Monday, August 31, 2009

Autobiography In Five Short Chapters

I'm rereading The Tibetan Book Of Living And Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche this week. Just in case. ;-) It is one of those rare books that i am completely convinced everyone must read once in their lives, but realize, sadly enough, that that advice will be ignored by far too many people.

Anyway..... this is a poem that the author quotes in the book:

Autobiography In Five Short Chapters
Portia Nelson

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost ... I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes me forever to find a way out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place
but, it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in ... it's a habit.
my eyes are open
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

I walk down another street.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Inner Life Of Solitude

On the one hand, it is so incredibly hard to imagine what was going through Kūkai's mind as he worked his way back to Shikoku after dropping out of the university.

He had just dropped out of school, abandoned his career, disappointed to no end the man who had taken him under his wing and tutored him so that he could pass the university's entrance exams, and left his parents and family unimaginably let down. He left the capital with nothing but the clothes on his back; no money, no food, no support, no idea of what to expect, no back-up plans, no way back, no nothing. He was completely and irrevocably alone — mentally and emotionally.

On the other hand, it is easy to see what was going through his mind as he worked his way back to the island. He may have had nothing by most people's standards, but he did have something — potential.

I imagine Kūkai struggled mightily in the year leading up to that departure. Not a "should i or shouldn't i" struggle, but a struggle of did he have the right to let all those other people who were counting on him down. However, on that day when the decision was made, i don't think he actually "made" a decision at all; i think it was nothing more or less than a simple recognition that it was time to go. It wasn't a recognition that he even had to think about, it was just, all of the sudden, and with no warning, clear that it was time to leave. Which he then did.

And as he left, because he left everything material behind, because he left expectations behind, because he left promises behind, because he left thoughts of right and wrong behind, because he left hopes behind — he left with infinite potential and zero limitations ahead. Then, while wandering the hills and valleys of Shikoku, he let it begin to refill that potential. With each new day he let himself expand into that potential and let himself become that potential.

He lived each moment of this new life under the watch of the Heart Sutra's ze sho hō kū sō; fu shō fu metsu; fu ku fu jō; fu zō fu gen (these are the characteristics of the emptiness of all dharmas; they neither arise nor cease, are neither defiled nor pure, neither increase nor decrease.)

For the next several years, Kūkai lived those words. No, it would be more accurate to say, those words existed in the being we have known as Kūkai. He ate when hungry and when he could find something to eat, he slept when he needed to, he meditated throughout the day. He did nothing but be. He let his life drain into beingness just as a small narrow stream drains into the ocean — without fight, without hope, without thought.

Nothing was defined for him and he didn't live his life by definitions. He just was. There was no yesterday, today, or tomorrow. He just was. There was no here, there, me, other, hungry, full, hot, cold, happy, sad, hopeful, distraught, excited, or bored. There was no Kūkai and no dharma. There was no meditating, sleeping, walking, or sitting. There was no being or not being. There just was. There was no Kūkai, no time, no space. There just was.

And when Kūkai just was long enough, another realization bubbled to the surface. This one came to the surface while sitting in a cave on the southeast coast of the island on Cape Muroto.

As night was fading early one morning, it became clear that he was no different from that potential he came to the island with. It became clear that he was that potential. And when that happened, he stood up again, gave himself the name Kūkai, declared that the purpose of his life was to save all others, and walked away. Again.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Running Eagerly Towards Life

These are some rather lengthy random quotes from Evelyn Underhill's great book Mysticism: A Study in Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness, which explains a lot of what i imagine Kōbō Daishi went through on his path from university dropout to mendicant monk on Shikoku to everything he would eventually be. I'm not going to add anything because i'd just be making a fool of myself for trying.

"Conversion," says Starbuck, ... "is primarily an unselfing. The first birth of the individual is into his own little world. He is controlled by the deep-seated instincts of self-preservation and self-enlargement—instincts which are, doubtless, a direct inheritance from his brute ancestry. The universe is organized around his own personality as a centre." Conversion, then, is "the larger world-consciousness now pressing in on the individual consciousness. Often it breaks in suddenly and becomes a great new revelation. This is the first aspect of conversion: the person emerges from a smaller limited world of existence into a larger world of being. His life becomes swallowed up in a larger whole."

