By way of a celebratory retrospective, I am going to take a dip into the stats again, which I still like to check and do find constantly enlightening, particularly the search keywords people use to arrive at this blog, and also the sites they come from.
Who would guess for example, that the ino's blog would be found on this list:
Apart from the fact that the name of the site makes we want to whistle that rousing hymn "Online Christian Colleges", I wonder if there is an Buddhist blog somewhere with a list of the best fifty Christian blogs, and I somehow suspect that there isn't.
Regular readers will know about the whole 'ino's desire' malarkey. Here are some other gems from the last few weeks:
'stress ino' - well, there is no denying that stress does play a part in my life as ino from time to time.
'inos coffee' - the same goes for coffee, yes, but not to the extent that I am marketing my own brand.
'aufgabe des ino beim sesshin' and 'als ino auf sesshin' tells me that a German-speaking counterpart, perhaps much stressed, came for help in knowing what they had to do for a sesshin - and Germany is the number one non-English-speaking country in terms of visitors, stats fans.
'stop sitting cross-legged' and 'full lotus relaxing' make for an interesting combination. It makes me wonder why people are looking for some of these things online, let alone on this blog.
"sudden enlightenment" - the quotation marks here are in the original enquiry, which could signify a lot of things, but the implied distance between self and object suggests that the person is merely googling it and is not actualising it.
'lurching feeling when falling asleep' may be the way to attain the sudden enlightenment. I remember several conversations at Tassajara where we debated whether the internal mechanism that generally stops you from toppling over on the cushion, though not always, was the same as the "person of no rank" - you must remember that sources of entertainment at the monastery are severely limited.
Some of the searches make sense only in a certain context. The answer you would find here to the question 'what's the height of the moon ?' would of course be "the depth of the drop", as that is what Dogen tells us in the 'Genjo Koan', though I don't remember quoting that myself. I suspect that the person was hoping for a more statistical answer.
As for 'old pictures of hell', that just completely mystifies me - how did anyone end up here looking for that?
The flag counter throws up some exotic locales these days - Mauritius, the Northern Mariana Islands, Mongolia, Albania. Closer to home we are up to 47 states - with much scouring of lists (since I wasn't forced to memorise them at school, as perhaps you are in this country) I have deduced that Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota and Wyoming are the heavenly realms where no-one needs concern themselves with the dharma. Not surprisingly California is the number one state, with about two thirds of the total of U.S. vistors, but who would have guessed that there are more readers in New Jersey and Texas than New York and Oregon, which fill out the top five?
The number of followers creeps up from time to time, which is also gratifying, though I know it bears no reflection on who is actually reading anything. Still, I hope that you all continue to manage to get something out of this blog, even if it is only the realisation that I still spell in the English way, and that there are a lot of Japanese words in our life here at Zen Center.