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One afternoon late in the fall several years ago I found myself in California heading north on Highway 395 along the east side of the High Sierras. I stopped at an isolated place in the middle of nowhere called Manzanar, a now deserted, barren, former WWII Japanese interment camp.

It is a strange foreboding place and very quiet. The peaks of the Sierras, just a few miles away, reach heights of nearly fifteen thousand feet, and in the dusk are vaguely similar in appearance to the Himalayas. I saw a man, a very strange man, walking from the mountains toward the highway. As he passed by we exchanged greetings. Then he stopped for a moment and turned back. Except for a small canvas bag over his shoulder he was dressed like what I would call regular and looked regular...no special hiking gear, protective clothing, or other things you would expect for a person seemingly hiking in the mountains in the middle of nowhere.

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He kneeled down, dug a small hole in the dirt with his hands, put a circle of stones around it, made a tiny little fire from some sort of candle like thing he was carrying in his bag and in a few minutes the two of us were sharing hot tea and conversation.

In a short time it came up we were both interested in Zen. Several hours passed, it was getting dark, and I had to go. I asked if he needed a ride and he said although we were on the same path he was going in a different direction. For some reason I gave him my email address and we parted company.

Several days later I was returning south and again came upon Manzanar. Hoping to possibly see the man again I pulled in and got out. As before the place was strangely quiet, and except for the small circle of stones still around the fire pit, there was no sign of the man and no sign of us ever having been there. All the way down 395 toward Los Angeles I hoped to see the man walking along the highway, but never did. Then a year or so ago I received an email with a link to a webpage. Reading the page I recognized it as being about the man I met over tea that day.

That man: the Wanderling, his webpage: ZEN ENLIGHTENMENT: The Path Unfolds.

The above message was written, posted and signed by:






As a young boy growing up I loved Leonardo Da Vinci,
astronomy, the cosmos,_ rockets to the Moon and Mars,
Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, along with comic books
and all cowboy western movie stars such as Gene Autry,
the Durango Kid (in the photo above), and Roy Rogers.



Buddha said: Subhuti, all the Bodhisattva-Heroes should discipline their thoughts as follows: All living creatures of whatever class, born from eggs, from wombs, from moisture, or by transformation, whether with form or without form, whether in a state of thinking or exempt from thought-necessity, or wholly beyond all thought realms-all these are caused by Me to attain Unbounded Liberation Nirvana. Yet when vast, uncountable, immeasurable numbers of beings have thus been liberated, verily no being has been liberated. Why is this, Subhuti? It is because no Bodhisattva who is a real Bodhisattva cherishes the idea of an ego-entity, a personality, a being, or a separated individuality.

Continuing in a similar vein, the first defeat of the Four Defeats of the Bodhisattva Dharma states:

The first specific condition which leads to the defeat of the Bodhicitta is the tendency to praise oneself and to slander others. If the Bodhisattva loses his Maha-karuna, he is no longer willing to profit others at his own expense. Being solely concerned with his own name and fame, he loses respect in the eyes of family, friends and society.(source)

As for liberating uncountable, immeasurable numbers of beings or if it is possible or not, see the comments on the subject by the Sixth Patriarch of Ch'an Buddhism (Zen), Hui Neng:

When it comes to teachers, gurus, masters, mentors and so on, there are those that insist on or only consider such things as Lineage and who and what others of credible status may think, and in many cases, justifiably so. In my case, for a hint, access the links below then scroll down to the Wanderling:

Also, by going to the Google search engine for example, and typing in the word wanderling, the Google Web Directory as well as DMOZ and others such as the Data Segment Web Directory, etc., the following comes up under the Open Directory Project category, which you can click through here: society >religion >spirituality >buddhism >zen >teachers and masters and lists the following:

The Wanderling-http://www.angelfire.com/electronic/awakening101/ZenEnlighten01.html
Anonymous self-proclaimed Zen Master. Founder of Awakening 101.

