Buddhism on Riverside Drive

With a Vital Message from D. T. Suzuki


Photo Credit: diogenesii.wordpress.com/tag/genocide/ (Search Shinran Shonin)

Complete text was excerpted from diogenesii.wordpress.com/tag/genoside:

Unlike most of the buildings in Hiroshima, the bronze figure of Shinran Shonin (1173–1263) — the Japanese Buddhist monk who founded Jodo Shinshu (Shin) Buddhism — miraculously survived the devastation. The 15-foot statue had stood 2.5 kilometers northwest from the hypocenter of the detonation of the atomic bomb. It depicts Shinran Shonin in his missionary travel robe as he appeared most of his life propagating the doctrine he developed to reveal the one unobstructed way through which one can become awakened.
Closeup of the face of the Shinran statue.
Closeup of the face of the Shinran statue.

In 1955, the statue was removed from the Hiroshima park, packed into an enormous wooden crate, and shipped to New York City, where it was presented to the New York Buddhist Church on Riverside Drive near 106th Street in Manhattan as a testament to the devastation of the atomic bomb as well as a symbol for hope and world peace.

On 11 September 1955, just over ten years after the bombing of Hiroshima, D. T. Suzuki — one of the most influential figures in introducing Zen Buddhism to the West — gave an eloquent keynote address at the statue’s unveiling ceremony. In this address, I think Suzuki best answers the question, “Why?”, that I began with:
The present state of things as we are facing everywhere politically, economically, morally, intellectually, and spiritually is no doubt the result of our past thoughts and deeds we have committed as human beings through[out] the whole length of history, through aeons of existence, not only individually but collectively — let me repeat, collectively. As such, we are, every one of us, responsible for the present world situation filled with [its] awesome forebodings. The bombing of Hiroshima was not, after all, the doing of the American armies, but the doing of mankind as a whole, and as such, we, not only the Japanese and Americans but the whole world, are to be held responsible for the wholesale slaughter witnessed ten years ago….
As far as I can see, [we must find] the living Shonin who is surely among us answering to the call of his name; only we have not been able to hear his response, our ears have not yet been fully opened innerly as well as outwardly to [that] still small voice….
We must realize that modern civilization is thoroughly oriented towards dehumanizing humanity in every possible way; that is to say, we are fast turning into robots or statues with no human souls. Our task is to get humanized once more.
The statue stands a few blocks from Columbia University, where much of the atomic bomb program began.











Idea Man

 

I like to think of myself as an “Idea Man”. No. Make that . . .  I am an idea man.

But, please, not the actual guy who does the actual work. More like, “Hey, look at that poop over there. I have an idea! Why don’t YOU pick it up?”

And, speaking of poop, remember that fellow who came up with the concept Evacuated Tube Transport. How’s that for your scatological reference. He’s self-described idea man, Elon Musk. He came up with a thing he calls the Hyperloop. Short story, it’s a vehicle/system that shoots you at ultra-high speed from here to there in no time flat in a tube underground. Maybe send you to perdition if it jams. Just saying.

Mr. Musk was asked if he was going to build his Hyperloop. “No.”  You see, he’s just the idea man. (There’s a lot to say about Mr. Musk. But this is not about him. It’s about ME. Look him up yourself if you want.)

That’s the kind of idea man I aspire to be. And, be famous for being so. Which reminds me; you don’t ever get to be famous for just being. Well, maybe except Kim Kardashian. But, you can get famous for being A This or A That. Being is your ground. It’s your birthright. Everybody’s. It’s worth looking into. That is, besides all the busyness of becoming, getting, going, doing, leaving, and avoiding. And so on, ad nauseam.

Anyway . . . So, here’s my idea:

You know how we now have devices in our pockets and purses, on our wrists, to make a telephone call. And, stuff. Funny, I still use the term “telephone”. Well that’s where it all started with Mr. Bell’s fine invention. We now even have such things to wear as eye glasses. Soon, maybe, we’ll have implants into our bodies which will enable us to do the same things as these ever more miniaturizing devices enable us to do. Similar to how the very concept of “screen” started with a peep hole in some ancient bath house, then to the theater, fast forward to the modern era with television, computer screen, smartphone, smart watch, Google Glass . . .

Again, can it be that far off when we’ll just see it in front of our faces projected out of our visual neural cortex enabled by that bug you’ll have stuck up in you. For a price. And, a new upgrade will be available soon.