All conversion entails the abrupt or gradual emergence of intuitions from below the threshold, the consequent remaking of the field of consciousness, an alteration in the self’s attitude to the world. "It is," says Pratt, "a change of taste—the most momentous one that ever occurs in human experience."

But in the mystic this process is raised to the nth degree of intensity, for in him it means the first emergence of that passion for the Absolute which is to constitute his distinctive character: an emergence crucial in its effect on every department of his life. Those to whom it happens, often enough, are already "religious": sometimes deeply and earnestly so.

Sometimes the emergence of the mystical consciousness is gradual, unmarked by any definite crisis. The self slides gently, almost imperceptibly, from the old universe to the new. The records of mysticism, however, suggest that this is exceptional: that travail is the normal accompaniment of birth.


[Mysics] complete the process of conversion; which is not one-sided, not merely an infusion into the surface-consciousness of new truth, but rather the beginning of a life-process, a breaking down of the old and building up of the new. A never to be ended give-and-take is set up between the individual and the Absolute. The Spirit of Life has been born: and the first word it learns to say is Abba, Father. It aspires to its origin, to Life in its most intense manifestation: hence all its instincts urge it to that activity which it feels to be inseparable from life.

So, even in its very beginning, we see how active, how profoundly organic, how deeply and widely alive is the true contemplative life; how truly on the transcendent as on the phenomenal plane, the law of living things is action and reaction, force and energy. The awakening of the self is to a new and more active plane of being, new and more personal relations with Reality; hence to a new and more real work which it must do.


The mystic act of union, that joyous loss of the transfigured self in God, which is the crown of man’s conscious ascent towards the Absolute, is the contribution of the individual to this, the destiny of the Cosmos.

The mystic knows that destiny. It is laid bare to his lucid vision, as our puzzling world of form and colour is to normal sight. He is the "hidden child" of the eternal order, an initiate of the secret plan. Hence, whilst "all creation groaneth and travaileth," slowly moving under the spur of blind desire towards that consummation in which alone it can have rest, he runs eagerly along the pathway to reality. He is the pioneer of Life on its age-long voyage to the One: and shows us, in his attainment, the meaning and value of that life.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Burn Baby, Burn

I stumbled on two hints at an answer to my question in a previous post about whether Kōbō Daishi's giving up everything material for everything spiritual was just an intellectual search or an admission and understanding that the intellect didn't have the answers he was looking for.

The first i found in the book Kūkai The Universal: Scenes from His Life. When Kūkai (a name he gave himself later on Shikoku) was studying at the university the course of study he chose was the Confucian Classics, as this was the standard course of study for those destined to high rank in the imperial court. The author of the book points out that some students at the time found this too boring and opted, instead, to focus their studies on Literature and History. How did Kūkai deal with this boredom?

"...Kūkai seems to have had enough time and energy to learn some other subjects that were not required. One of them would have been spoken Chinese. ... Another subject would have been calligraphy. ... The other subject would have been literature which fascinated him throughout his life.

These extracurricular lessons he took would have been a sort of remedy he prescribed for himself to relieve the pain he had to suffer when his overflowing artistic talent was unduly restrained in the narrow range of the Confucian Classics Course. The brilliant reward he would gain by going through that purgatory was "success in life," as he was often told. But what if trial after trial in that purgatory were to lead him to have doubts about "success in life" and to carry him away into the mysteries of the universe? He would no longer feel like wasting his time with the Confucian classics in the Confucian society that now seemed to him a dull pageant of faded dolls, as he persistently argued in The Indications of the Three Teachings. Confucianism may enable one to master how to control society as a functionary of the ruler; but it will be of no use to one who is searching for the truth of the universe. Thus Kūkai had to abandon the university to quench his thirst for knowledge and wisdom, just as a parched traveler in the desert runs to an oasis."

What do you do when every fiber of your being begins to doubt the commonly accepted myths about the veracity of "success in life?" What do you do when your day-to-day life becomes nothing more than a "pageant of faded dolls," parading endlessly round and round through your life yet offering no color, no luminosity, no stimulation — nothing but bland monotony.