While it would be an accurate statement to say that I am truly most grateful and humbled to be included and listed in such prestigious internet resources as the ones above, surrounded on the list by many extraodinarily impressive teachers and masters of the Dharma, it is not quite accurate to say that I am a "self-proclaimed Zen Master." So saying on two counts because, first, if one were to actually go to AWAKENING 101, the following quote, which is mine, appears on the very first page:

"Being neither teacher nor guru, and since from the first not a thing is, the most one can do is to offer a glimpse or help point the way. In the end it resides in you"

Second, by accessing the link suggested above by the directories and reading through to Page Two, you would come to the following, which includes a link to The Unmanifested SAT that investigates the so called TWELVE YEAR RULE: True or False? that some say one must meet in any quest toward Enlightenment, and that just happened to be met by the Wanderling:

"...at age 31, after an intermittent slow start followed by twelve years of serious practice, because, for the lack of anything else to call it, the bottom of eternity consciousness literally broke through, and thus therefore, the equivalent of Inka Shomei, the Seal of Approval, at the Fourth Level (ken-chu-shi), was graciously accorded me by the person from which I sought guidence; he himself, having experienced Full Realization under the grace and light of Sri Ramana Maharshi some thirty-nine years earlier, also at the age of 31." (source)

The Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi is universally accepted and recognized as being fully Awakened to the Absolute, while my own Mentor, who studied under Ramana and who inturn I studied under (as well as the venerated Japanese Zen master, Yasutani Hakuun Roshi, without much success I might add --- followed with somewhat better results under the mysterious American Zen master, Alfred Pulyan) is well documented and known throughout literature and various writings.

It is often said that when you truly need a teacher --- or that which will function in lieu of a teacher --- one (or it) will appear. This may due to some inexplicable serendipity. It may be due to the fact that the seeker has searched deeply within himself or herself and determined what sort of instruction seems to be required. It could be swept over him or her like the First Death Experience of the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, or the Bhagavan's little known Second Death Experience. Or it could be a spiritual desperation on the part of the seeker, or maybe no more than a successful sales pitch by a teacher (sincere or not). It may be a combination of the previous factors, or some intuitive awareness beyond expression. For whatever the reason, the saying often applies and the coming together of the results of inner and outside forces, some within one's control, some without, can be found most eloquently as they all come together in the following:


It should be noted that Adam Osborne, who, as a young boy grew up at the Ramana ashram and the son of one of the foremost Ramana biographers Arthur Osborne, played a prominent role in the Last American Darshan as linked above.

Third, as to being Anonymous, the following is offered:

"Tom, Dick, and Harry think they have written the books that they sign (or painted the pictures, composed the music, built the churches). But they exaggerate. It was a pen that did it, or some other implement. They held the pen? Yes, but the hand that held the pen was an implement too, and the brain that controlled the hand. They were intermediaries, instruments, just apparatus. Even the best apparatus does not need a personal name like Tom, Dick, or Harry." (source)

Speaking of my mentor, along the same lines as the above, and that I am in full agreement with, I like what William Somerset Maugham wrote about him in The Razor's Edge:

"He has no desire for fame. To become anything of a public figure would be deeply distasteful to him; and so it may be that he is satisfied to lead his chosen life and be no more than just himself. He is too modest to set himself up as an example to others; but it may be he thinks that a few uncertain souls, drawn to him like moths to a candle, will be brought in time to share his own glowing belief that ultimate satisfaction can only be found in the life of the spirit, and that by himself following with selflessness and renunciation the path of perfection he will serve as well as if he wrote books or addressed multitudes."

There is NO excessive over-concern on MY part in regards to anything that others may say, write, or think about me one way or the other EXCEPT how anything offered might adversely affect a seeker along the path. Hundreds and hundreds of pages are presented through my offerings, many, many of them written by others with a wide range of views, and NO claim is made by me for any work not done by me specifically. Authors and sources, when available, are always cited. Although the main thrust of what is offered is "Zen outside the Doctrine" you will find pages and pages of viewpoints that run the gamut, allowing YOU to formulate your own decisions one way or the other regarding important Zen and Dharma related issues. See Critical Concerns With Awakening 101 as well as More Critical Concerns With Awakening 101 as well as:


Fundamentally, our experience as experienced is not different from the Zen master's. Where
we differ is that we place a fog, a particular kind of conceptual overlay onto that experience
and then make an emotional investment in that overlay, taking it to be "real" in and of itself.


