Takuin Minamoto Transcript

Takuin Minamoto Interview

Rick: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer and my guest this week is Takuin Minamoto, who is in Tokyo, I believe. Are you not?

Takuin: Yes, that’s right.

Rick: Good. And I found out about you because a friend of mine, who is sort of a fan of these shows, watches them regularly, often sends me recommendations of people he thinks I should interview. He said, “He’s a minimalist. He got awakened at the sound of a car horn. He’s living in Japan and he acknowledges that there is a process, but he’s very minimalist”, whatever he meant by that. I glanced at your website briefly before emailing you, but I don’t know a whole lot about you and I kind of like it that way because it sort of makes the interviews interesting and the people who are watching this don’t know a lot about you either, so I’ll ask questions that they might ask.

Takuin: All right.

Rick: So you’ve watched some of these interviews and you know how I do them. Basically it’s a little Autobiography of a Yogi sort of thing, where you describe the process of your awakening, what led to it, what has transpired after it, and just generally share your perspective on things. So where would you like to start?

Takuin: Well, I guess we can start with that day, which was December 1, 2006. And if at any time you want to go back, we can get into that later.

Rick: Sure.

Takuin: And also, I was never really a spiritual seeker in any sort of traditional sense, and I still to this day don’t read those books. So a lot of the terms you use, I might not know what you’re saying.

Rick: Well, I probably won’t use too many terms.

Takuin: That’s good. So I may need to ask a few questions of you if I’m not understanding you, but that’s my deficiency. It’s not because of your lack of explaining something.

Rick: No problem.

Takuin: What happened on that day, it was in Boston. It was outside of Boston in the town of Alston. And I don’t really remember – I don’t think anything could have really led to what had happened because it wasn’t done through any doing on my part. I was crossing a parking lot of a popular restaurant/grocery store called Super 88. And I don’t remember if the person was coming in or coming out, but I walked in front of a car that was either entering or exiting, and he didn’t hit me. He slammed on his brakes, laid on his horn, and at that moment something happened that was so emptying that it was completely beyond the word as I had known it before that point. And like I said at the beginning, I’d never really been a searcher. I had read a few books here and there, but I think the idea of enlightenment or liberation or whatever people call it, I think it never really entered my consciousness so much. I just thought, “Oh, that might be the Dalai Lama or that might be this person or that person, but it doesn’t apply to me. I’m just this guy”. I never really had any thoughts about it one way or the other. So you mentioned about a process. There may indeed have been a process, but I think when you’re in the process you have no real awareness of it in that sense. You can’t look at it and say, “Well, I’m at this particular stage”, or, “I’m at a particular level”. I think it’s easy on the outside for someone to analyze it and say, “Oh, this must be this stage or that stage”, but for me to have done that, there may have been a process, but I didn’t have anything to do with it. I don’t think I really even noticed if there was one happening or not.

Rick: So what did you actually experience when the guy slammed on his brakes and blew his horn? Was it an adrenaline rush because you almost got hit or was there something much different than that that predominated in your experience?

Takuin: Not adrenaline. It was almost as if there was an emptying of something, almost as if a spectral car had come through and hit the body and the spectral essence was killed but the organism lived on. I don’t know if that makes sense.

Rick: I’m not sure what you mean by a spectral car.

Takuin: Well, it was almost as if the body survived the encounter.

Rick: Sure, it didn’t even get hit, right?

Takuin: Yeah, but the person didn’t survive.

Rick: So people talk about ego death or the ego disappearing and so on when they have a spiritual awakening. So are you suggesting that the shock of that incident somehow triggered what we might call an ego death?

Takuin: Well, I don’t know if that’s… It happened at that moment, but I can’t look back and say why or it happened because of this or because of that.

Rick: Right.

Takuin: But for whatever reason, it may have been coupled with what I was thinking about at the time, which I can’t remember. I really doubt. Whatever happened at that moment, when he slammed on the horn, maybe there was some shock of almost being hit by the car and a combination of what might have been going on in my head at the time might have led to that, but I really have no way of knowing.

Rick: Yeah, I think it’s hard to assign causality. And well, at that very moment then… There’s a book I read, which this kind of reminds me of, called Collision with the Infinite by a woman named Suzanne Segal. And she had had a meditation background, had become a TM teacher and everything, and then drifted away from it and hadn’t been meditating for a few years and was living in Paris and married and pregnant. And she had just been to a swimming pool and she was coming home and getting on the bus. And just as she stepped on the bus, all of a sudden there was this sudden awakening and an abrupt loss of personal identity, of ego structure, and so on. And it terrified her and she didn’t know what had happened to her. And she spent the next ten years in a state of terror, while meanwhile living a normal life, raising a daughter, getting a PhD and so on, but going to therapists and all kinds of people trying to figure out what was wrong, because she felt like there was no her, there was no self, there was no person. And finally she met a spiritual teacher, Jean Klein, who managed to point out to her that this had been a spiritual awakening and she relaxed into it and began to enjoy it and live with it and realize. So for you, was there any sort of crisis? Like, “Oh my God, what happened to me? Where am I?”

Takuin: Well, no. The only way I can explain it is that it was so damaging, if that’s the right word, so destructive, that I could no longer compare what had happened a minute before. Like if we say this moment here is… Nice cat. …this moment here is the moment of the car horn. And this is the point after, this is the point before. It’s almost that the break was complete. So I could not compare to what had been before, so I had no way of really knowing that something was wrong in the sense. Everything was different, but I couldn’t call it blissful or I couldn’t call it love or pure this or pure that or whatever people tend to call those things. I couldn’t call it that because I couldn’t remember the life before. So it was more destructive in the sense that in some strange way a bridge was burned and it was really difficult to go back. There are memories, but even as I speak of this now, it almost feels like I’m lying to you because there’s no real way to know for sure. There’s no way that I can even begin to tell you that what happened that day was the truth. So because there is no real personality that’s grasping to these memories to make them into something. We’ve heard the saying that we have these events in our life and people say this event made me who I am or these circumstances made me who I am. There was no longer a need for those memories to be important. So I wouldn’t say that they were lost, but it’s almost that they kind of tumble out of reach. It’s kind of difficult to latch on to something for very long. And I think looking back on that day, looking back on the person that might have been before that moment, it’s really hard to say with any real accuracy. Sometimes I have memories of the time before and there will be people in them that I know, that I still know today, and I’ll have to ring them up and ask them, “I had this memory. Did this actually happen?” And they’ll either confirm it or they’ll say, “Well, I don’t really remember that”. Or they’ll say, “What the hell are you talking about?” Because I’ve had to ask my mother this and friends from school. So I think some of them are kind of accustomed to those sort of questions and the others that aren’t too keen just have gone away.

Rick: Well, certainly you didn’t become a tabula rasa. I mean, you remembered if someone had asked you where you went to school or things like that, you would have been able to answer, right? And you still knew how to drive a car and tie your shoes and brush your teeth. You still knew how to read and talk. So basically all of the skills and essential memories that you had had before this incident, you must still have had. Correct me if I’m wrong, but what I’m getting at or what you’re getting at is that the rememberer, the shoe-tier, the driver, the person who was predominant in your awareness, who did all those things, that seemed to have flown the coop. Is that correct?

Takuin: Yes. Nothing really happened to the knowledge that was gained up to that point. You still know your phone number, you still know where you live, you still know your mom’s name or whatever. But it’s almost as if the identity, the person that all these memories mean something to, always has to keep them very close at hand, like they’re all sitting in a desk in front of them. And these things are easy to reach out for. It gives that kind of security. It solidifies the person as the person believes themselves to be. Here’s this… I’m intelligent because of this, or I’m a failure because of this, or I’m handsome because of this, or whatever it happens to be. But in this case, the memories of the events are still there, but there is no real story tied to them. It’s just something that might have happened. And they’re not always in reach. And what I mean by that is, if you can – I have these analogies a lot, and I don’t know if they make sense – but if you imagine it similar to what the scientists say is the beginning of the universe, where you had this, whatever they call it, the primordial molecule, or whatever they say, and it was held in place supposedly by gravity and the weak and strong nuclear forces or electromagnetism or whatever it is, and for whatever reason, it just broke apart in all this infinite expansion. Well, if you could think of the self as the same way, it is this tightly compressed ball, this believer, this desirer, the wanter, the person that wants that continuity. They want to live as long as they can. They want to have this. They want to live after death. They want to go on in all these other ways. And they’re held in place by these unseen forces. And all of the consciousness, all of the knowledge, everything that makes up that person is contained all within that small molecule, we could say. But for some reason, it just exploded. So it’s not that everything is gone, but it seems so expansive sometimes. It’s hard to make yourself into something solidified again.

Rick: So it’s as if the container went from being a bucket to being an ocean.

Takuin: Yes.

Rick: Yeah.

Takuin: So it’s not that the memories are gone. It’s not that the knowledge is gone. Knowledge is something slightly different from the memories, I’ve found. But the memories just kind of, yeah, like an ocean, like you said, it just floats in, it floats out, and there’s no real need to hold on or to grasp it. But the organism still functions. There’s no problems with that sort of thing. And it’s not that one becomes a vegetable or one becomes mute necessarily. But there is, for lack of a better word, a space. It might be all space. It might be all thing. I really don’t know how to describe it. The words always seem to fail.

Rick: How about vastness? How’s that for a word?

Takuin: That works as good as any other, I suppose. So it’s not that they’re gone, it’s just not necessarily in reach. It might not be this desk, it might be in the other apartment on another desk. It’s not necessarily here in front of me. But I seem to have survived the last three or four years.

Rick: This all happened three or four years ago?

