Zen Master Charlie Roshi

I need to introduce Charlie. Ervin says Charlie is a Zen master because: ‘You can ask him any question, and he will not answer.’


I think Charlie is just a bear, at least when I bought him he was. I bought him to give to Ervin because he had never had a soft toy when he was a kid. (I didn’t either, but I had a loving family and lots of animals)

So I gave this bear to him and he said, ‘Thanks,’ and sat there reading, occasionally giving a quizzical look sideways at the bear. Later he came into my room and said,’Is this bear male or female?’
I said, ‘I can’t decide that; it’s not my bear. What do you think?’
Whereupon he got impatient and said, ‘I’m asking you! Is this bear male or female?’
‘Male.’ I said, because it obviously is.

Five minutes later Ervin came back into my room, put the bear in my hands and said, ‘What’s his name?’ To which I said again that it wasn’t my bear, and he needs to name it. And again he got impatient and said, ‘Just tell me his name.’ So I had a good look into the face of the bear and said, ‘Charlie.’

Charlie’s been around. He comes camping with us and even has his own photo album of his travels and daily life. Here he is at Mount Monster.



Directing Ervin, who is making a sculpture.


And again in the sand hills at Katarapko Creek, South Australia.


A damn cold morning, camping at Wreck Crossing, The Coorong.
But he loves being home too, here he is reading about Chris Drury. (wonderful artist)


He doesn’t mind the odd tipple.


And, like Ervin, he has his morning sit, wherein he has no trouble at all being empty of thoughts.


into space
into one
into the essence
of Buddha Nature

This is in response to Carpe Diem #394 Horinji (temple 9) where we chant the mantra, ‘Nômaku Sammanda bodanan baku.’ It means ‘Homage to all the Buddhas’. And, to quote Kristjaan, ‘it refers to all and everything, because all and everything can become Buddha.’

A little tongue in cheek, Zen Master Charlie Roshi just proves it.

48 thoughts on “Zen Master Charlie Roshi

  1. What a patient bear. My pal was a worker bunny. A paper-mache bunny striding purposefully along with a woven basket back-pack, in which the Easter candies were tucked. I always loved him. But he was dramatically destroyed in an instant. Decades after he first brought me chocolates and jelly beans, I heard a crash from the living room. Since I was home alone at the time, it gave me quite a start. I cautiously crept into the kitchen . . . where the ceiling light had come smashing down on the table. Unfortunately, my worker bunny met his demise. I miss him. But a friend found a tiny figure of a gardener rabbit, pushing a wheelbarrow of carrots. He’s my new worker bunny.

  2. Belinda, what a lovely story- I haven’t met anyone that doesn’t have a soft spot when it’s about teddy bears. You, Charlie .. and the story gave my afternoon a soft smile, thanks.

        1. I’m sure he’ll have more to say. Might be a little while until I am the light-hearted enough. I am about to enter the tunnel of the public side of art, organising the launch of my book, something I am not well suited for, organisation and time management (among other things) not my forte. I am trying to work on not falling into anxiety. la de da. Time I spoke to Charlie Roshi. And got on with it without whining. I have just finished “the Pilgrimage”. Have I learned nothing? Onwards, to fight the good fight!

        2. The Witch of Portobello? For sure worth reading. Paulo Coelho has written wonderful novels. The most recent novel was “Manuscript found in Accra” which he published at the beginning of 2013. A very nice novel too.

  3. I thoroughly enjoyed this. The photos are terrific and the story that accompanied them just plain makes sense to me. 🙂

  4. More magical every time I spend some time with Charlie!

    I’m so glad our mutual friend in NZ followed up upon my request to say “Hi” for me to you! She obviously did and here you are! I miss you…your haiku…your marvelous sense of humor…just everything!

    Please give my regards to Ervin! We old farts and heart-surgery survivors have to stick together!

    Gotta run! Breakfast is calling!


    Ron — Haiku Odyssey.com

    1. Charlie has taken to sleeping in the bed with us. Ervin is extremely well, much less lumpy than Charlie, but more cheeky.
      I have been thinking of you, and a few other other-side-of-the-world friends lately. I will start blogging again soon because I do miss you all. Have to finish some training, then, hopefully, I will have some free mind space.

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