People DO write me and email me about Enlightenment, AWAKENING 101, and any results thereof that are not all critical as found in the Critical Concerns and Another View links above. Actually, some are quite positive. To read a couple of the latest click HERE. In either case, the following is from Hui-k'o, the Second Patriarch of Zen, and of which the gist of I am in agreement with:

Hui-k'o, the Second Patriarch of Zen passed on the bowl and robe to his successor, the Third Patriarch, Seng-ts'an, signifying the Transmission of the Dharma. Hui-k'o, who had received the seal of approval from Bodhidharma himself, then went everywhere drinking and carousing around like a wildman and partaking in the offerings of the brothel districts. When people asked how he could do such a thing, being a Patriarch of the Zen school and all, he would respond with: "What business is it of yours?"


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"Real Masters never charge for their services, nor do they accept payment in any form
nor in any sort of material benefits for their instructions. This is a universal law among
Masters, and yet amazingly, it is a fact that thousands of eager seekers in America and
elsewhere, go on paying large amounts of money for "spiritual instruction." Masters are
always self-sustaining and are never supported by their students or by public charity."

---Julian P. Johnson, The Path of the Masters (1939)






THE FOLLOWING FROM: Chuang-Tzu And The Chinese Ancestry of Ch'an Buddhism:

Man became separated from the Tao as he developed consciousness, through which he came to hate death and love life, and constantly shifted between emotional and intellectual extremes. To remedy this situation, rather than making choices, he should identify with all, as all is the Tao, and "make all things equal," forgetting himself and the world by "sitting in oblivion". Once freed from the Fetters of categorial thinking, he will mentally dissolve into Hun-tun, after which there will be no more right and wrong, and with the Death of the Ego no more death and life. Man will then become fully at-one with the Tao and able to enjoy everything just as it is. This is the true freedom of man, the free and easy wandering of the first chapter of the Chuang-Tzu:

The mind can then roam through the universe in cosmic excursion, but it is also perfectly suited to dealing with everyday realities. The true man is always one in what he does, his mere presence benefits the age. He has a human face, but is actually filled with the emptiness of Heaven; acting like everyone else, he never gets entangled.

When Chuang-Tzu talked about the Great Tao, he used the analogy of the P'eng bird and the quail. Because the P'eng bird's way of life is untrammeled, it loses all particular direction in the realms beyond the body. But because the quail, on the other hand,lives in the near and scoffs at the far, there is a certain complacency in the realm within its mind.

If one has a desire to fulfill one's own contentment, and to be content with one's own contentment, such a person in his happiness has something akin to natural simplicity...like a hungry man, once he is satiated, or like a thirsty man, once his thirst is quenched. But would such a one forthwith forget all about cooking and eating in the presence of grains and cereals, or put an end to all further toasting and pledging in the presence of wines and liquors? Unless it is perfect contentment, how can it be a means to free wandering?

Therefore real satisfaction, ultimate happiness, has to go beyond the limits of one's needs, one's instincts, one's inborn nature. Neither the P'eng bird nor the quail reach that. Chuang-Tzu states that even though these two birds follow their in-born nature, they still rely on something. True freedom, however, is non-reliance (wu-tai) .

The perfect man, riding upon the truth of Heaven, soars aloft, wandering infinitely in unfettered freedom. Being mystically in communion with the universe, he does not act purposefully. He is not hurried, yet he moves swiftly. Therefore in his freedom he goes everywhere. This is how it becomes 'free wandering'.



The Buddha's Meeting With Upaka, the Wandering Ascetic

In the early 1940s cartoonist Will Eisner created a comic book character he called The Spirit. He was not like other crime fighters or superheros of the day. He had no special powers, and except for the mask, no gadgets or even his own vehicle. Also, unlike most comic book heros, he wasn't always the winner in the end. More than anything the Spirit could be defined as a common citizen fighting for his rights and the rights of others. The Wanderling is like that in that the Dharma endeavors that thus come have within their intent none other than the right escort.