The Great Flood, Part 3

In September 26, 2009, my housemate Mary and I were flooded out of our home in the subdivision of Xavierville I, Quezon City in Metro Manila. Now, a little over a year later, a typhoon has just struck the Philippines, but at least 200 miles to the north. I’m high and dry in my second-floor study in Xavierville II, which was not flooded last year. Still I’m monitoring Typhoon Megi—called Juan locally—and empathizing with its victims in Baguio.

When I was in the States this summer, I went to an outdoor theater with some friends. Right before intermission, the … Read More

Sitting above the Green Elephant, Part 1

On a gray, wet day during the summer season of 1989, I took a cab up the steep hill to the Seoul campus of the Dongguk University. The name, approximately a rhyme with “sung book,” was derived from Chinese dong guo, or Eastern country, which to me meant Bodhidharma bringing Zen Buddhism to East Asia. The temple and shaven-headed monks in traditional monk’s clothes reminded me of China, where I had been happy and content. Also, nine years before I had begun flirting with meditation practice, reading books and occasionally talking with someone. I longed for more, but had … Read More