Notes on a Buddhist path

100…and more

August 5, 2013 By | 8 Comments

One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.” ~ Jack Kerouac

Just shy of two and a half years ago this blog was born. Back then it was called Suhurat…Day’s End, a name of Middle Eastern origins meaning to be with what arises. Late last year the blog took on a new look and a new name, a rebirth, if you will, as DHAMMA scribe, a title more fitting my life’s direction as I explore the teachings of reflection and practice in the Theravada Buddhist tradition.

And this, dear readers, is post number 100. What started as a narrow path in my writing practice, something to keep my wordsmith juices pumping, has become a thoroughfare of ponderings, perceptions, confessions and the occasional insight. I’ve written about looking for work and finding it, moving to a new home and returning to an old one, about the deaths of my two sweet cats and the rarefied joy of cherry blossoms. I’ll never forget my astonishment the day a new subscription notification showed up in my email box from someone other than a friend or family member. Wow – somebody was actually reading this! Cheek-flushed humbling, to say the least.

If you think about it, writing a blog is somewhat like tucking a message into a bottle. We mine the ores of words with care and delicate regard, order them in a personal rhythm to our cadence of beauty and meaning, then cast them out into a sea of cyber currents where they are jostled over waves of SEOs and analytics, all the while vying for the attention of someone who catches sight of our attempted eloquence shimmering below the surface and leaps into a state of peaked curiosity, plucks our post from the waters of verbosity and perhaps pauses for a brief time to read our precious musings. That anyone has found this site at all is as rare as a human birth. Well…almost.

Turning the corner on those past writings, I find my need to write isn’t as prodigious as when I first started the blog. The reliable safety of this space to write is a vista of expansive freedom after so many decades of relegating my voice to the banal circus of my monkey mind. Yet the need to find something to write about just to add another voice to the tsunami of the blogosphere entices me less and less these days. Perhaps it’s fatigue; perhaps it’s renunciation of even this, the practice that has been my passion for most of my life. Yet my creative expression in this world, in this life is through my writing. It’s what I know best, and what seems to want to arise in me with sustaining tides of fulfillment and delight.

I’ve been meeting with a friend and fellow writer over the summer to share some writing time and chat about the projects whispering for our attention. Last week we put our commitment to paper, each of us mapping out where we would like to be in six months with our creations. For me I’ve set my sights on editing these many past posts and adding some fresh material as well, culling and crafting them all into a book ready to send out into the world (one way or the other) in this coming year. I’ve had a leg-up on the work, thanks to the generosity of the dear friend who gifted me a bound copy of those many posts, as well as the document files of his herculean editor/publisher efforts. I’m still in awe of his immense generosity and abiding kindness.

Lau Tsu once said “Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know.” And so I continue to speak on these pages in my virtual voice; hungry to know more and perhaps stumble upon a bottle at the edge of a shining sea, one that contains an insight too simple and too vast for words. Imagine the silence.


By Mary Oliver 

Every day
          I see or hear
                              that more or less

kills me
          with delight,
                    that leaves me
                              like a needle

in the haystack
          of light.
                    It was what I was born for —
                              to look, to listen,

to lose myself
          inside this soft world —
                    to instruct myself
                              over and over

in joy,
          and acclamation.
                    Nor am I talking
                              about the exceptional,

the fearful, the dreadful,
          the very extravagant —
                    but of the ordinary,
                              the common, the very drab,

the daily presentations.
          Oh, good scholar,
                    I say to myself,
                              how can you help

but grow wise
          with such teachings
                    as these —
                              the untrimmable light

of the world,
          the ocean’s shine,
                    the prayers that are made
                              out of grass?

From Why I Wake Early, by Mary Oliver, © 2004 Beacon Press

Quote by Jack Kerouac from The Dharma Bums, © 1971 Penguin Books

Photo credit:

Flickr Creative Commons


  1. When I read your musings, the word “feast” comes to mind. By the time I read the last sentence I am full, wanting nothing more…except maybe post 101. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    • Thank you, dear Michaelene, for your gracious words. I smile, I blush, hand to heart, glad for you in my life.

  2. Many messages-in-a-bottle are of the “Please help me!” variety.

    Yours are of the “Here is a small light. Maybe this will help.” variety.

    While finding the first can lead to wonderful adventures, I must confess to preferring the second.

    Your 100 lights have helped illuminate my path, sometimes even preventing a nasty tumble into a sinkhole I was wandering off in the night towards, calling me back to the safety of the dhamma.

    Thank you, good scholar.

  3. Beautiful Tess! I wish you all the best for your writing efforts. In my view, a true writer’s words are as much for her own awakening as they are a gift to all her readers. I look forward to reading that book one day my friend! Sending you much metta and looking forward to seeing you soon!

    • Thank you, dear Dilani. As a true writer yourself I know you live your words, awakening to each insight along the way. Much metta to you as well and I’ll see you very soon.

  4. Thank you Tess for your voice. It is an important one. Hurray for reaching 100! Much writerly love.

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