Category Archives: zen

Rotary Global Peace Forum – Aung San Suu Kyi

Catching up on some belated posts, I especially wanted to bring attention to this event brought to us by the Rotary International. The keynote speech was by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. Among many other awards, she also won the highest civilian honor in the U.S., the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She is an amazing woman and I was fortunate to have the chance to hear her speech. The keynote was finally put online and it is well worth watching. There are many quotable moments but one that stood out for me was the following:
Compromise requires courage because compromise means letting go of your vanity. A lot of people do not compromise because they think it is a sign of weakness.  Compromise is a sign of strength… Compassion allows you to recognize that other people’s needs are as valid as your own.
We all need to find ways to work towards peace and compassion is a great place to start. The challenge is taking the words and turning them into action. We each need to find our own way. Ryan Ozawa and I had the honor and opportunity to share our thoughts on technology and peace at the Peace Forum earlier that day. I decided to share a meditation practice of mine in the hopes that others could find a way to discovery their own form of practice. It's finding out what resonates with you and turning that into action. You can find my presentation here. As an added bonus, here is Aung San Suu Kyi's speech and QnA with students brought together by the Hawaii Community Foundation and Pillars of Peace. In it she explains quite simply:
You have to learn to be at peace with yourself. To be at peace with yourself you have to face your weaknesses and you have to have enough compassion for yourself not to condemn yourself for these weaknesses. You have the courage to work at your weaknesses, to try to change yourself. Peace requires change and change requires a lot of hard work. And hard work requires commitment and courage.

Day 2 in Kyoto

Day 2: KyotoOn this second day in Japan, we hopped a train to Kyoto and ventured out on our own. This shot was taken at Daitoku-ji Temple at the Daisen-in. This building was where Sen No Rikyu's tea room was on display. Unfortunately no photographs were allowed. I did snap of this shot of the rock garden which I found quite pleasing. I won't speculate on the meaning of the rock formations but leave that for your interpretation. If you have some insight, please share. You can see more photos of Daitoku-ji in my Flickr set of Day 2 in Kyoto. Soen Ozeki is the head abbot at Daisen-in whose poetry was displayed throughout the hall.

A song of Gratitude The whole family, harmonious and devout. Aware of debts to our parents and ancestors. Revering Nature, grateful for society. Always humble, learning from others. Able to give, demonstrating kindness. Making one's motto: "A bright life." Overlooking other's faults, correcting one's own. Moderate in speech, not getting angry. Gentle, kind, honest. Let's appreciate the joy of life. Patient. Peaceful. Not getting angry. Careful in speech. This leads to a long life. --Soen Ozeki

New Year 2010 Calendar

Happy New Year 2010For the past 4 or 5 years I been putting together my New Years calendar. I usually spend the day after Christmas, rushing around looking for photos from the previous year to assemble into a one-year view calendar. Then I email it to my printer to get hard copies to hand out (in lieu of Christmas cards). This year I am doing the same thing but will a slightly different twist. I posted the calendar in its original 3.7Mb .jpg file format to Flickr, Posterous, Tumblr,, and here. Not that everyone is out there rushing to get my calendar but in the off chance that I miss giving you one of the hardcopy versions (on card stock, glossy paper) you can print your very own. You might wonder why I am posting to so many places. I just find it interesting how these different services are positioning themselves and the best way to learn what they are doing is to try them. I've reactivated my blog since I now can not only post there from Posterous but also directly from Tweetie 2, the popular Twitter client for the iPhone. It's microblogging meets mega-blogging, to coin a term from Matt Mullenweg. Just a little background on the calendar. I try to find photos which help depict the 5 basic Chinese elements: Wood, Metal, Fire, Water and Earth. The flower arrangement has elements of wood, water and metal (the kenzan), the sunrise is fire and water and the waterfall at Nualolo on Kauai is earth and water. Mochi is for the cuteness factor which isn't one of the 5 basic elements but a requirement for my calendar nevertheless.

