Author: John Pendall

Koan Quest Across the West. {2nd Entry}

  By Johnathan Pendall   *See First Entry here. The Journey Begins August 6th 7:01 p.m. It was surreal being at the Mendota train station and watching my future cling and clang down the tracks. The moment was pregnant with possibility; that soft shimmer that races through us when we’re entering into the unknown. The train grinded to a stop, I walked up to one of the attendants and told him that I had a sleeper car. “You have to hurry,” he said, “We’re only stopping for a few minutes.” I turned to Mom, put down my bags and...

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Koan Quest Across the West. {1st Entry}

    By Johnathan Pendall   Preface I am not the man I was when I left though I’ve also never been more the man that I’ve always been. Yeah, that was kinda confusing. That’s what koans do—they confuse the intellect. They’re like a madman with a sledgehammer, breaking down our concepts and beliefs into pieces. Then it breaks down those pieces into pieces, and those pieces’ pieces into pieces until there’s just dust. Then it sucks up the dust with a vacuum and then launches the bag into outer space to be consumed by a supernova. August 2015...

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Death & Mourning Nothingness.

By Johnathon Pendall Death. It’s a subject that we never want to talk about, but how we feel about it shapes the way we live our lives. Some of us are introduced to death at a young age when a grandparent or beloved pet passes away. Yet for many of us, the most pungent encounters seem to begin when we’re in our 20’s or 30’s. From then on, death seems to follow us; taking away all that we love one by one until finally coming for us. Sickness, old age, and death are eventualities; along with losing what we...

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Work is Play: The Zen Concept of Mindful Working.

  By Johnathon Pendall   Hyakujo said, “A day without work is a day without food.” Such is the dedication, discipline and earnestness that we imbue when approaching samu. Samu is the Zen practice of mindful working. Hyakujo approached samu with such zeal that when his students said, “Teacher! You have to slow down! You’re too elderly and frail to keep working like this. Let us do the chores while you relax,” he replied, “No work, no eating!” So his students let him carry on so that he didn’t starve himself. Now that might be a little extreme by...

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What is Mental Illness & Why are We So Reluctant to Talk About It?

  By Liwa Nim (John Pendall)   While it’s true that the mentally ill are no longer locked away in dungeons, our culture is still far from accepting how normal abnormality really is. 50 percent of the United States population will develop a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lives. That is a staggering number! This means that most of us either know or will know someone who suffers from a mental illness. Even though so many people are touched by mental illness, it’s still a taboo subject. I suffered from major depression, social phobia and panic...

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