And if your being begins to see the sun shining brightly just over the hill, do you drop everything and follow your instincts, like the moth irrevocably drawn to the candle flame? When your lust for wisdom vastly outweighs your lust for "success in life," don't you have to choose the former if you want to keep your sanity? Apparently Kūkai thought so.

I have struggled with the following poem for a long, long time. I still don't really "get it," (which bugs me to unbelievable ends and i read it several times a week in the hopes of having something, someday, become clear), but at least the first half is very apropos to the question i was asking about Kūkai.

Sometimes A Man Stands Up During Supper

Sometimes a man stands up during supper
and walks outdoors, and keeps on walking,
because of a church that stands somewhere in the East.

And his children say blessings on him as if he were dead.

And another man, who remains inside his own house,
dies there, inside the dishes and in the glasses,
so that his children have to go far out into the world
toward that same church, which he forgot.

Rainer Maria Rilke
translated by Robert Bly

The "church in the east" isn't just one of the Asian religions that some people blindly chase after just for a change in their lives. Here, i think it is that "something" that you inner being has seen and come to understand so intimately that you no longer have a choice but to give up the life you are currently living in order to devote your "new" self to it. When that realization hits, whether that is during dinner or while sitting on your zafu or filling your car with gas, you don't think about the appropriate response, you just get up, walk outdoors, and continue walking.

For all intents and purposes, when this happens the "old" you is dead so it makes perfect sense for your loved ones to say blessings on your behalf. At the same time, it wouldn't be inappropriate for them to celebrate the birth of the "new" you.

And, this is exactly what happened to Kūkai. One day, maybe while he was eating dinner, he knew, intuitively, intimately, and completely, that where he was wasn't where he belonged; that who he was trying to be wasn't who he was; that what he was trying to become wasn't nearly all that he could become; that a life awaited him if he was only willing to sacrifice an existence.

At that point, i imagine him putting his chopsticks down, standing up, apologizing to those around him, ..... and walking out. Walking back the the mountains of Shikoku. Walking away from certain death to certain life.

What guts!

(Now if i could just get that last paragraph. I could say many things about it, but i'm just not sure any of them are on the mark.....)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Planting Words — Harvesting A Life

Anthony De Mello tells this story in his book Awareness.

"I was told a lovely story about a farmer in Finland. When they were drawing up the Russian-Finnish border, the farmer had to decide whether he wanted to be in Russia or Finland. After a long time he said he wanted to be in Finland, but he didn’t want to offend the Russian officials. These came to him and wanted to know why he wanted to be in Finland. The farmer replied, 'It has always been my desire to live in Mother Russia, but at my age I wouldn’t be able to survive another Russian winter.'"

It's a perfect anecdote to show how we define who we are, what we are, and everything else about our lives simply with the words we choose to use. Not just the words we choose to use in our everyday conversations with others, though those certainly do tell others a lot about us, but the words we use do define our reality to ourselves. The words we use when we think about what we can accomplish in life. The words we use when we try and conceptualize our potential. The words we use during those internal conversations about 'the truth.' The words we use when we try and imagine our limits. The words we use when we wonder about the limits of what is. In all of these cases, if you simply change the words you use, you inevitably change the answer you arrive at.

To be more to the point, though, the point is that by getting rid of the words themselves you get rid of the limits you run up against in these musings. It is the words themselves that limit who we are, what we are, and everything else about our lives. It doesn't matter what words you choose, by using them, you limit yourself.

As i have said many times in this blog, you only get to 'truth' when you sit long enough and quietly enough to begin to see those gaps that exist between two consecutive thoughts as they pass by, and immediately jump through one of those gaps before the next thought arrives. Once inside, away from the world defined by thoughts, ideas, and words, that great expanse called now opens its arms in welcome.

What's this got to do with anything? I was thinking about Kōbō Daishi this evening (like many other evenings) and wondering how well he understood this. When he was in his young twenties, he was a student at the national university, considered highly intelligent and promising by all that knew him, full of potential, and well on his way to a career in the emperor's administration. His future success was certain. Yet, he gave it up, threw everything away, and walked to Shikoku with nothing but the clothes on his back.