Life after SXSW

The vibrance and excitement of SXSW was intoxicating. When I got back last week Wed (3/18). I hit the road running going into the office, sharing cool finds from SXSW, doing the Bytemarks Cafe radio show that evening. Then on Thursday it was the Andy Bumatai show and on Friday it was working on getting Sunni Brown over to Hawaii for a management team presentation. By Friday afternoon, I was feeling the wheels starting to wobble. It started as a headache and a fever. I thought maybe a weekend of rest would do it. But no sooner did the weekend start, it ended. Monday (3/23) was staring me in the face. Sunni Brown was sick (like I was) and made a good decision to fly from Austin to Hawaii on Monday. We talked about it over the weekend and I totally understood. If it was me I would have done the same thing. Suffice it to say it added to my stress level. We found a substitute graphic recorder and had her flown in from the Big Island. Tuesday was back to back meetings going over the executive presentations with our team and the new graphic recorder Suzanne London. Lots of prep work went into capturing the 2-thirty minute presentations. On Wed morning I (with the help of my fellow teammates) schlep over two cameras and tripods. The presentations go without a hitch although the graphic recording wasn't up to the standard set by Sunni. But that's life. Wed afternoon is another Bytemarks Cafe with Alex Ho and Briana Acosta in the studio talking about FRIST Robotics. Thursday (3/26 ) is an all day Health2.0 Conference held at the Kahala Hotel. Very interesting day of presentations, panels and break out sessions on the topic of telemedicine, present and future. Thursday night culminated in the quasi-monthly Manoa Geeks which had 70+ people converge on the Honolulu Advertiser building to geek out on tech talk and pizza. That brings me to today, Friday 3/27, my day to make a presentation to coworkers entitled: Digital You: LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. By this time my throat is killing me and I am drinking cough medicine every 12 hours. I am told that I will have at least 70 people in attendance and a bunch of last minute show ups. My voice has lost all its projection but the subject matter is my passion and I am hoping that comes through. @Lavagal is in the audience giving me support. I wanted to spend most of my time talking about Twitter but when I looked at the clock it was already 12:45 when I ended the section on FB. I should have timed it better. I start going over the basics of Twitter, microblogging and the 140 character limitation. I then talk about personal branding and about some of the popular Twitter celebrities that have changed their handle to better suit their "brand". As I talk about Neenz, who went from @infinitypro to @neenz, low and behold I get a tweet from Neenz. I am totally humbled and tell everybody that is the power of Twitter. It even facilitates  psychic connections! Cold or no cold, that made my day and week. Life is like that. It deals out a set of cards and it is up to you to make something out of it. If you look back and feel you have lived every moment to its fullest, with no regrets, you then turn around and go forward with the same conviction. Ichi-go ichi-e, each moment is "one chance in a lifetime." Makes life such a fun path to be on.

Off to Iraq

Saturday KadoThis past Saturday's zazen (sitting meditation) and kado was both ordinary and extraordinary. I saw a fellow zen person, who I will call Ted (to protect his identity), getting ready to leave the dojo. Being relatively new to the place, he thought there was a regular zazen class in the main dojo. Since we are in a modified schedule I told him there wasn't a class today but that we were doing our own sit in an adjacent room and invited him to attend. The routine is straightforward, zazen for about 30 minutes and then do kado, flower arrangement. We did our sit and proceeded with the kado class. Ted decided to hang around. He didn't do any flower arrangement but we did talk about his interest in zen and meditation. As it turns out in the next month he will be deployed to Iraq. I have met a few people who've been deployed to Iraq but Ted was the first I had met as a result of zen. This deployment was his third, each one being 13 to 15 months. He must not have been more than 25 years old. I looked at him with quiet astonishment. To think of being put in harms way not just one time but three times for durations of more than a year is unimaginable. To quell my fears I commented that I hope he is not on the front lines, honestly not knowing if Iraq even has front lines. Perhaps just being there is being in the front line. Ted said his work is usually at camp and conceded you never know when a mortar shell might be lobbed into you. Through all his military training and field experience he has also incorporated zazen as way to prepare for battle. He spoke of learning more about mindfulness and meditation and that people and events have pointed him in this direction. My kado arrangement, as shown in the photo, was ordinary. There is always work I can do to improve its balance and ki'ai (energy). What was extraordinary was the confluence of events that brought us together for the shared experience. I left Saturday morning feeling alive. I said goodbye to Ted and hoped to see him again before his deployment and reminded myself of mindfulness and life in every breath.