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healing [updated]

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This morning seven people will come to my home for a Jizo ceremony — to remember and set adrift the spirit of a baby that died a while ago. I may say more about this later in the day. Stephen Levine writes that “the secret to healing is no secret at all.”

Lather that day. I feel so tired. Could be that spending two hours amidst a close-knit group mourning the loss of an unborn child weighs heavily on my heart. The kind of ache that even a mid-day nap won’t erase. Could be that my body has assumed some of the pain felt by others — not unlike Quan Yin, the Buddhist guardian of compassion, who “hears the cries of the world.” Or simply a cold coming on.

This morning I read aloud these lines by the Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore: 

Peace, my heart, let the time for the parting be sweet.
Let it not be a death but completeness.
Let love melt into memory and pain into songs.
Let the flight through the sky end in the folding of the wings over the nest.
Let the last touch of your hands be gentle like the flower of the night.
Stand still, O Beautiful End, for a moment, and say your last words in silence.
I bow to you and hold up my lamp to light you on your way.

May all beings be at ease.

source: Levine, S. (1987). Healing into life and death. New York: Anchor Books, p. xiii.


hand-carved Jizo statues ~ the perfect gift

Jizo is a Buddhist bodhisattva much revered in South East Asia. Depicted as a monk, he serves as protector of all beings in transition —  particularly children who have died as well as women, monks, and firefighters. He represents the qualities of unflagging optimism, fearlessness, and gentleness.

Of the many styles available in the West, I have long been drawn to these charming statues carved in Bali. After bringing a few back from my home monastery, I wrote to Victoria, an American expat who helps bring the carvers’ work to market. The statues measure ca. 7½” in height and 5″ across the bottom and are made from dense wood native to Bali. If you like to have a look at the ones I have for sale, kindly contact me at

I sell the statues at cost (without mark-up) to cover materials and wages for the Bali carvers plus  air freight. Your cost in Victoria, BC is C$78. If you live in the USA, kindly contact ZenWorks in Oregon.

* Victoria writes: “So glad you have them! The carver is a man named Ketut I met maybe 12 years ago. I had heard he was carving nice Buddha statues and went looking for him. I wove my way down a number of small lanes in a village to find him, carving in his family compound (place where family has lived for many generations. Has a family temple where the ancestors are honoured on a regular basis and all the generations live there together. The sons stay with their wives and build another kitchen and the daughters go to their husbands compounds. The old generally die in the center of family activity.

“[At first Ketut] was shy and uneasy … Many years later his quality has improved over the years and he has become confident and happy and has a wonderful wife and son. Generally more than one person works on a piece. Someone roughs it in, someone does finish detail. Someone else may do faces because they are better at faces that other people. Someone else sands and waxes. Ketut always does the faces for these Jizos as he is the only one who can capture that particular wonderful feeling. Namaste.”