Takuin: It was December 1, 2006.

Rick: Were you married at the time?

Takuin: I got married that year in the summer.

Rick: And how did you end up in Japan?

Takuin: Well, we were already on the way here. I had already decided we were going to live here, at least for a sizable chunk of time. And we left Boston for Japan the following month. It was in January.

Rick: And what do you do for a living?

Takuin: Well, nothing. I mean, honestly, I don’t have a boss. I don’t go to work in that sense. I’ve just lived off of the monies I’ve had in the bank account. So technically, really, in the sense of a person going to work, nothing.

Rick: Okay. And so what do you do all day long?

Takuin: Well, these days my time is taken up mostly with… It used to be all writing, but then at some point something seemed to change. I wasn’t really so interested in the written word as much as I was before. And I never go back and read what I’ve written before. But a few months ago I went into the archives just to take a look at what was there. And the earlier posts on the site are very thick, are very heavy. I mean, there are a lot of words, a lot of words, a lot of words. And then when I look at the most recent posts, it might just be a sentence. So for whatever reason, I think there was a reduction in words, almost to the point where now I’m not interested in that anymore. So I’ve been using a lot of my time now just for speaking through Skype like this, although this is the first recorded video that I’ve ever done.

Rick: Do you usually just have one-on-one little chats with people?

Takuin: Yes, that’s how it’s been so far. And there have been some meetings with larger groups, but it’s generally all online.

Rick: So basically in your writing and your speaking with people, you’re functioning as – you probably don’t like the term – you’re functioning as sort of a spiritual teacher. In other words, you’re writing about your experience, you’re talking to people about your experience, and presumably with the hope of helping them to get more clear in their own experience? Is that the motivation?

Takuin: Well, I’ve never gone out seeking for people. I think people just found me through the writing, and it just kind of grows and it has grown since then.

Rick: And of course we’ll post a link to your website and everything on batgap.com, so people will be able to go there and read and interact with you. And I haven’t actually read the stuff yet, but I’d be interested to take a look at it. So basically in doing that writing, you are just kind of unpacking your experience, I presume. You’re trying to explain what happened to you and make sense of it and convey it to others? Is that a fair assessment?

Takuin: No, I think it’s more that I wanted to find a way to function with words again, in a sense. I wanted to almost relearn how to speak after that event took place. I didn’t lose the ability to speak, it wasn’t as if I had no words or anything. But I was hoping to maybe find a way to express what had happened in some kind of clear way, not necessarily to build a teaching or to build a system for other people to follow.

Rick: Just to make sense of it, even just to yourself, if not to others, correct?

Takuin: Yes, and that might have been why the progression had happened with the reduction in the words. There was just… no amount of words can do it. The less the better, I think, in some cases.

Rick: Did you find… How much have you written? I mean, reams and reams of stuff over the last several years?

Takuin: Yeah, I’ve written more on paper than I have on the site. I think on the site it’s maybe 270 different posts on varying topics.

Rick: And the stuff on paper, have you published that or do you intend to in any way, or do you just do it for your own gratification?

Takuin: I have not published any of that. I think some of that I have put on the site, but I have no real desire. I mean, if that stuff was burned in a fire, I really wouldn’t care. I don’t mean to seem maybe ungrateful to the word, but if I’m writing something for the website, once it’s up – and assuming that there’s no factual errors that I need to correct – once it’s up, it’s done, it’s gone. As far as I’m concerned, it never really happens.

Rick: So it’s like a technique for you, a process for you, and you’re not really overly attached to the historical record of it.

Takuin: Yeah, it doesn’t really mean anything to me in that sense.

Rick: Yeah. I have a friend who has a very profound level of experience, and I’d love to interview him. So far he hasn’t been willing to go public, but I’ve had some long, fascinating conversations with him. He writes reams and reams of stuff, and he says it just really helps him to clarify his own thinking about what he’s experiencing, and actually to perhaps clarify the experiences themselves, the two seem to go together. There’s a self-scrutiny that takes place through the writing process that enables him to see the finer details of his experience more and more. Would you concur?

Takuin: Yes. And the difficulty with that, and it’s nothing that anyone can control, is that a reader of that sort of material might want to make it into something. They might see it as a state to have. So then I think the words lose their meaning in that case, because then they’re made into something more than what they were maybe never intended to be meant for.

Rick: My own experience in reading stuff that other people have written, or in listening to talks that they’ve given, is that there’s sort of an enlivening effect in my own experience. There’s some resonance. I listen to, read Eckhart Tolle, or whoever, Adyashanti, different people. I listen to stuff all the time on various podcasts, and it just sort of stimulates ways of seeing things and thinking about things and expressing things that may not have occurred to me, or it actually brings to light maybe facets of my own experience that I hadn’t noticed so clearly, but someone articulates it beautifully and you think, “Oh yeah, I can relate to that. I know what he’s talking about”. So I think what you’re doing is probably very beneficial for people who find it beneficial, with whom it resonates, and others – might not be their cup of tea and they’ll find inspiration elsewhere. But the fact that you have gotten fairly busy talking to people and so on, indicates perhaps that people do find it useful.

Takuin: And what I was surprised with is that the topics vary so widely. I think in the beginning, speaking of the site, all the questions were about enlightenment this or enlightenment that, or getting there or what to do to get there, that sort of thing. But the people I’ve met recently are so wonderful in the way they explore their own minds. They’re interested in communication, they’re interested in the word itself, they’re interested in more so how I think they’re functioning than just looking for a state to apply to themselves. And I never really knew before that people were that serious, if that’s the right way to put it. Because over the years, speaking with some people or writing certain things, people are very quick to come out and tell you, “Well, you’re wrong”. They want their point to be made and they want to say, “Well, you’re wrong because of this, this and this”. “This is right because you’re wrong about this”. So maybe I assumed that that would just continue to a much higher degree when I spoke to more and more people. But that hasn’t really happened, which has surprised me. I think a lot of people are interested in finding out how they function as human beings, which I think is a wonderful place for any exploration to begin.

Rick: Yeah, I think being less judgmental is a sign of spiritual maturity, and perhaps you’re running into people now who are more spiritually mature and are not so quick to say, “I’m right, you’re wrong”. I think it was the Buffalo Springfield who said, “Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong”. That song might have been before your time. So if I ask a question that gets you off of a track that you feel you’re developing, feel free to say, “No, let’s not go there yet”.

Takuin: Okay.

Rick: But I’m curious to know, what were you doing before this incident happened? What kind of profession did you have, if any? What were your interests? What was your life like?

Takuin: I always had a job somewhere. In Boston, I worked mostly in hardware stores, and that lasted for a good four or five years. And then I worked in a vitamin, sport supplement store for another two different stores for another four or so years. I never really thought of any of that as a career, but I think I was the kind of person that had the sort of mind where they just needed the money to survive. There was never any great looking forward to something. There might have been some idea of things that I’d wanted to do in the future, but I don’t think I was really that kind of person, the business go-getter type person. I was just interested in maybe more survival than thriving, for whatever reason.

Rick: Right. So you were just living a normal life, working a job, and doing normal things, going to baseball games or whatever you enjoyed doing. Did you have any kind of inkling of spiritual type things? Did you ever read a spiritual book or anything like that? Or was that just in a whole other universe and you never gave it a thought?

Takuin: Well, I have some story about that. I was always interested in Bruce Lee when I was a kid. I saw all his movies, of which there are only four, if you don’t count all the exploitation flicks that were done with his name.

Rick: Did you practice martial arts yourself?

Takuin: No, not at all. I was just really interested in what he had to say as a human being, and his philosophy, which I think extends far greater than the Jeet Kune Do that he had created in his short life. But I remember it was maybe around 1999 or 2000. I was living in Quincy, Massachusetts, and I had just bought this DVD of all of the lost footage of the film he was making when he died, which turned out to be the Game of Death, which was terrible. They had put all the original footage together using his own notes, and it was very interesting. But during the interviews with his widow, she had said that there was a time in his life when he had a great injury, and he wasn’t able to do anything physical for maybe six or seven months at a time. What he had done then was just read the great works of the world and all sorts of spiritual teachers like Alan Watson, the Buddha, and also Krishnamurti, which his widow said probably had the greatest influence on his thinking. So me being into Bruce Lee, I thought, “Well, I’m going to check out Krishnamurti”. So I went to a bookstore in Boston, and at the time I was working in Harvard Square and living in Quincy, and that is close to an hour train ride. So one day after work, I went out and bought this Krishnamurti book and just started reading it there at work. It’s one of those things where you just leave it, and then you pick it up and read it every once in a while and leave it and pick it up every once in a while. And one day after work, I decided, “Well, I’m just going to sit here and read this”, because it was very – I don’t know how to explain it – very thick, the words. It was kind of hard for me to get. I would have to go back and read sentences again and again and again. Like, what is he talking about? Because I didn’t really know the language, the way that he was using it. But eventually I stuck with it and got about halfway through the book, and something struck me interesting. And I’m paraphrasing because I can’t remember what he had said, but he had said that “To see truth, it must not come through the eyes of another or through the words of another, even the words of the speaker”, of himself. And that hit me really hard, and I thought, “If that’s true, why the hell am I even reading this book?” I mean, really, what am I doing? So I got on the train and went back to Quincy, and it was about a 45-minute trip. And the whole time I didn’t open the book. I was just thinking about that on a lot of different levels, about finding out for yourself, about not being dependent on some other entity to live your life for you. And I got out of the train at Quincy, and the first thing I did was I threw that book in the trash. And I just went home and just thought about this for the longest time. And I think my life was normal. Nothing really changed, except for maybe something screwy happened up here. And from that point on, I’ve never really read another spiritual book, even if that book is considered spiritual teaching, I’m not really sure. It was kind of heavy.