So, the question is, did he know, somewhere deep inside, that his intellect was holding him back from a life full of much, much more? Or, at that time in his life, did he simply seem to understand at an intellectual level that there could be more out there than what was defined in all the books he was studying.

Why does one person gladly give up everything for the chance to taste eternity while another will spend an eternity trying to accumulate everything? Why can a few people, content with nothing, find themselves free of everything and aware of it, while others, also content with nothing, find themselves trapped by everything and completely blind to the fact.

Is the difference between them in the word "nothing," or in the word "everything?"

Or is it in the gap between those two words and one's willingness to jump through even though he has no idea, none what-so-ever, what may lie on the other side?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Gambling On Rumi

On Gambling

To a frog that's never left his pond the ocean seems like a gamble.
Look what he's giving up: security, mastery of his world, recognition!
The ocean frog just shakes his head. "I can't really explain what it's like where I live, but someday I'll take you there."


If you want what visible reality
can give, you're an employee.

If you want the unseen world,
you're not living your truth.

Both wishes are foolish,
but you'll be forgiven for forgetting
that what you really want is
love's confusing joy.


Gamble everything for love,
if you're a true human being.

If not, leave
this gathering.

Half-heartedness doesn't reach
into majesty. You set out
to find God, but then you keep
stopping for periods
at mean-spirited roadhouses.


In a boat down a fast-running creek,
it feels like trees on the bank
are rushing by. What seems

to be changing around us
is rather the speed of our craft
leaving this world.

The Essential Rumi

Know what you want. Understand what you are. Understand your reality. Understand reality. Then, gamble everything! Be willing to gamble your security. Be willing to endanger your mastery and recognition. Live your truth.

Friday, August 21, 2009

I soooo want to go!

I'll trade a couple of years of my life, for the chance to go here....

And, i could probably be talked into trading away four or more for this one....

In the end, though, i'd easily give a dozen for the chance to do the entire Horse & Tea Trail on foot, which stretches from Yunan Province, in China, to Lhasa, in Tibet, and takes about 6 months, or so i have heard.

The above is episode 1 of 9. The rest of the episodes are here....

(Although the best documentary on the trail was done by the Korean's. See this for an introduction.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

What Can I Say.......

Used to be that when my head was all screwed up, time on my zafu straightened it out. That doesn't seem to work any more and i haven't even used it for anything more than a pillow for well over a week now. I find it funny, in a bizarre sort of "Dave T." way, that i have to use my ass to get my head right — goes a long way to explaining the connection between my brain and the other end of my anatomy.

I have decided to throw away about 18 years of my life. How's that for a decision! :-)

I have decided to give up fighting the world and just go back to what kept me happy when i was younger. Back then i was a loner, a complete and utter loner. As long as i had my bicycle, a backpack, and a pair of hiking boots i didn't need anything else from the world. Except a lot of good books, of course.

I think i gave it the good 'ol college try, but it seems to me that i'm the proverbial professional failure. After coming back from overseas in 1991, i tried to settle down and start a career; even went so far as to get an MBA (ha, now that's humorous). But, in hindsight, i've accomplished little more than a small pile of dog shit. So, rather than trying to be something i'm not, i'm going to do what i know i can do and am good at.

To that end, i spent Friday hiking at Starved Rock State Park (and loved every minute of it) and went to the book store today and bought a copy of 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Chicago: Including Aurora, Elgin, and Joliet. From now on, once a month i plan to take a Friday and go explore a new trail, beginning with several more trips to Starved Rock to finish exploring all the trails and canyons there.

On the Fridays i don't leave town, i'll head out on my bike and explore more of the area around Lockport. Then, once the Chicago Marathon is over, i'll start spending more time in the saddle, and as soon as this recession is over, find a part time job here in Lockport to pay for some books and the gas to drive to the hiking trails.

Hiking, bicycling, and reading are singular pursuits. At least for me they always were. I guess that means i'm saying goodbye to a lot of people, so as i slowly start to disappear, don't take it personally and don't be surprised.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

It's Spring! Are You Wearing White?