You think that’s far-fetched? Then you may have more than an implant — ahem, bug — up yours.

OK. OK. Here’s my idea:

If you extrapolate the technology for the so called 3-D Printer, it’s just a matter of time before the device gets small enough and affordable enough for mass hoi polloi enjoyment. Besides that hand held device in your pocket or purse (or, like I said, up yours) how about a little device you can easily carry to make things you need right on the spot.

Let me reiterate . . . a simple affordable personal device which is loaded with software that enables you to materialize things right on the spot.

Of course, in the long evolutionary view of the human species, surely there will be a time when we take the quantum step completely away from devices of all kinds. Just wishing makes it so. Heady stuff? Yes?

But, the latter possibility should not — probably . . . no, make that definitely not — be available given the present level of human consciousness. It would take no time at all to assured mutual self-extinction of the human race if everyone, or even a few, had the wherewithal to conjure anything at all, any time at all. I’ll see your bomb. And raise you a bigger bomb! No one would ever have to go all in. Just a game of ever increasing stakes. No end to the complications which would ensue. So, no. We won’t be seeing that any time soon. Besides, to have the siddhi to materialize things at will, you’d have to have a good and pure heart. And, if you read the news, who has one of those?

I’m just thinking of something portable with which you could make something useful. I don’t know why, but “coffee cup” keeps coming to mind. Of course! Instead of the same old cup, or same old selection of cups, make a brand spanking new creation every morning. You’d think the cups would just keep mounting up and pretty soon you have to move to a new house. Not to worry. What the device gives, it also can take away. Yes! Mirabile Dictu! Press a button and that thing you just manifested, will de-manifest. No more dirty dishes to clean up. Presto! Poof! Imagine the potential for pranks.

It doesn’t have to end with a coffee cup. For example. Opportunity presents itself, you’re not prepared. No problem. Type in “ultra-thin sensitive and ribbed for her pleasure” and you’re good to go. She’ll be delightfully surprised. OK, females. (I eschew the word “ladies” since I am an enlightened and sensitive New Age guy who would definitely pay equal wages and never looks below the chin.)

It maybe doesn’t have to stop with material objects. “I’m feeling like some lobster ravioli drizzled with the finest Tuscan olive oil, liberally garnished with shaved white truffles.” But, it’ll be just like when you do an Internet search (is it too soon to just say “Google”) and you have to enter “le mot juste” to get what you’re really looking for. You will have to specify in what form you want your amuse bouche. On a plate? Hot? Or, in a sealed bag since you’re all up into sous vide and other kitchen wonders. Speaking of which, do you want any component as a foam? Or, foam something else as a garni? Or, with a foodstuff never before heard of except in some remote region, but is soon to be all the rage in the swellest restaurants and best kitchens. Click the “AMAZING” box for that option.

Not to concern. The software will be designed to take you seamlessly and quickly through the permutations. I can’t say more. High tech, you know. It’s not for the average person. Just one word to give you a hint . . . “Algorithm.”

I know what you’ll probably ask right about now. Where will all this stuff come from? Good question.

But . . . Hey!

Remember what I said!

I’m the idea man!

Why don’t YOU go and figure it out!

And, I have another idea for you. Take out the garbage!

PS . . .  

Congratulations. I’m amazed that you’ve made it to the end. My lovely granddaughter reported after reading one of my stories, “You talk too much.” Well, little darling, that’s why they call it “Wronski’s Wramblings”. You don’t get on a rocket ship to the Moon if all’s you want to do is to go into town and do a little shopping.

And, since you’ve made it to the end, you get a special treat. It’s my DVD with a list of ideas which you yourself can make come true. And  . . . you’re welcome.

Just send a check made out to C.A.S.H. in the amount of $100 to cover shipping and handling.







TAXING CAB STORIES



It all started innocently enough. 

With a joke. Well, the joke isn't so innocent. But it made me recall something. 

But, first, the humor . . . 

Cab driver: “There’s something that I’ve been wanting to ask, but I don’t want to offend you.”

Nun: “I'm sure that there's nothing you could say, or ask, that I would find offensive."

"Well, I've always had a fantasy to have a nun kiss me."

Nun responds: "Well, let's see what we can do about that: #1, you have to be single and #2, you must be Catholic."