Rick: Yeah, Krishnamurti was considered that, yeah, sure. So that’s interesting. And even after your awakening, that didn’t change. You had no desire to see if others had experienced something, or if what you were experiencing was what all these other people were talking about, or what terminology people had found to express this more clearly. Didn’t that kind of interest you?

Takuin: I think I was curious, but I think that was taken care of by all of the interaction that I was having on the website. Because I was able to meet so many great people there. And there’s no forum or anything like that, so it’s not technically a community, but there’s maybe a core commenting force of between 20 and 30 people. And from speaking with them and checking out their websites, I think I’m able to see that what did occur is not necessarily uncommon, in a sense, because there are all sorts of different flavors, it seems. There’s people that have practiced for years, and something happened. There are people that are highly religious, and something happened. There are people that are drug addicts, and something has happened, or nothing has happened, however you want to say it. So having met all those people, I really can’t see that there could ever be a formula. It’s so varied. It’s so interesting. It’s so unique to the person. I think part of that is that the way that they function, the way that they see the world, the way that it comes to them, those things are inherent in all of us as human beings. All of us do that. All of us can see and we can perceive and we can do this and that. But the way that it happens to each person is unique. So the functioning is not unique, but the way it appears to the person is. And I think that that is something that’s so incredible about the people that speak on these things, or even the serious people that call themselves spiritual seekers. You can see those different flavors. You can feel them. It’s almost like you can sense a field about a person. And I don’t want to use those kind of terms. I don’t want to make it sound all magical or anything. But it expresses itself. It’s almost like awakening people. It’s almost like going to the museum and looking at different paintings. You each have this expression and some people can gravitate to something immediately and other people might say, “Well, it’s not for me”. But in each case there is some unique expression within a completely limited medium. And I think that is something that’s very amazing about this whole trip.

Rick: It is. Definitely one size does not fit all. And I get the sense that you would not discount or dismiss the value of spiritual practices if people are attracted to them.

Takuin: Sure.

Rick: We’re not all going to become Muslims or fundamentalist Christians or Buddhists or meditators or qigong practitioners or whatever. There’s just a whole potpourri or cornucopia of different practices. If you look at creation – I’ll pontificate here for a second – if you look at creation itself, you watch nature shows on TV or something, I always marvel at the creativity of what I regard as God. I mean, when you look at all the types of animals and so many interesting things, or you look into astronomy and you see how fascinating and vast the universe is with so much diversity and so much going on, you think, “Wow, the intelligence behind this universe really likes variety and diversity”. Definitely not a plain vanilla kind of God. Everything is so amazingly creative and diverse, from the macroscopic down to the microscopic and everything in between. So why shouldn’t spiritual practice or spiritual progress be the same way? Obviously we as human beings are very unique, each of us is so different, so why shouldn’t our paths be unique and different and each carved out of a different mold?

Takuin: Imagine the world if that were the case throughout humanity, if that had completely spread like a virus, if we were all living in that expressive potential.

Rick: Awakened state or whatever you mean.

Takuin: Because there are far more followers than there are… I don’t know how to say it.

Rick: Realizers?

Takuin: Well, I’ve always said that the world doesn’t really need Christians or Buddhists and so on, it needs Christ and Buddhas.

Rick: Yeah, good point.

Takuin: So each one of us has this unique offering, if I can call it that way.

Rick: And Christ and Buddha said that, by the way. They all said, “You can become like I am”. And Christ said, “Even greater things you could do”. And Buddha said similar things, “The whole world is awakened, we’re all Buddhas”. And it’s not even a matter of imagining, I don’t think, because it seems to be happening. Sometimes it doesn’t, if you look at the 6 o’clock news, it seems to be pretty messed up. But if you listen to the right sources and put your attention in the right places, awakening seems to be spreading like an epidemic. The very fact that you had that awakening, while startled by a car, might not have happened 50 years ago or 100 years ago. Maybe the atmosphere in the world just wasn’t so conducive to such a thing – although I’m sure such things have happened to people throughout history. But it almost seems like it’s getting more possible now and more commonplace.

Takuin: Well, there are still – because of society or because of the culture – there are still consequences to expressing, not necessarily this sort of thing, but any kind of freedom that is very specific to the individual, if that makes any sense. For example, I grew up in a place that was very religious, although my family wasn’t necessarily very religious. So the way that I have spoken before or the way that I might have written things has caused some of those people just to turn away. And I think the problem is not…

Rick: You mean old friends and family?

Takuin: Yeah, they just think you’ve gone off the deep end or something? Well, not so much family, but certain friends for sure. People that you’d think would… When you’re a kid, you think you’re going to live forever. And you think that all the friends that you have in sixth grade are going to be there when you’re 70, which is absolutely not the case. But some of them have been vocal about it, and others just… It’s not for them, and they just turn away, and that’s fine either way. But a problem with all of these things is the interpretation of the word. People get so hung up on the word because they believe it to mean something else. And it’s just a pure expression of the person. Hopefully, it’s just a pure expression of the person. But many people want to make that into something because it’s very difficult for them to relate to another human being without first making them into something. Then they kind of know where they stand. It’s like, “Well, he is this kind of person, so that makes me this, so now I know how to respond”.

Rick: It’s like they want to fit you into a conceptual framework so they know what to make of you. They want to understand you, and so they’re trying to fit you into something that is within their realm of experience, correct? But if what you’re experiencing is outside of their realm of experience, then it might be easy to misinterpret you. That certainly happened to many of the great spiritual leaders throughout history. They’ve all gotten stoned or crucified or criticized by people who just… They were so far outside the mainstream that they couldn’t help but stir up controversy because they just didn’t fit the mold.

Takuin: Now, where we live – you’re in the United States, I’m in Japan – Maybe we can be victims of a mild kind of persecution. We’re probably not going to be strung up, probably not going to be beaten on the street for the things we say.

Rick: When you say “we”, do you mean you in Japan?

Takuin: I just mean us. Yeah, yeah. I’m talking about both of us in the United States and in Japan. But there are maybe societal consequences, if I can put it that way, because once you start speaking out about the way things are in the world and if you happen to explore yourself to a depth that doesn’t quite match what the current popular teaching says, then you’re out. You’re alone, in that sense. Not loneliness, not like you’re being targeted or anything, but in a sense you’re kind of out, if that makes any sense.

Rick: Well, you may be out of one group, but there will be others. Obviously there are thousands, if not millions of people interested in this kind of stuff these days. Birds of a feather will flock together. You’ve found it yourself. You put up a website, start writing stuff, and you start meeting all these fascinating people all over the place that really get what you’re saying, or that want to get what you’re saying. So… I’ve been in touch with certain friends who I went to high school with and so on, and some of them are doing the same old thing that they were 50 years ago, And I don’t know, I’m just rambling here, but I think it’s… There may have been a time when you would have been burned at the stake for talking the way you’re talking, but these days I think the society at large is… There are too many examples of people experiencing this kind of thing and writing about it and talking about it. Like it or not – and we like it, and some people don’t – but like it or not, it’s rapidly finding its way into the mainstream and in some ways becoming the mainstream. It’s still not Bible Belt Middle America necessarily, but hey, I live in Middle America, in a town where a few thousand people practice meditation. This kind of thing wasn’t happening in the 50s so much, aside from maybe Yogananda and a couple of other things.

Takuin: That’s tue. Well, I’m not sure, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to relate to other people in that sense, other spiritual teachers or spiritual seekers, because I really have no knowledge of that world, but I found out that really the knowledge is not so important, I think, because you don’t necessarily have to read a book about the mind to find out about your own mind. It’s there. I mean, we can see it. The problem might be the seeing, but it’s there for us to see. So I wasn’t sure that I would be able to communicate effectively or even be able to come together with some of these people, but I found that that’s really not the case.

Rick: Do you yourself ever feel the need of any guidance or a teacher? Do you ever feel like, “Well, I’ve progressed to this extent, but there are so many things I still don’t know, and maybe I should find somebody who knows more than I do, who could lead me on or something”. Has that ever happened?

Takuin: I’ve never had that feeling. I understand and I respect what other people are teaching about, but I’ve never felt empty in that sense, or I’ve never felt wanting and the need to find out about what might be going on here, because I’m still not sure that we can be aware of anything other than our own functioning. And other people have said, talk about that as being in the moment, or whatever people might say, but there are many beautiful things in this world, and physically speaking, we’re physically situated in specific points of space, and we can’t literally say that we are the table that is here, because clearly we’re not the table. But there is something so completely unifying, if that’s the right phrase about this, and I’ve never noticed a desire to find out more, or to seek out that sort of teaching. I’ve read some articles that people send me over the years, and I’ve watched a few videos here and there, but it’s never enough to really push me in any sort of direction, or to even make a mark, it seems. But I enjoy what I’ve read, it’s very interesting, it’s lovely that people can come up with these… not come up with, but express these things. At varying levels of clarity.

Rick: Yeah, yeah. Do you feel, nonetheless, that there is some kind of progress taking place in some dimension? I mean, since that day in Massachusetts, when you had that awakening, do you feel like things have somehow deepened or clarified, and are continuing to do so?

Takuin: Well, I’ve noticed certain things, and it may in fact be a progression, but I can’t see it. Maybe if I look back and try and take some measurement of how things have gone, then I could see a progression. But at the time when you’re living, there is no progression. At the moment that you’re breathing and expressing whatever we’re expressing here at this time, there is no real progression. This is kind of an expressive moment in time, if we can put it that way. But the only way I can be aware of some sort of progression is by looking back, and I’m not very good at that. I have some difficulty.