While i haven't yet found the time to read the book myself, my desktop wallpaper quotes the following from Bhante Henepola Gunaratana's autobiography, Journey To Mindfulness:

Wearing the monks' robe is not just a tradition or something we do so that people can recognize us as monks. It's more to remind ourselves who we are, what we are supposed to do, and how we should interact with others. It helps us to choose our speech wisely, to avoid overindulgence, and to remember to strive for peace with those around us.

(Gunaratana is, in case you aren't aware, the author of that wonderful classic Mindfulness In Plain English, which i recommend you find online and read. Several times.)

Bhante's words also apply to the traditional garb worn by henro who walk the trail on Shikoku. A fully outfitted henro would be dressed in white almost from head to toe. Most henro, however, (at least the vast majority of non-Japanese henro) have settled on just two essentials: the hakui (a white over-vest) and the kongotsue (a wooden walking stick).

Both could be used and worn simply because that is the tradition; because they are what set you apart from non-henro you meet throughout the day; because they signify what you are doing in an easily accessible way for all to see.

However, i think Bhante is correct. What the hakui and walking stick were meant to be are reminders to you, the henro. Items that constantly remind you throughout the day of what you are doing and why.

When you put the hakui on each morning, you do so fully aware that once it is on you have changed who you are — from the outgoing foreigner who shared a beer, a great meal, and some laughs with other henro at dinner last night, to a pilgrim walking the henro trail, working your way, step-by-step, from one temple to the next, from one life experience to the next, from mediocrity to enlightenment.

As you walk, you are mindful, at all times, that the stick you carry isn't just a walking stick, used to aid your steps along the trail. Rather, you are constantly mindful that it represents the Daishi himself, ever present, always available, and unceasing in his desire to help you and all others.

By keeping these thoughts always right at the edge of your conscious mind, where they are seen at the slightest provocation, they will change the way you interact with the non-henro that seek you out, that want to talk to you, that want to offer you settai. And these interactions with others are what will, after all is said and done, define your pilgrimage.

As Bhante says about the monks' robes, the hakui and the kongotsue are tools used by the henro to "remind ourselves who we are, what we are supposed to do, and how we should interact with others. It helps us to choose our speech wisely, to avoid overindulgence, and to remember to strive for peace with those around us."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Feeling Offal For What I Did, But....

Fell asleep this afternoon and slept for an hour. When i woke up, the only thing on my mind was ........ should i drive to Burger King now or wait until the news is over? Burger King? A hamburger? Dead cow meat for dinner? Where did that thought come from? This wasn't a passing thought that flickered by as i was waking up, it was an absolute certainty only waiting to be carried out.

I have been crying in my running log for several days about how incredibly tired i am of late. Early in the year i said that as i train for the Chicago Marathon i would run 5 days a week unless it killed me. These past few days i've been wondering if maybe life was seriously trying to take me up on that blatant dare.

Monday's log entry included this: "Miserable. Why? Heat? Humidity? Dehydration? Nutrition? Bad mood? Too much running? All? Combination?" And the last part of this morning's entry included: "I am just sooooooooooooooo tired. Why?"

On top of that, i just never, absolutely never, get food cravings. So where in "that place of very warm weather" did this craving for a hamburger (typed with sarcasm dripping all over the place) come from? Could my body be trying to say that the fatigue is, in part, a nutritional problem?

As sad as it is, i'm worried enough about my training that i gave in to the craving and went to Burger King as soon as the news was over. Whopper, fries, and a coke. It was terrible. The hamburger tasted like beef, the fries tasted like oil, and the coke tasted like sugar. As soon as i got home i wanted to cook some rice and stir fry some veggies like i eat the rest of the time, but knew i couldn't eat it even if i did so i just slumped in the chair in the living room and sulked at how weak i've become. :-(

Siggggghhhhhh...... what have i become?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Melancholic Morning

A Voice

They mutilate they torment each other
with silences with words
as if they had another
life to live

they do so
as if they had forgotten
that their bodies
are inclined to death
that the insides of men
easily break down

ruthless with each other
they are weaker
than plants and animals
they can be killed by a word
by a smile by a look

Tadeusz Rozewicz

I spent the morning today watching the Japanese movie Okuribito (Departures) and it was as good as all of the advertisements said it would be. I loved it on many, many levels.

