The Upstate of Community

20160402_134234 (1)Dear friends,

It’s now several years since I started talking to people in person and publishing bits online about alternatives to living in some of the most expensive cities there are. For example, last nearly 25 years of my life were spent in New York City. And if you are familiar with the situation there, well I moved into a rental apartment in the part of Brooklyn called Williamsburg 20 years ago, that particular neighborhood became a kind of symbol for development of. For all sorts of prices for everything going up!

Why do we live in places like NYC? Comfort? Culture? Companionship? Wide availability of jobs? Because we are from near-by?

-Many reasons to many people. However there is another possible reason that may need to be unpacked a bit. Many people are used to the idea of impersonal big city where it is possible to  get lost to be found. It is similar to a dive jump into an ocean where you find a treasure at the bottom. If you stick around and are brave enough you are bound to win that lottery by living in a place like NYC. The whole idea of “If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere”

To that there is no argument if your plan is to be well dedicated to a job for which you would need for you to be in that city. And if it’s a job that does pay well, you will eventually be able to get into an apartment of your own!

However observing my own life patterns I can say that in a traditional sense of the word I have perfectly wasted soo much time doing things that are not meant to be “productive” in any material sense of the word. Take for example painting pictures, years spent on that. Writing online, at times hours of many evenings went that way, often times to no audience at all, all without any expectation to be read, just stuff to be written. Study of Buddhism with all the prayers and meditations and associated books, oh that’s a good one, – major anti samsara-productive type of thing. Think of books, most of their stories take place in India or Tibet, most people around me can not reliably place these countries on the map. Prayers are for non-conceptual release of suffering beyond anything that people can think of as Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping. Oh and the meditation, that requires to sit down and do nothing. Yes, nothing.

There are some smart people that try to hope, in a last ditch effort kind of thing that if they align everything well in their life and propitiate wealth deities they will also accomplish wealth and comforts in very substantial, material sense of the world, within this life.

I however was never a person that could do many things in same time and achieve good results in any. Sense of focus is a good idea. So, if one knows that working two jobs and going without days off will undermine your health and meditations on things will become difficult because within these years of work, work, work. One too many times it was necessary to not take a “sick day” off.

So, what I am talking about here is something along the lines of the discussion of the community building, the “Choying”, the idea of minimizing bills all in order to be able to get by without stress of needing too much.

General Direction is to identify an affordable area near by to an active Temple and move there, as rural as possible. With the hope of not working too hard on a samsara type of job, but to be able to sit down, collect your wits, think about your life for a moment, possible to recover your emotional and physical health to a point where greater degree of calm is possible.

My ideal location at the moment is Upstate NY.

If job of some degree is important one of the smaller towns in and around Binghamton area. Area called Southern Tier and is just north of Pennsylvanian border.

Where the actual community building is concerned.

The specs on the plan are something like this.

Walking distance to the Temple.

Purchase of land with hopefully existing plumbing: septic and well.

Total size not to big, to minimize the tax bill (with septic and well there is no sewer and water charge). So, in a very optimistic setup no more then 20 acres. If situated near a state land, the trees, wilderness and such will be in abundance, naturally.

For accommodation, mobile homes, single wide. Mobile homes are not known to be classified in same way as cars and when not permanently attached to the foundation pay no real estate tax. It should not prevent anyone from making the interior and exterior just the way they like….

This small write up will be tagged on this forum with “Choying” that was title of previous discussions that I had posted in the past. Welcome to read all these.

The responses so far are very limited but save from one are very positive.


Special Guru Rinpoche day on this Thursday

1142615015-hr-37A special date: July 14th  2016, Thursday  / 10th day of the 5th lunar month of this fire monkey year.

Guru Rinpoche, the Padmasambava sphere of influence transcends time. Currently way over a thousand years after very active period of establishment of Buddhism in Tibet Guru Rinpoche legacy keeps getting refreshed through newer spiritual treasures discovered to this day as well as truly Universal tone that these teachings have.

Traditionally we recognize Guru Rinpoche appearance in this world on the 10th day of the 6th month of the Wood Monkey year, possibly 2556(about) years ago.

In lunar year that coincides with the 2016 for the purpose of adjustment of the several year cycle there is an extra fourth month. So, while fifth month that comes along in July is called 5th it is actually possibly the month number 6 of this current year.

That gives us possibility to think of Guru Rinpoche birthday more this year then in some other year.

Guru Rinpoche during the 6th month is known as Guru Pema Junghey, the lotus born guru.