Rick: So in other words, some progression may be taking place, but you’re just not in the habit of paying attention to it, or trying to compare last year with this year, so as to fathom what it might be.

Takuin: I think I don’t know how to pay attention to it, in that sense.

Rick: The wheels just don’t turn that way.

Takuin: It may be going on, and I think the only way we can see it is if someone tells me that it’s going on, or that if I can look at a pie chart or something, and they can tell me, “You were here in 2006”, and this and this and this. Because there is progression physically as human beings. We age, or we get better at certain things, or we can learn how to drive a car better, or learn how to manipulate people better with our words. Whatever it happens to be, there’s always some kind of skill acquisition or progression or something. But this thing that we’re talking about, I don’t know how to see it in that sense. I think I can only see it in terms of the past. If you think about being in the moment, really, where is the moment? There is no moment to be in, in that sense, because the moment you think about it, it becomes a moment. It becomes something that you look back on. It strikes me as strange. Many things strike me as strange in that way, when I hear certain people say things. It could just be my interpretation of the words. We may be saying exactly the same thing, but just in a slightly different way. So I’ve found it’s always important to always ask the other person, “What do you mean? What are you saying?” “What do you mean with this? Do you mean this or that?” Many people are good about explaining themselves. Other people aren’t too keen on it.

Rick: The reason I ask that question is that some people are averse to this idea of spiritual progress. They don’t believe in levels of consciousness, they don’t believe in levels of evolution. They say, “All you have to do is realize your essential nature and that’s it, you’re done”. Sometimes people who actually start out saying that, later on begin to say, “No, wait a minute, actually things are deepening, clarifying. There does seem to be some further development taking place”. Just judging from my own experience, there’s always a sense in my life of something which is always the same, but at the same time a sense in which things continue to progress or develop or unfold. Greater clarity, greater subtlety, things like that. It’s one of those questions that I often ask my guests, just because I’m curious about it.

Takuin: You know more about this than I do. Sometimes I’m confused when people talk about levels. I’m not saying that it’s false, but when people talk about levels or stages in consciousness, what do they usually mean? Are they talking about, “Well, someone that robs a bank is at a lower level of consciousness, but I help feed the homeless so I’m at a higher one”, or something? I don’t understand.

Rick: Well, actually there are various teachers who’ve articulated this in different ways. You can read various people like Ken Wilber or others. But my understanding of it is that you can think of the human nervous system as a reflector or an expressor of our essential nature. And in our essential nature itself, if we want to call that pure consciousness or whatever, there are no levels. Reality is what it is, the essential nature of life is what it is. But in terms of its expressions and in terms of our ability to express or reflect it or know it within ourselves, there can be many stages of progress. A person might initially have glimpses of it, eventually it might be stabilized, so it’s there all the time. There’s pure awareness even when they’re fast asleep perhaps. Later on there could be some refinement of their perception, such that they begin to see much subtler levels of experience through their senses. Later on there could be a sense of seeing the Self, everything as the Self, a kind of unitive experience. And these things don’t necessarily happen in a sequential way, just as I outlined them. They might happen in a different sequence or it might come all at once or whatever. So I think when we speak of levels of awareness, strictly speaking that’s an erroneous concept because awareness itself doesn’t have levels, but the appreciation of it or ability to experience it might develop over time as a person evolves in that sense. Sometimes when people say there are no levels, then pure consciousness is the only thing and it’s bogus to talk of levels. I sometimes think of someone saying, “Well, the whole universe is only atoms and there are no molecules, there are no cells, there are no organs, there are no bodies, it’s all just atoms”. And on some level they’re right. You can take your liver and analyze it carefully enough and sure enough it’s just atoms.

Takuin: Eventually it’s all space.

Rick: Even beneath the atom level they’re subatomic and you get down to the vacuum state or unified field or whatever. But this attempt to take a particular strata of creation and say, “That’s the only reality”, seems fundamentalist to me. Even though stepping back you might say, “Fine, you’re right, it’s only atoms”, but that doesn’t negate the fact that there’s also molecules and cells and organs and bodies and trees and all the diversity, all those things. Some might say, “Well, that’s all an illusion, it’s all just unmanifest being”. But the great sages that I have understood, to the extent I’ve understood them, tend to acknowledge the paradox of life, that it’s both – that there is this universal reality which is all-consuming and which everything can ultimately be analyzed down to in terms of its essential constituents. But at the same time it’s legitimate to acknowledge the existence and reality of all these expressions. And if we don’t do so, you can get into trouble because you can begin to misapply the understanding of one level of consciousness to another level of consciousness. You might say, “Well, the world is only an illusion, therefore it really doesn’t matter if I rob this bank”. Or if I do this to this person or something. It’s all just a play of consciousness, it’s not real. And there are people who actually do that and say that. They feel they can get away with not acknowledging certain moral values and so on, because it’s all an illusion.

Takuin: I think those sort of things are done out of their own selfishness. Their desire to maybe do whatever the hell they want to do.

Rick: Yeah. Which is rationalized and given some kind of cosmic justification.

Takuin: And that’s a hell of an excuse, isn’t it? It’s all an illusion.

Rick: Yeah, it’s kind of a game the ego plays. And I’m not accusing you of this, of course, we’re just playing with the concepts.

Takuin: I can see… I have a better understanding now that you’ve explained it a little bit here. And I can see both… I don’t see that they have to be separate. I mean, there may be atoms at the bottom of everything, or other molecules or whatever. And there may be a tree over here, but it’s all a part of the whole.

Rick: Yeah, exactly.

Takuin: And it’s not something that can be… I mean, you can say, “There’s an atom here in this little mechanical doodad. You can see all the atoms here, and there’s a tree over here”. You can say that, but it’s all a part of the same thing, in that sense. It’s all the universe, or it’s all the… whatever you want to call it. So I think the difficulty for me in the past was seeing a level as something that maybe is a fixed or a static point, or it’s an inevitability that a person has to be here. It’s almost as if we have this game of life by the cosmic Parker Brothers or something, and we have to go through… “Oh, we have to go back to… it’s like we have to do these certain things”. It’s all a part of the whole, so I can see that it is there, but I can also see that maybe it’s not so important, in another sense.

Rick: Yeah. I suppose the analogy of an ocean might be helpful, in which certainly there are levels to the ocean, but it’s all water, and the wholeness of the ocean, which is all water, contains all this other stuff, and all these other levels, and no one level of the ocean negates the rest of the ocean. It’s all contained within the one whole.

Takuin: I think that maybe part of the difficulty also is that I can’t stop and define it, in that sense. If I’m here now, I can’t define that as a particular stage or level, although someone from the outside might look at it and say, “Oh, it’s this, or it’s that, or it’s whatever”. That’s fine. No, I’m not denying any of that. But I can’t see it, either through my own deficiency or an inability to see, or it just doesn’t appear in life, in that sense. It doesn’t appear, meaning it’s not a conscious thought. It’s not like I’m thinking of being at a certain level, so I act in a certain way.

Rick: I don’t think anybody ever does, if they’re sincere and genuine. It’s not like, “Oh, I’m at such and such a level, therefore I should do this”. But in order to understand things, people like to categorize and define, and so we have this term “self-realization” to try to give a label to what you apparently have experienced. And then people have come up with other labels for further stages of development that they have discovered beyond the initial stage of self-realization. In India, which is kind of like the Eskimos have 20 or 30 names for snow, in India they have all kinds of very specific terms for all these subtle distinctions and gradations of experience and awareness, because that culture had a history of focusing on this kind of stuff so much so that they’ve evolved an intricate and elaborate structure of knowledge around it. And it’s interesting in your case, because you just stumbled into this innocently, almost literally, just sort of bingo – you had this awakening. And it’s kind of interesting that you’re evolving your own understanding of it without a lot of feedback from people who’ve books that are thousands of years old, or people who dwell on this all the time. You’re just kind of building it out of your own experience, and that’s kind of an interesting way to go. I’m not knocking it at all, I think it’s kind of fascinating. We were talking earlier about all the different flavors of awakening based upon… So this is your flavor, this is your approach. And who knows, maybe five years from now you’ll become a bookworm and you’ll be reading everything you can get your hands on.

Takuin: Yeah, you never know. A minute from now, I could die.

Rick: You could die, or you could actually lose this awakening you had. Who knows? Due to some physical change or something, rather. That does happen. I have one friend who was actually skiing down a very steep slope in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and suddenly had an awakening, much like the one you had. And he enjoyed this awakening for about three years. His name is Dan, and he used to sometimes refer to himself as… Well, there’s Big Dan and there’s Little Dan. There’s this cosmic sort of vastness, and then there’s this guy who’s living this life, who does this, who’s married to so-and-so. That was Little Dan. And then one day Big Dan got lost. And he came in totally despondent because he no longer had this vast awareness that he had enjoyed for three years. So I don’t know why he got it, coming down a ski slope, and I don’t know why it went away. But among all the possible things that can happen to people, that seems to be one of them.

Takuin: Well, I think over the years – and again, it’s probably my own inability to explain myself well, but in writing – I think some people got the impression that I was against it, meaning against studying other teachers or reading those kind of books, that sort of thing, which I have no feeling against that sort of thing.

Rick: I don’t get that impression from you. I haven’t read your website, but you seem very open-minded about allowing people to do whatever they do.

Takuin: And there might be a day, maybe, who knows, next week I might be at a bookstore and say, “What the hell? This book looks interesting. Why not find out what this person said?” And you never know what can really happen with those sort of things. But I think something that I used to emphasize, if I can remember correctly, was that it’s important to listen to everyone. But I don’t know that it’s so important to follow anyone, in that sense, of needing to be at someone’s feet.