– Are you willing to take a job that revolts you when no other opportunities seem available? When your previous job had been your heart's desire? Could you move directly from your dreams to your nightmares?

– Are you willing to open yourself to the possibility that your revulsion is misplaced and that buried in the most seemingly morbid of tasks is a love and regard for humanity that people thrive on yet seem so unwilling or unable to offer themselves?

– Are you willing to acknowledge that your nightmare could be a blessing in your life? That your life is better for its existence?

– Are you willing to stand up to public ridicule for your choices in life when you know that your choices are correct, whether or not you knew that when you made them. Are you willing to endure, silently and compassionately, until the time comes when your detractors acknowledge your service and thank you?

– What if one of those detractors is your spouse? Do you reward their unquestioning love with silence and stubbornness or do you communicate your fears and uncertainties knowing your relationship is what supports both of you? Is there a place in a relationship for secrecy?

OK, let me admit here that i am a born liar. I know i promised to put it back on the bookshelf, but i couldn't make myself do it. This poem (and the one above) comes from that beautiful anthology A Book Of Luminous Things.

For The Anniversary Of My Death

Every year without knowing it I have passed the day
When the last fires will wave to me
And the silence will set out
Tireless traveler
Like the beam of a lightless star

Then I will no longer
Find myself in life as in a strange garment
Surprised at the earth
And the love of one woman
And the shamelessness of men
As today writing after three days of rain
Hearing the wren sing and the falling cease
And bowing not knowing to what

W. S. Merwin

While alive, we are surprised by the smallest of things. If you are honest enough, you may wonder why, given all your lacks, that one person has chosen to love you so selflessly. Why, given all their humanity, man can intentionally and shamelessly harm one another. Why, given the harm and damage we intentionally do, the earth continues to support and sustain us. Surprises abound if you keep your eyes and heart open. What surprises us, and how we react to it, define much of our lives, telling us and others who we are. The luckiest of people live lives full of surprises and never stop working to accept them into their lives.

Realistically, though, there will be a day, sometime in the future, when my ability to be surprised comes to an end. A day will come that a few people will remember as the anniversary of the day i died. And then, after a few years, like wind blown leaves erasing all indications of a child's doodlings in the sand beneath a tree, the memories of my life, the indications that i was ever here, will slowly fade and one day disappear altogether. And then the silence of who i am, of who i was, that remains after my departure, will diffuse and permeate the universe; existing everywhere, yet unseen, unheard, and never ending.

"And bowing not knowing to what." That's the job of the Nōkanshi in the movie. Their job isn't simply to prepare the body for burial or cremation, anyone can do that. Their job is to prepare those that remain behind, and they do that by offering heart-felt respect to the deceased, and pointing out and bowing to, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, that "knowing not what" that makes us who we are, that enlivens us, that kindles that fire we call life.

Some people's fires burn fast and furious, some simmer long and slow, some start out as a slow simmer and later in life flare up into raging forest fires, some start out as raging bonfires and then die down into smoldering embers that accomplish little but last for years. Yet, it is this fire, as unpredictable as it is, that we are all so attached to. We take it for granted in ourselves and in those others in our lives. Even though we know, deep within, that we shouldn't.

As for standing up to public ridicule and some people's need to occasionally do that, i remind myself of the words of Tadeusz Rozewicz above. What have we become as a species, us humans? We mutilate each other, we torment each other — both silently and with words. We seem to have forgotten that life is a privilege that we all share in common, yet is something not all that easily come by. That life is a blessing that everyone, in every corner of the world, worships upon its arrival.

Yet, as much as people talk of love and compassion, we are both completely ruthless with each other and weaker than the weakest of plants — able to be killed by the slightest word, the most imperceptible of smiles, or simply by a look. We like to think we are strong beyond measure, but in reality we are as fragile as smoke rings in the air.

And when our ultimate weakness makes its appearance in our lives, that is when the Nōkanshi steps into the picture. At that final moment, as your loved one begins their next journey to "we know not where," the Nōkanshi reminds us of the existence of that "we know not what" and shows us once again how to bow in respect, reverence, and admiration, thus giving us yet another chance to recognize its existence in those still alive.