About the image above:



Om Ah Hung Benza Guru Pema Siddhi Hung

Tea Bag is actually, nearly all.. Plastic..

As I come from the country that drinks more tea then any other country in the world. All somehow without much a-do, without much publicity. And if you ever lived there and then outside then you would know, inside we all will die without strong tea 24/7 and outside we all have to put up with sudden dawn of an idea that in the eyes of others we are all overindulgent Vodka drinkers. Little do they know. It’s tea, in overdrive mode.

I have recently saw an article that stated that all tea bags contain up to 80% plastic in their makeup. In my mind they do not taste like tea as mush as tea does as well.

If comparing weight of actual tea portioned for your cup in a given tea bag and tea-spoon of actual loose tea, which can be in a way a good amount for a cup, well teabag does not contain much tea. Add to that the continuous use and disposal of the plastic in the tea bags, it is a wonderful time of drinking tea driven to absurdity of melting a bit of plastic in your cup and making disappointed faces drinking it.

How to make a lot of tea in a situation where you can easily reheat it?

If you use your favorite glass or porcelain brewing pot, it is good but it is not the real hardcore way, amount can be small, process has an extra step (pouring hot water in) and if hot tea is desired and there some left, it is hard to reheat.

Here on the other hand is your regular workhorse (nearly 1 gallon, it is 4 liters)pot

And now let me show you where the tea goes:


Use of induction heater is optional, but in the long run will keep your pot handle still attached years and years later. The teapot is made of stainless steel, it’s cost about $30 and it is Korean made.

Now unlike the expositions of Dharma of awakening, in this instance I can assuredly say “this is the way”, well unless you want to use the glass pot or something 🙂

Thank you for your moment of time spent reading this,

With best regards,

-Your friend

Talking cheese at Old Barn Hollow

Downtown_Binghamton_at_NightAfter walking around a little on the 1st Friday of the month during Binghamton’s Art Walk, we nearly always end up looking into the great Local store Old Barn Hollow. It is now in the middle of the Art block on the State Street.

Today they had some cheese samples and I ended up walking towards the owner and telling them that their Miranda unpasteurized Blue Cheese is some of the best blue cheese available. It is slightly aged, along the lines of great English Stilton..

We talked and I thought that my prior cheese department work should come in handy and I should share about the cheeses that I sold, sampled and enjoyed.

Here is my small cheesy write up.

Old barn Hollow, a real wonderful store. -Indeed, and I wish them all sorts of increase.

My primary focus is Buddhist study and contemplation. As in USA Buddhist community is not very big or active I worked all sorts of jobs, to get by.

So, I have worked in NYC in Food Emporium(A&P), Gourmet Garage(Chain of 6 gourmet supermarkets that has volume of over 10K a week in their cheese department sales), Union Market (Chain of 5 gourmet supermarkets that has volume of over 10K a week in their cheese department sales)

A small review of my favorite NY State only cheeses based on 5 years of experience as a cheese department head in NYC.

Bob and Sharon are great people, making great cheese at Cooperstown Cheese Company

My favorite are Jersey Girl and Toma Celena. They use unpasteurized milk, for flavor, tradition and curiously for safety reasons, as I discussed with them in person, it is nearly perfectly always the case that a farm selling unpasteurized milk will always keep it extra clean as opposed to the farm expecting to pasteurize it somewhere down the line.

Here is a local ad showing a little of their info on milk type and pricing.

(somehow their website is not up and I seem to remember looking at a different one, that I can not find now)

These people are making OUTRAGEOUSLY good tasting cheddar types of cheese.

The Tumbleweed is a rich and delicate, it is covered in natural mold, rind much a like French Cantal.

And Crawford is the strongest cheddar that you will ever taste, rich and full of flavor, it comes in cloth-bound cylinders, it is cave-aged.

They own their own herd, so milk does not need to be moved very far or processed in any way, it is made “next door”. As the only real reason for pasteurization of the milk used for cheesemaking is transportation and storage (we are told by huge companies that want to continue transportation, storage of over a month on the shelf and no competition from local milk-man that it is “safer”) in this instance it is as fresh as it can get. One of my favorite cheeses, ever.

Kunik made by Nettle Meadow, it comes in small wheels of 0.75 to 0.5 of a pound. A triple cream made with goat’s milk and jersey cow’s cream. While, young, middle aged and old it has distinct, amazing taste.

Here is the company that makes cheese from the black sheep’s milk (some of the richest milk available to a cheesemaker).

An excellent website out of California, “Library of Cheese”

-Their red Hawk is in the class of it’s own, Washed rind (bright, fire brick red color) soft ripened…

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