Rick: I think for some people that’s valuable, it’s a stage, but it’s definitely another one of those things that could never be a universal prescription.

Takuin: Yeah, and it’s something that you cannot tell to some people.

Rick: Absolutely not.

Takuin: I’ve discovered.

Rick: And incidentally, regarding books, if Krishnamurti is the only spiritual book you ever read, let me tell you, there’s a whole world of possibilities out there. He was definitely a lot to wade through. But there are a lot of writers that are a lot more lucid and clear, easy to follow.

Takuin: Well, it’s a big world. I mean, that’s like only being introduced to Jackson Pollock as a modernist painter. There are so many other things. And the cultures of certain people might have some play in that flavoring that we discussed before. It’s not something to avoid. It’s not something to necessarily want to destroy your conditioning, in that sense. I mean, in one sense, it’s valuable to be able to see things without heavy influence, without some kind of glass that tells you what you’re seeing, as opposed to remove the glass and just see the damn thing. But there are certain elements of the way that we’re raised or the location that we’re born in that can just add such richness to the way we express ourselves. And I never want to give an impression to someone that any of that stuff should be denied, if it’s naturally present. If one is trying to make it happen, it’s going to seem artificial, and people aren’t going to believe it anyway. But what’s naturally present shouldn’t be denied, even if some teacher tells you that it should be. So there is some importance to being able to see this on your own, even when you’re kind of absorbing the words of other people, or hearing them speak, or whatever it happens to be. So it’s all valuable. But in the end, we only have ourselves. We see ourselves in the mirror. We lay down with ourselves at night. We have this brain here, and all these things, all this sensory stuff comes in every day. But in the end, it’s just us, in that sense, in that learning sense, in that kind of growing sense. And we can be influenced, but we can’t really be forced to grow in a particular direction. And I think maybe some sort of clarity is needed, or some kind of openness, or I don’t know the right word. Some people say “allowing”. I don’t know if that’s the right word either. But there needs to be a vitality that’s there, that you don’t usually see when you’re trying to block and destroy certain things, or trying to accept it so you’ll get what you want. There needs to be some kind of freedom there that’s usually lacking in someone that is trying to make something happen desperately, if that makes any sense to you, if I’m not rambling.

Rick: You’re rambling a little, but that’s okay. I was reminded of a Jimi Hendrix quote, he said, “I’m the one who’s got to die when it’s time for me to die, so let me live my life the way I want to”. That was in one of his songs. But I think, again, it’s a matter of stages. There are people who are in a stage where it’s very natural for them to be extremely dependent upon a leader of some sort, and not even think for themselves. It just comes naturally to them to be that way. And then they may go on that way all their lives, or they might reach a point at which they do begin to think more independently. And maybe when that happens, they find that it no longer fits for them to be in that group, or with that teacher, or following that politician, or whatever it is they’ve aligned themselves with. And in fact, in terms of legitimate spiritual teachers, they’re very often very happy when a student reaches that point where they’re ready to graduate, so to speak. And that can take many forms. They can be booted out, or they can lose interest, or they can get attracted by something else, or whatever. In most cases, what I find is that people who have gone through a transition like that look back with appreciation for whatever they have gained from that experience or that teacher, but feel like it no longer works for them. They no longer fit into that. And they might move on to another teacher, or they might just be on their own for a while, or for the rest of their life, or whatever. And again, it can take so many forms. And in your particular case, you have had an awakening, apparently, which some people beat their head against a wall for 30-40 years and go through all kinds of rigorous disciplines in order to have. And people hearing you, some of them might be rather envious, but who knows? If we believe in the theory of reincarnation, you might have been beating your head against a wall for quite a few lifetimes. And that’s sort of a silly expression, obviously. That wouldn’t be a legitimate spiritual practice. But you might have spent plenty of time meditating and bending yourself into pretzel postures and so on. And finally, you were ready to have that awakening as a result of all that spiritual practice, and it was a car horn that did it. It could have been anything else, but when it was time to happen, it happened.

Takuin: Yeah, it’s very difficult to say.

Rick: It is. We can’t say. We can all speculate, and it’s entertaining to do so, but who knows?

Takuin: Even after all this time, these almost four years now, I still enjoy the word. I still enjoy the conversation, the meeting with people, whether it’s just on an audio-only Skype call or something like this, or it’s meeting people in person. There’s something so energetic about conversation.

Rick: Yeah, I agree. That’s kind of why I like to do this show so much. It really boosts me up, gives me a weekly infusion.

Takuin: Yeah, because it’s not just a simple matter of waiting your turn, waiting for the other person to shut the hell up, and make whatever point you have to make. That’s not conversation at all. That’s just kind of boxing. You’re waiting to get the right hook in there and drop the person or something. But there’s something so vibrant there, because it’s like a game of improvisation in some ways. So there is maybe a hint of danger in that sense, because you never know which way it’s going to go, especially if you’re meeting someone for the first time, and you’re talking about delicate subjects. It can be interesting. But there is something so incredible there, just between the two people, if it happens to be two people, that I think I really enjoy that. I really enjoy being with people, but the last three years I’ve almost been with no one. There was a lot of… That first year was almost like living a silent retreat without having to pay for one. But the words eventually came back. But I love words. I love people and I love the interaction. It’s something that’s very… It can never happen the same way again.

Rick: I think it also has to do with the topic that we’re discussing. If we were just having an hour and a half conversation about the Red Sox versus the Yankees…

Takuin: Go Sox!

Rick: Go Yankees! I grew up in Connecticut, not too far from New York City. I don’t think it would have the same effect. There’s something kind of enlivening about… It enlivens something subtle, to talk about something subtle. That’s what satsang is all about, that Sanskrit word, which means basically a sort of a gathering of people for a spiritual discussion. It’s considered a spiritual practice in and of itself because it has a kind of a mutually awakening effect among all the participants.

Takuin: Well, it is a very liberating effect, if I can put it that way. It’s very easy to get so lost in what’s happening, in the interaction. It’s very easy to forget yourself once it gets going. I think that is something that might draw people to certain teachers or certain types of gatherings. Because it’s easy to… It’s not like you’re trying to ignore the person you are, you’re trying to reduce yourself, but when you’re there, you’re there. That energy is carried amongst all the participants, so it’s a beautiful… It kind of carries itself.

Rick: And very often in gatherings like that, people do have spiritual awakenings. It’s conducive to it. It can happen anywhere. In fact, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi said something that kind of reminded me of your experience. He said, “Even when the time is right, even the stench of a rotten bus might be the impetus for your awakening”. Of course, in your case it was a near accident that you had, but anything can trigger it. But still… you’re in Japan, there’s sort of a Zen saying which is that enlightenment may be an accident, but spiritual practice makes you accident-prone. And since we’re talking about a spiritual sangha or satsang, or gathering or interaction between people focusing on this particular topic, that in itself is known as a means of stimulating or eliciting that sort of awakening.

Takuin: Well, the seeking, although I was never a spiritual seeker, I think it would be wrong to say I was never a seeker. We can seek thousands of different things, and I don’t see much of a difference between seeking one thing or seeking another thing, because the objects of the seeking may be different, or what you’re going for might be different, but the mechanism that is allowing the seeking is the same amongst all the various directions or whatever. So I think I was a seeker in the sense that… I think I was always curious, but I was very suspicious maybe. And I was a seeker of truth, but not necessarily spiritual truth. So I think I enjoyed playing those kind of mental games.

Rick: Thought experiments?

Takuin: Yeah, that sort of thing. But I never thought of it as a spiritual thing. But I think the seeking is probably there for almost everyone.

Rick: Yeah, there’s somebody, I forget the guy’s name, but I read a quote recently in which he said it in a little bit more detail, but the essence of it was, we’re all on a spiritual path, all seven billion of us. And I think you just said it, basically, that regardless of what one is seeking, the fundamental force or motivation which causes one to seek is in the deepest sense the same thing. And one thing leads to the next. A person’s whole motivation might be to seek money. And at a certain point they might feel like, “Okay, well I’ve got money, or I don’t have money, but nonetheless that doesn’t seem to be doing it for me, so now what? What more can I find? Maybe a relationship or something”. And then at a certain point, “Well, what more is there?” There’s always this tendency to move in the direction of something more. And there are some people who say that seeking is a trap and you’re not going to find freedom until you drop it, but I think they might be putting the cart before the horse in that when you find freedom, you do drop it. But it’s not necessarily natural to drop it before you have found it.

Takuin: Those sort of sayings, it’s hard for me to understand sometimes. Like, “You have to do it this way because you’re just fooling yourself”, or, “It’s all an illusion, it’s all this, it’s all that, blah, blah, blah”. It gets tiring after a while.

Rick: Yeah, in some circles these days, especially Neo-Advaita circles, it’s very uncool to be a seeker. It’s considered to be something that just keeps you on the mouse wheel, relentlessly running around in circles. But as Christ put it, “Seek and ye shall find”. It’s a natural thing, I think, that people do. In my own opinion – and this is always subject to revision – it can be misleading to advocate that it be dropped prematurely. If a person is naturally inclined to seek, let them seek. If they reach a certain level of experience or realization, maybe that intense craving will just dissipate naturally. In a way, you could say, let’s take your experience for an example. I wouldn’t say you have any sort of intense craving or sense of seeking anymore, but you do engage, you have an interest in what we’re talking about here, otherwise you wouldn’t be talking to me. And you write stuff all the time, and you talk to people all the time. So even though that might not be out of a sense of lack or emptiness or yearning, there’s some gratification from it, there’s some kind of force which leads you to do those sorts of things, as opposed to watching soap operas all day.

