Beware of Labels

 

  

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Unexpected bliss

On the path of wildflowers

Such fragrant urine

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People often like to label things. "This is beautiful. This is ugly." The label is not reality. Unfortunately, it is often interpreted that way.

The label also implies a permanence that does not exist. As the Buddha taught, everything is constantly changing. When we don't understand this, we attach to the label and cause suffering. Here's a classic example: "He's a bad dog." How many of my fellow dogs have borne the weight of this one? When such a label is applied, a dog's reputation may be ruined, even if he is a good dog at heart or works hard to become one.

The label "smells like urine" may seem clearly negative to you. But in my own personal experience, that is simply not the case. We should be very careful not to become too attached to the labels that we hear or use.

 

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About the Authors

 Sheila currently resides at her home in Iowa. Like most dogs, she lives by Buddhist principles, being in the now. When she's not napping, Sheila enjoys taking car rides, playing Frisbee, and barking at people and things.

As part of her Buddhist practice, Sheila is no longer chasing large farm equipment, and appears to be making an effort to be friendlier with the cat next door. This is hit and miss though.

 

 

 

Tim Macejak began practicing Zen in the early 1980's and has alternated between formal practice at Zen Centers and an informal at-home practice. He currently is co-leader of a Buddhist meditation group at the Anamosa Men's Reformatory (a state penitentiary), and a member of the Cedar Rapids Zen Center. He is an employee of the United States Postal Service and a dog lover. He lives in Anamosa, Iowa, with his wife Teresa. 

Tim and Sheila can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

 

Tim is also on the board of directors of the Hokyoji Zen Practice Community, a practice and retreat center in Southeastern Minnesota.  More information can be found at www.hokyoji.org.

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About the Illustrator

Bud Podrazik is a cartoonist/illustrator who has undertaken a variety of artistic endeavors (t-shirts, logos, comic strips). A graduate of Saint Xavier University, he has also ventured as a writer and musician. Bud's other interests include acoustic guitar (Leo Kottke, John Fahey) and baseball (you can check out "The Strat-O-Matic Baseball Rally" tribute song he composed on YouTube).
 
Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, he currently resides there along with his wife, Margaret.
 
Bud can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
 
 
 

Contact Information

The authors Tim and Sheila can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

The illustrator Bud Podrazik can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

 

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