently? Make the details specific.

3. What problem and difficulties have I caused or am I causing this person? This is the hardest question. We are used to believing that the other person must change for any kind of relationship to work. We might think that what we say or do is not such a big deal. The retreatant becomes mindful and writes down with total honesty all the problems and difficulties he or she has caused in the relationship right up to the present time.

One person might choose their mother, father, siblings, partner, neighbour, boss, friend, pet, or a job or the area where one lives or a possession, such as money, a home or a car.

One person asked Ishin Yoshimoto, the founder: “Why don’t you allow a fourth question? What are the problems and difficulties the person has caused me?

The founder replied: “There is no need for you too go into this question. You know already.
”If you have a major issue going on with somebody, then take a day out and give yourself totally To these three questions. You might change into the person that you want the other person to be!



It is easy to fall into the habit of thinking that our own religion is the true faith and that other believers have got it wrong. The following two lists show that religions, even from different cultural and historical backgrounds, have more in common for the good or for ill than we may think.

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