Takuin: Well, I’ve thought about that. That’s very interesting. When you have those sort of feelings, when you’re getting something out of the interaction, or you’re feeling maybe you can’t quite express it, you just want to keep doing it, you feel right in doing it.

Rick: You enjoy it.

Takuin: I’m not sure that the desire is needed, in that sense. It’s not necessary for me to desire to want to talk to people, I’ll just talk to them, you know what I mean?

Rick: I think a desire can be subtle. A desire doesn’t have to be a craving that’s gnawing away at you. It’s just an impetus. You’re inclined to turn on the computer and write something and call somebody up and talk to them. Those are based on desires. If you get hungry, you have a desire to eat, and you go to the kitchen. So desire doesn’t necessarily mean something that is burning up inside you or trapping you in some kind of sense of lack.

Takuin: Not the Napoleon Hill-esque kind of desire?

Rick: Right. It’s just that which causes us to lift our hand or go to the bathroom or whatever. There’s always these little impulses to do this, do that, do this, do that. In your case, it sounds like it’s become a fairly major occupation or preoccupation to write and speak and think and talk about this kind of thing.

Takuin: Well, I think… I hope I can get it right this time. It’s just sitting in a room by myself. If I’m literally just sitting in a room, everything seems really flat or colorless, even though literally that’s not true. It seems very colorless, seems very… bland.

Rick: I was just going to say bland. Same word I was going to say.

Takuin: But I think one of the essences of being human is that relationship with other human beings. And something is different when someone else is there. There is some kind of richness that’s added to everything. Life is no longer flat, and things seem more colorful. You tend to be more awake in that sense. I mean literally awake, not like you’re kind of drifting off and dozing. And I don’t understand why people can’t see the richness in relationship. Just speaking with someone, just being with another person, or being married. It’s so much more fun to be married, I think, than to be single. I was single for a long time, and I’ve been married since 2006. It’s so much more fun to be with someone, to laugh, and to just do all the things that you normally would do to have that person to share all those things with. So maybe if desire is the right word, it may be out of a need for that vibrance to continue. I’m not sitting here thinking, “Oh man, this sucks. I’ve really got to talk to some people to get myself out of this funk or something”. It’s not like that. But there is some richness that’s added when you bring other human beings into the mix, into your life.

Rick: Yeah, absolutely. Even monks in monasteries, they have other monks that they interact with, and solitary confinement is considered one of the worst forms of punishment.

Takuin: But that brings up a question, at least in my mind it did, on the importance of silence. I think many people have written about silence, or the importance of silence, or the importance of being alone. Not necessarily lonely, but alone. And I wonder if I can ask you a question.

Rick: Sure.

Takuin: What do you think of the importance of being alone, being silent, being not necessarily isolated, but spending that kind of alone time with yourself to learn more about it? Do you think that sort of thing is essential for spiritual seekers?

Rick: I think it depends on the person. I meditate for an hour or twice a day, so that’s a form of silence. And some people go into extended periods of silence. In the old days I used to go on courses for six months at a time and do a lot of meditation. It sort of gets you away from the regular impact of the world on your senses and so on, and enables you to go deeper and establish something deeper, which then, when you return to activity, tends to be retained to a great extent. So I think there’s silence in the way you described it, in terms of an actual situation where you’re being silent and you’re in silence, in terms of other external stimuli. But there’s also a silence which I’m sure you can relate to, which is with you regardless of the external circumstances. If you’re walking down the street in Tokyo, I’m sure it’s very noisy and busy and there’s a lot of stuff going on, but don’t you have a sense of inner silence, if you want to call it that, which you just sort of reside in regardless of all the hubbub?

Takuin: Well, it’s very strange because sometimes there’s a surging of certain physical feelings. For example, I find it over the last few years, I don’t know if my hearing is getting bad, but there are certain times when I have to completely focus on the person’s face, otherwise I will not hear anything they say. And it’s not necessarily because there’s a lot going on. I mean, it usually happens if a train is going by, if there’s some sort of swelling of sound or vibration, but it’s so amplified in my head, I don’t know why that is. So Akiko, my wife, she knows all about this, so she knows when to stop talking to me.

Rick: Because you’re not listening.

Takuin: Well, because I can’t hear. I could be looking directly at her and I have to follow, like lip-read to hear her sometimes.

Rick: So where is your attention? Where is your hearing? What are you focusing on that you can’t hear her?

Takuin: It seems, I don’t know if this is true, it seems that I can’t filter out the sound.

Rick: You mean other sounds? You mean like the hum of the refrigerator and the traffic noise outside and whatnot? You can’t sort of discriminate between those and your wife talking so as to listen to her?

Takuin: It’s one sound.

Rick: What’s the one sound?

Takuin: Everything.

Rick: Oh, so you mean the conglomeration of all the other sounds in the environment. Now what if you were in a padded room, soundproof room, and someone was talking to you? Would that ever be a problem? Or in a situation like that where there’s nothing else going on but the one person you’re talking to, could that not happen?

Takuin: I’ve not found that. That’s interesting.

Rick: You mean it’s a hypothetical situation which you just haven’t tried, you mean?

Takuin: Yes.

Rick: Well, I don’t know what to say about that.

Takuin: I don’t know why that is. It’s hard because my vision hasn’t been affected in that sense. Although there has been some difficulty in seeing. It’s very strange, vision is very strange. I mean I have 20/20 vision and I don’t have any physical problems with my eyes. But it’s almost like you’re not seeing various things, you’re seeing one thing in a sense. And for the hearing, you’re not hearing individual sounds, you’re hearing sound.

Rick: I see.

Takuin: And for some reason, it hasn’t really happened, I’ve never gone blind. I mean I don’t even know how that would manifest itself physically. But for some reason it’s difficult to hear. The physical sensation is strange. And it is physical because it’s actual sound. It’s not like the sound of thought or something which has no real substance. It’s not a vibratory in the same sense as hitting something, there’s a vibration that you can hear. But it’s always a physical sound and it becomes overwhelming to the point where if someone is speaking to me, it’s like every sound is coming out of their mouth, every sound that is around me. And I don’t know why that is. And this could be part of the progression other people have told me about. But I don’t know about this.

Rick: It could be. I don’t feel qualified to say. You might want to watch the first interview I ever did. It’s with the Fosters and you’ll find it on batgap.com. But Mary Foster talked about how when she had her initial awakening, she couldn’t see or hear anything. She just kind of went into this white light or whatever. She was standing on the porch of her house. And she went for days without being able to speak or eat or do anything. And it’s not exactly what you’re describing, but it’s sort of like she went through this state which you wouldn’t really want to stay in because you couldn’t function in a state like that. And I suspect that in your case it’s not some kind of medical abnormality, that it’s a stage that you’re going through. And this gets back to my original point about progress. There’s transitions and stages and all kinds of things that you may end up going through that you have no idea. But I would suggest that it’s something that you’ll just evolve through and it won’t be something that plagues you all your life. That’s just my guess.

Takuin: But even so, there’s physical difficulties because I can’t hear what someone is saying. But I have no feeling or desire to get away from it. It’s almost like a cacophonous wave of everything you could possibly hear all at the same time. It’s not deafening. The decibel level isn’t particularly high if you’re sitting outside, even if a truck goes by. You’re not in danger of damaging your ears or whatever. But there’s something about that collection becoming one.

Rick: Yeah. There’s another thought that comes to mind. This is kind of interesting. I’m just playing armchair guru here because I don’t really know. But obviously as human beings we have filters which enable us to make sense of the world because if we were bombarded with all of the information that’s out there at any given time, we wouldn’t be able to function. It would just be overwhelming. So we necessarily have to filter most of it out and focus on one thing or the other thing. But thinking of various saints and gurus that I’ve read about or have known, they do have a tendency to be able to tune into a lot of stuff at the same time and comment on things that you wouldn’t have thought they would have known was going on. What somebody in the back of the room was thinking, for instance, while they’re in the middle of talking to somebody else or giving a lecture or something. They’ll come out with something in great detail that indicates that they knew exactly what this guy was thinking or what he was doing ten miles away before he got there. So obviously it’s possible to be tuned into a much broader range of detailed experience than we ordinarily are. And maybe, I’m just guessing, maybe you’re having some kind of taste of that and you haven’t integrated it yet. It’s at a stage where you’re just beginning to get glimpses of it and it becomes a sort of handicap because you haven’t learned how to function with it. As time goes on you’ll learn how to function with it better or maybe it will go away again entirely, I don’t know. It could very well be that something good is happening and it’s just a matter of time and maturation of the experience for you to get past the uncomfortable stage and integrate it.

Takuin: Well, it hasn’t killed me.

Rick: No, and as Nietzsche said, “Whatever doesn’t kill me makes me stronger”, right? After you had this awakening, you’d already been with the woman you ended up marrying or maybe you had married her, you said, a month or two beforehand.

Takuin: It was earlier that same year.

Rick: Yeah. Did she notice a change in you or other people close to you? Did they go, “Whoa, what happened to you? You’re different”.

Takuin: She’s very so open in a sense that it’s hard for her to see the difference, I think. We have a joke that if I don’t shave for a few days I can grow a mean beard. I can get a ZZ Top thing going really quickly. I can let a beard grow out for a month, a month and a half, two months, and I’m living with my wife every day. One day I’ll just shave it all off. She will not notice. She doesn’t notice anything like that at all. We’ve talked about this a lot. As a joke, I think it’s true. I don’t think it’s a joke. She says that she only sees my true nature.