The cab driver is very excited and says, "Yes, I'm single. And, I’m Catholic!"

"OK," the nun says. "Pull into the next alley."

The nun fulfills his fantasy; with a kiss that would make a hooker blush.

But when they get back on the road, the cab driver starts crying.

"My dear child," says the nun, "why are you crying?"

"Forgive me but I've sinned. I lied and I must confess, I'm married and I'm Jewish."

The nun says, "That's OK. My name is Kevin and I'm going to a Halloween party."


______________________________________


Now, for the story. 

It's about my cousin Stashu Vaselko Wronski. "Stuvash" is his nickname. He drives a taxi in New York City. He is what, in that trade anyhow, is known as a professional. As you get to know him in this little homage you'll see what I mean.



That's him in the photo, alright. But, he didn't have that aforementioned encounter with the nun. Not that I know of, anyway. 


He drives a 1965 Checker. Pristine condition, even though it takes a beating in the mean streets. He runs his business like a limo service. You have to book ahead. Big deal, huh? Yes, I should say. At $100 just to get into the cab. $5 bucks per quarter mile after that. You have to be somebody to book his rig. Or, somebody who wants to be somebody.

He's had his encounters, nevertheless. The back seat of his taxi cab is rather large. His vehicle of choice is the venerable Checker. It was purpose built to be a taxicab. Big and square. Lots of passenger room. Easy to get in and out. And, out of production since 1982. Its design is similar to that of cars in the late 1940s. Beefy and bulletproof. Heavy body over frame arrangement. Soft suspension. Slow brakes. Practical. Solid. Alas, now, old fashioned. 


But, people of a certain generation wax nostalgic for those old behemoths. That's where Stuvash comes in. 



How it all started is a modern miracle. 


According to Cousin Stuvash, he had a visitor. Not the BVM. THE Visitor. The Son Himself! A blessing, if you will. For him, and his taxi. Jesus Christ! No, really. Jesus Christ!



Needless to say, no charge for the Savior of Mankind. Thank you, Jesus! You've already paid enough.

Soon after that he had fares from several who, you might say, were bone fide friends of Our Lord.



Not only a big tipper; but, you should see what she left under the seat. He had no idea a solid gold bullion bar weighed so much.

Of course, things can be relied upon to change. 

His career developed quickly. Many local dignitaries were early adopters.


Per Stuvash. No. That is not a squirrel pelt on top of the Trumpmeister's keppe.


Even the titular "Lord of the Bronx", his nibs Baron Ambrosia, booked for an entire evening for a Bronx Borough Pub Crawl. More like a Pernil Prowl. Stopping unexpectedly more than once for an impromptu game of Catch the Cuchifrito with some local homeboys.


Big Al was a regular for 30 Rock drop-off and pick-up. The guy had a side gig selling weather paraphernalia. And, yes, he is always perky. "Can't get enough."And, speaking of 30 Rock . . . Saturday evenings were reliably sure to catch some interesting fares.


She's dispensing God's JUSTICE right here on earth.


Reliably cranked and wired. 


He made all the party stops.



Everyone's favorite heart throb. 


He had a standing order most mornings to pick up Stephen Colbert at the Port Authority when he comes to NYC in the wee hours from his New Jersey abode. "What a Diva! Always travels with an entourage: Manicurist. Assistant to read the newspaper. Some big guy who looks like a trained attack dog. And, always munching on a breakfast burrito. Talks with his mouth full."

Oh, yah! They picked the right guy to sell pistachios. What a nut!"

Visiting glitterati would book way ahead. 


"I took Ms. Hilton to . . . where else? . . . to the Hilton." Laughed Cousin Stuvash. (Nice "headlights!" Yes?) Woof!


"The guy said he was Robert Goulet. Sure sounded like him. Ouch!"


If you knew where she wanted to go. Downtown. Way down. Oy! Slumming. Cute as can be, though.


I don't know if the Funny F*cker in the back is still her fan. Stu is. Obviously! Mini Klieg lights? Really? 

Anyway, they both like the sweeties. Even though that chatty one has more of an Anglo-centric taste. 

By the way. You know, don't you? Twinkies are back!

That old Checker sometimes would go into TaxiCabTimeTravel mode. Stuvash said it was his "Purgatory", soul cleansing karma to prepare a sinner to be worthy to hang with JC in the afterlife. 