Rick: That’s cool.

Takuin: Whatever I look like physically, it doesn’t matter. So I think…

Rick: “Maybe I should get a wig and come home with long hair someday. See if she notices”.

Takuin: Oh, the things I’ve thought of doing to try and be noticed. I think she is that way.

Rick: That’s nice.

Takuin: I think she has an uncanny ability to see, I think. So there is not much that she is ever confused about. She has this vicious sort of clarity, if that’s the right way to put it. I think she can see very clearly without too much imagery on her part. If one day I look like Billy Gibbons and then the next day I shave it off…

Rick: Billy Gibbons, by the way, is a TM teacher.

Takuin: Is he really?

Rick: Yeah, he was an old-time meditator and he went to courses and became a teacher. He probably doesn’t even meditate anymore, but he did that back in the ’70s.

Takuin: I had no idea.

Rick: Interesting little side light. So if one day you look like Billy Gibbons, that’s what you were saying.

Takuin: And then I shaved it off, she wouldn’t really notice. And then we have a special celebratory dinner if she does happen to notice, because it’s such a rare event for her to notice something different in me. So I think when all of this went on, I think she was that same sort of person. There may have been some things that she has gotten used to over the years. Like recently in the last year I’ve had difficulty hearing sometimes, and she’s kind of accustomed to that.

Rick: That thing you were talking about.

Takuin: Yeah.

Rick: Billy Gibbons, by the way, for the benefit of our listeners, is one of the guitar players for ZZ Top. That’s why he mentioned him, because he mentioned ZZ Top earlier. Did your wife have any sort of spiritual awakening herself, or an interest in that sort of thing, or is she just sort of naturally endowed with clarity and ability to see people’s essence?

Takuin: Well, she’s been working for a religious organization in Japan since she was 19 or 20.

Rick: Nichiren Shōshū Buddhism or something else?

Takuin: No, it’s called Seicho-no-Ie, and it was founded I think around the time of the Depression. And I’m not qualified to talk on it, you know. But I think its philosophy is that all paths lead to the same source. So it’s not exclusive in any sense. It does not turn away people. It does not say, “Well, you have to be this sort of person”. It’s very open and complete for anyone. And she’s been a part of that since, well, I guess it’s almost 20 years now. And she is a minister with Seicho-no-Ie, and she works in their international department. So yes, she has a huge background in spiritual teachings of that particular religion, but they also encourage reading other holy books. So she’s familiar with a lot of other things, way more than I am.

Rick: She can do your reading for you and just give you the essence of it.

Takuin: “So give me two sentences, honey”.

Rick: Give you the cliff notes. Good. Well, how are we doing? Is there anything else that we should be talking about that I haven’t thought to ask you, that you’d like to bring up?

Takuin: Well, I’m not much one for self-promotion.

Rick: All right, promote yourself. Go ahead. You have a website. We’re going to link to that. And what will people find if they go there?

Takuin: Possibly something interesting or possibly disappointment.

Rick: But they’ll be able to read things you’ve written, and if they’re really interested in doing so, they could have a Skype conversation with you or whatever.

Takuin: Yeah, and I’ve been doing that. I’ve been using Skype for that for the last probably close to two years now. But it’s been audio only, only until recently.

Rick: Yeah, and now you have this nice new computer and nice camera and headphones and everything, so they can do it by video.

Takuin: And it works.

Rick: Yeah, it looks great. I mean, this is one of the clearest ones I’ve done and you’re in Japan, so it’s cool. Do you charge for these conversations?

Takuin: No, I’m glad you brought that up. It’s something that would be so strange to me, because someone had asked me that before, and I think we’ve had conversations on the side about this through the comments. Like, “Do you charge for this?” or “Do you have an e-book? Do you charge for that?” It seems so strange that someone would charge for this kind of thing. It’s nothing. I mean, it’s important to people. I’m not saying it’s not, but it’s nothing. I mean, why should I… it’s like charging for breathing or using the restroom or something. I mean, it’s something that is so foreign to me. Now, I understand that people need to make money, and there are a lot of people talking about this, that promote themselves. And you mentioned the neo-Advaitists, if that’s – did I pronounce that correctly?

Rick: I think so.

Takuin: I think… I know the type of people you’re talking about, and it’s always very amusing to me that some of them promote themselves heavily and then tell the students that there’s nothing to do, nothing to find.

Rick: Right, and you don’t need a teacher.

Takuin: Yeah, so why do you need these to promote yourself? It’s just kind of a funny thing that I thought.

Rick: Much ado about nothing, as Shakespeare said.

Takuin: But I do this a lot, and the only thing that it requires is just to send an e-mail and let me know a time, and if I have time, we’ll talk for an hour or something, and it’s nothing. It’s free.

Rick: That’s great.

Takuin: Skype is free.

Rick: Yeah.

Takuin: I don’t use my home phone. We should take advantage of the technology while we have the chance.

Rick: Yeah. Well, I bet you that a lot of people who watch this will want to talk to you. Anyway, not all the people that I have interviewed have a set-up like that where you can just call and talk to them, but you’ve obviously put yourself out there as willing to do that, so we can say it now to anyone listening to this, if you want to have a conversation with Takuin, just Skype him. I guess if you go to your website, there’s an e-mail address and maybe a Skype address or whatever, so they know how to contact you.

Takuin: Yeah, on the contact page, all that information is there.

Rick: Good, good.

Takuin: I’d like to ask you a question, though, before we wrap all this sort of thing up.

Rick: Sure.

Takuin: Why did you decide to start doing this? What’s the story? If you can briefly tell me.

Rick: Yeah. Well, I have a long history of being interested in this sort of thing. I learned to meditate when I was 18 and now I’m 60, almost 61. So this sort of thing has been my primary focus most of my life. I worked for the TM movement for 25 years, teaching Transcendental Meditation and doing administrative tasks in that organization. And then for the last 15 years or so, I haven’t been doing that, just been living my life, earning a living and so on. But nonetheless, I continue to be fascinated with this sort of thing – reading things, listening to things. And I’ve also always had an interest in asking people questions and interviewing people. When I watch Larry King, I think, “God, I’d love to do that. He’s retiring. Why can’t I have his job?” So one night I was in the garage, working out on my Bowflex machine, listening to Adyashanti. And the idea just came, “I’ll do an interview show. That’ll be fun”. So initially I tried to talk my local radio station here into letting me do it there. And I did a pilot and so on. They kind of dragged their feet for a few months and finally said they didn’t want to do it. So then I thought, “Alright”. And friends were encouraging me to do it as video rather than just audio. So I went to the local public access TV station and they were gung-ho. They were looking for programming produced by local people, so we started taping them. And then at one point, they were taping against a green screen, which is then supposed to be replaced in the software with some nicer looking image. So if you look on the website now, you’ll see a bunch of videos we put up with this hideous looking green screen. They still haven’t gotten their software/hardware situation sorted out where they can replace the green screen. But I’ve just moved ahead anyway. And they still haven’t aired any of the things on this public access station. So at a certain point they said, “We’re not going to tape anymore until we solve our technical problems”. So I was wanting to get Skype going anyway and start interviewing people around the world. Because there are so many interesting people to talk to outside of my little town. So I figured out how to do it and got the right software and so on. Which, by the way, is called VODBurner. If anybody’s listening to this and is interested in taping their own conversations, it’s great software and the people who write it are really wonderful and cooperative and helpful. V-O-D-B-U-R-N-E-R. So the rest is history. I’ve just been doing these every week.

Takuin: Well, it seems like great fun.

Rick: It is.

Takuin: A great opportunity to really meet interesting people. Because I’ve watched a number of the interviews now since I think we first emailed each other in July sometime.

Rick: Yeah.

Takuin: And I’ve had the opportunity to watch a few of them. It’s very interesting. Especially, you know, I’m a nut for words. I love the words that people use. And it’s very interesting to me to see them express these things in ways that I would never think of doing. It’s just very fascinating to hear these people speak.

Rick: I agree. And that’s why I listen to a lot of stuff. In fact, on the site there are links to some other things like this. There’s Urban Guru Cafe and various other shows where people interview others and talk to them about this kind of thing. And I’m always listening to that sort of thing while I’m cutting the grass or brushing my teeth or doing different jobs. Just because I like to keep my attention on it. And I find it fascinating to hear various ways of expressing things. For instance, just the other day I heard an analogy which I thought was really cool, which was meant to illustrate the difference between sudden awakening, which we might say that you had, and gradual awakening. And the analogy used was that you could be out taking a walk and get caught in a downpour and you’re drenched. Or you could go take a long walk in a heavy mist and by the end of it you’re drenched. You’re just as wet. But in the case of the heavy mist, you can’t really say when you got wet. You know, just somehow, “I’m wet. I don’t know when it happened, but look at me”. So like that, some people have these sudden awakenings and they can tell you, they can mark it on the calendar and tell you the exact time of day and the exact circumstances. Other people, they feel, “Well, I’m awake, but I can’t really tell you exactly when it happened. It just kind of snuck up on me”.

Takuin: I think there’s no way that we can ever say that this is the end, meaning a particular state that someone is in. Like someone is awakened and they might think, “Oh, this is it, and I’m going to do this and that”. I think maybe in the beginning I had no way of seeing another way. I had no way of knowing that it could have been a level of this or it could have been a level of that. I think that when we were talking about levels, I think it could absolutely be true. Even if I can’t see it, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t take place. I think to think that this is the end, wherever you happen to be, there is absolutely no way of knowing that. You would do yourself a great disservice by assuming that you’ve hit your stride, you’ve hit your ceiling or whatever. I don’t know if continual growth is the right word, because it’s not necessarily a physical process as far as I can see, but there needs to be that openness. You keep walking, you keep moving, you keep getting older. There’s no real end to the way that you might progress. Even if there is a top level, I don’t know that that’s the top level. If someone happens to be there, they’re just going to keep going and keep going until the body says, “You know what? We’re done”.