Precious Cargo.


Two peas in a pod. They talked, and talked. Yes, he WAS talking to him.


He lives!


Got milk!


"He said, 'Whatever' a whole lot."

Sought after by the euro-trash, world class assholes, and preening-prancy-prancersons.


The flowers were for Stuvash. QUELLE SURPRISE! But, he demurred. 


Not really all that interesting, according to Cousin Stuvash.


SHE was NOT amused. Probably will be seen in that getup soon, however. Stuvash was a muse to many. Also, amusing. To some.


Lewis Black is really a rather colorful fellow. Off stage, anyhow. 


The job did present some interesting ironies every now and then. He didn't care for the decor.


That suggestion pissed him off.  He said he didn't want a pillow to sit on. 

He took more than his share of sh*t. 


That aspiring funny girl is seen here giving Stuvash her best estimate of the size of his Little Stuvash. B-I-T-C-H! "Talk to the hand, girlie."


Those two! Don't even let's get into that.   


Live and let live. But, that philosophy can get you into some awkward situations.




Cousin is not into politics. But, he couldn't help a little show of national Polish pride for Mr. V. Putinski. And, Pup.




He is the darling of the fashionistocracy. He never disappoints. They got a "fabulous" ride. "Amazing!!!" "Just to die for." 


And, lot's of ideas to take back to the atelier. He was, after all, quite a-muse-ing. (Next Spring, look for Exotic-Birds-in-Hawaii motifs. Featured in Vogue, and on the runway.)


He upon occasion picked up rides going to the bizarro part of town.




They say art imitates life. But, as Stuvash would sometimes say, "Are you kidding me?"  But, Stuvash comes prepared. 



Things aren't always what they appear to be. Going to a performance, already in makeup? In this theater town, if might be. 


Or . . . worst! 




He made quite an impression. Quoting Beelzebub with his blistering breath verbatim, that doyen of the deepest dark, that ruler and dean of the most dastardly cohorts of depravity, that prince of all that blasphemes the every smallest good thing . . . 

This is what he said: 


"You want to know what hell is? I'll tell you, boy!" 


"Hell is a place where NOBODY knows your name, or gives a good f**k anyway. And, where EVERYBODY you see has YOUR FACE." 


"Holy Cow!" Stuvash blurted out. 


And then this capper comes from Satan's hot lips, "That's right, Sonny. And, that's on a GOOD day!"


"Gee wiz!" murmured dear Cousin.


"And . . . Now YOU belong to ME!!!" demanded Satan with all the haughty confidence only such a damnable deceiver could muster.


Stuvash is anything if not on his toes.  And, not to be trifled or messed with. 


He yelled right back, "Get out of my cab you damned melodramatic red mother f**ker!!! I have a choice where my soul's concerned. Now get!!! 


"TIPSCH PSA CREF HOLETTA, YASNI PIORUN CHAZ. GODDAM SONOFABITCH!!!" (That there is an old world, full blooded expletive which is in fact so rude no one fluent in the Polish tongue even knows what it means.)



Woof! And . . . Whew! DOG! 


And . . . Woof!!! 

Serendipitously, these three lovelies were off to a small private party at the St. Regis, and this was Stuvash's last fare at the end of his shift. He tagged along. Came home with a smile that lasted for days.


When it rains, it pours. 

Stuvash is anything, if not Polish. Like folks of every descent he embodies some — really all(!) in his case  of the stereotypical traits of his lineage. He's got a chronic case of round shoulders. And, a flat forehead. Turns out the explanation is all too obvious. When you ask Cousin a question, he invariably shrugs his shoulders. When you tell him the answer, he reliably will slap his forehead. Like the Grand Canyon, a river flows and, over time, things set in.

Also, he's so typical in his thinking. He figures if he takes three of those little blue pills, he's good for 12 hours before any need to call for medical assistance. Maybe even 13 hours. Or, so.


Then there's always the down side. Not without its anxious moments. BEEP! BEEP!


Of all the dames, in of all towns, she had to get into his cab. She was most noticeably in a class by herself. Woof! And . . . Woof!


 Well, that's enough for one night. 

If you see Stuvash driving by, flag him down. Don't bother to mention me. You won't get any better. Like I said, he's a professional. Consistent top shelf service only. 


Here's something Cousin Stashu V. wanted to share with you all . . .