Rick: Yeah, and then maybe they’re just done with that body, but there might be another body in which they continue progressing.

Takuin: And we don’t even know that.

Rick: No, we don’t. There’s this book I’ve mentioned a number of times on these shows that I’m slowly reading my way through, called Halfway Up the Mountain, The Error of Premature Claims to Enlightenment by Mariana Caplan. Just last night I was reading a chapter in which she talks about enlightenment as the beginning. She quotes all these teachers and Zen monks and various other people who have attained enlightenment who say, “That’s kindergarten. You get enlightened, you’re just starting out”. Obviously in one sense that’s not true, but from their perspective that was their experience, in that they realized that there’s so much more yet to explore once that awakening has taken place. I kind of like to think of it that way. I don’t find that at all discouraging, as some people might. Some people are like, “Oh my God, I’ve got to keep going”. But I think, “Oh boy, more fun than the candy store”.

Takuin: This might be an assumption, but I think that as the years go by, there will be some kind of richness that’s added to the whole thing. As you get older, as you meet more people, you travel to different countries, you do whatever it is that you do in your life, as the years go by, something is growing in that sense. Something is always kind of turning over and becoming new and fresh again. I think maybe it’s never right to say it’s the end.

Rick: No. I would suggest that perhaps you have already experienced the taste of that richness in the last three or four years since your awakening. What you just described is already happening to you, and it will happen to a much greater extent as the years go by, but there’s already some of that developing. Again, when there’s not a contrast – you experienced a contrast when you had that experience with the car, night and day difference – but a lot of growth takes place without any contrast. It just sort of sneaks up on you, it’s subtle. If you were somehow able to jump from where you were four years ago to where you are now, you might notice a contrast. You might think, “Whoa, I have changed quite a bit, I have grown quite a bit”. But it’s like a child growing. You don’t notice the change unless you put them up against the wall every now and then and make a mark. It’s just this subtle, subtle incremental growth.

Takuin: Maybe we can say at the end that richness is the inevitability. It’s not necessarily even death, although all physical organisms come to an end eventually. But that richness is inevitable. And to deny that, if someone is at the beginning of an awakened journey, or however we might say it, to deny that there may be richness added in the future is to kind of cut yourself off from other possibilities.

Rick: Yeah, and how do they know that that’s not going to happen? There’s one teacher whose name I won’t mention, but I was listening to a talk by him, and he was saying, “There is no God, that’s just a concept that people create to entertain themselves. There is no reincarnation and all this stuff”, because from his perspective there is no self and the world is an illusion, so then how could all these things have any reality to them? But how does he know that? He’s speaking from his perspective and everyone is entitled to their perspective. But to be fundamentalist about it, to be adamant, to me is not a totally mature perspective. In fact, again, another thing I’ve mentioned in several interviews, but I think it was Nisargadatta who said that a nice measure of spiritual awakening is the degree to which you’re comfortable with ambiguity and paradox. In other words, you don’t try to glom on to some certainty and adamant perspective or belief and say, “This is the way it is and I won’t take any objections to this”. There’s a great saint named Ammachi, or Amma, whom you may know that I go to see a lot. Almost every time she gives a lecture she always says, “We should always have the attitude of a beginner, just always have this attitude that we..”. Well, she doesn’t elaborate on it too much, but I think that’s just what you’re saying, that we really don’t know.

Takuin: Perhaps in the beginning, after that had happened and I’d been writing for a year. I don’t know that adding experience was necessary, although there were experiences, and I don’t know that adding more words would have been necessary, but clearly there is something that… I don’t know if it’s evolution. Richness is the word I’m using. There’s a richness that is here that I’m not sure was present before.

Rick: Before your awakening or three years ago after your awakening, even then you didn’t have the richness and now you’re beginning to have it.

Takuin: After I’d begun writing.

Rick: Yeah, yeah. So richness is developing, in other words.

Takuin: Yeah, yeah. And that’s just a word, but there’s something…

Rick: The cake is getting iced.

Takuin: Perhaps. But there’s just so many things to experience, so many things to learn, so many people to meet, so many animals to see.

Rick: Yeah.

Takuin: It seems like every week if I… I like Discovery Channel and those sort of things, and it seems like I’m always watching some new documentary with an animal that I could never imagine had existed prior to this. So it’s just… There’s so many things that we can’t fathom. There is a massive magnitude of this richness that can be had.

Rick: And some people might say, in hearing you say that, “What does that have to do with awakening?” Because there are plenty of scientists who are inquisitive and who are fascinated and who devote their lives to exploring new things and all. But I think there’s a subtle difference in which you’re – maybe not so subtle – in which what you’re saying is, it’s not that you’re just investigating a particular niche of knowledge or something and exploring that, but that you’ve gained a foundation which is fundamental to all knowledge and all experience, and then on the basis of that foundation, you’re finding fascination in the details of expressed creation. You could even say that this is sort of… There’s one thing, again, that Maharishi Yogi used to say, was that after self-realization, what begins to grow is the ability to appreciate, to appreciate creation, and that it grows to a degree that wouldn’t have been possible before the self-realization, but that as it grows, one grows in the direction of knowing God, because as the appreciation gets more and more and more profound, the desire to know the Creator begins to dawn in you. In other words, you begin to appreciate creation so much, the desire to know, “Who created this? I’d like to meet the artist who painted this beautiful painting”. And so that desire grows and grows and eventually is fulfilled. So that might be an indication of what this richness you’re referring to is leading toward.

Takuin: Yeah, well, there’s not a prescription for awakening, as you know. There’s not a one-size-fits-all thing. There’s not a particular set formula that you can follow to get that thing. So the awakening is not dependent on knowledge or doings in that sense.

Rick: No, I wasn’t saying that.

Takuin: Yeah. But the awakening itself can be enriched by those things.

Rick: Exactly.

Takuin: So one doesn’t bring it about, but this can kind of–I don’t know if the word “grow” is right– flowering, kind of like a flower opening. It can flower in its own way based on the journey, if that makes sense. Not the path, but how one lives, how one moves, how one goes through their life. So these things shouldn’t be denied, even though people say, “Oh, it’s all an illusion, it’s all this and it’s all that”. If it’s all an illusion, why do these people argue so heartily that it’s all an illusion? I don’t understand.

Rick: Yeah, and there are a great many teachers who have said that at a certain point the world becomes your guru. In other words, everything has a lesson to teach you and everything has an evolutionary value. And perhaps it’s always that way, but at a certain point it becomes consciously so. And again, what you’re saying reminds me of that, that the fascination you find in talking with people and watching the Discovery Channel and all that, it’s serving as, we could say, an evolutionary technique or a spiritual practice to enliven or unfold more and more facets of your awakening. Does that ring true?

Takuin: Yeah, I think that’s true. But maybe two years ago it was impossible to see those sort of things. I don’t know why that is. I think that in itself is interesting.

Rick: I think one explanation of why it might be is that the evolutionary force is irrepressible. It’s that which breathes life into us all, it’s that which moves the planets and stars, which gave rise to the universe in the first place, and which has found a certain degree of fulfillment in actually evolving a form complex enough to reflect back and know itself through. But it doesn’t stop there, because it keeps on, like the Energizer bunny, keeps on going. So there’s going to inevitably be further unfoldment. It might take surprising twists and turns, but I think you’re getting on to it with this richness word. It’s that same evolutionary force which brought about your initial awakening, is bringing about further enlivenment, and who knows where it will lead as the years go by.

Takuin: I think that’s true.

Rick: Good. Well, that might be a good stopping place. Not that there is any good stopping place, because this is a lot of fun and we could keep going all night.

Takuin: I don’t know if I’m able to make myself clear sometimes, and I appreciate you having the patience to listen to the ramblings on this side of the world.

Rick: I think you’re pretty clear, and I’m rambling too. I babble a lot of times and I listen to myself afterwards and think, “Oh God, can’t you just condense that to about a quarter of what you just said?” But this is how you get better at it. You just do it.

Takuin: Well, English is one of the best languages for rambling. I think there’s a great joy in that expression. I mean, in any language, not only English. I appreciate the communication here, and I feel, I don’t know, a few feet higher than I did when we first started. It feels energetic. This is the right feeling. This is the way it feels to share.

Rick: Yeah, and I hope our listeners feel that too. If they don’t, they’re probably disconnected by this time. Good. Well, thanks. This has been a lot of fun. And as I often say to guests, maybe we’ll do it again in a year or two and see what has unfolded in the interim.

Takuin: Absolutely. I’m always up for a good chat.

Rick: So, thank you. This has been Buddha at the Gas Pump, another episode, episode number 35, I think. I’ve been speaking with Takuin Minamoto from Tokyo, Japan, originally from Boston. And my name is Rick…

Takuin: Originally from Indiana.

Rick: Oh, Indiana, okay. Then through Boston, via Boston to Tokyo. And my name is Rick Archer. And next week I think I will be interviewing the person I said I was going to be interviewing last week, who had a family emergency and had to cancel, a gentleman named Richard Schooping, who says that he recovered from AIDS as a result of a spiritual awakening that he had. And he’s a musician and so on. So, if all has worked itself out in Richard’s life, he may be next week. Otherwise, it will be somebody else. So, thanks a lot and we’ll see you next time.