Tag Archives: it is your mind which creates this world

Here’s a radical idea…. the Landlord as employee.

To my thinking a landlord is an employee of the tenant. The tenant is hiring the landlord to do a job and is going to pay them for the services they provide. In this case why not have a letter of recommendation from your last employer ? If you are a good landlord then your tenant might be happy to provide one for you. If you want to set yourself apart from other landlords you can bet that this will do it !

Here’s one I just received….

September 29th 2014

Dear future renters,

(Name removed) was my landlord for three years and I can say without reservation that he is the best I ever had. And I have had a lot! Unlike so many, he is sane, consistent, unerringly reasonable and fair. With ______, I always knew where I stood.

If something wasn’t working, he fixed it right away. Even when he was on vacation he responded to my texts and calls quickly. Never once did I have to leave a second message.

As a tenant, I also appreciated his concern for the environment. He invests in his properties to keep them energy efficient. The windows are well sealed and the furnaces are extremely efficient. As a result my bills were lower and I didn’t have to feel guilty heating the place to a livable level, as I have in other, draftier places.

When we moved out, _____ gave us all our deposit money back (except for $35 which we totally owed!) and I never had to worry about it. When applying for the apartment ______ showed his letters of recommendation from former tenants and I really appreciated it. I’m thrilled I get to write one for him now.

________ has my wholehearted recommendation. If we hadn’t bought a house, we might never have left. You’re in good hands if you rent from him.

All the best,

Tenant name removed for privacy.

Zen Practice, Stress, and Dealing with Mindless Entities

I’ve been feeling particularly good for the last 10 days having just finished a 5 day retreat at the Zen Center of Portland.  However, my serene state was ruffled substantially yesterday by two situations in which I was confronted by mindless entities which considered me threatening. I, unfortunately, felt threatened in response. While a “perfect Buddha” might have a compassionate reaction to “mindless entities,”  my response has been much more self centered than that. Since Zen practice is all about Awareness, I can only experience the bodily tension, and notice the thoughts arising in response to the current situation, as best I can. Although thoughts and physical sensations are both “empty” they don’t feel that way right now, at 2 am on a Wednesday in May. I feel a sensation of tightness in my torso which I am not liking, and angry and hurt thoughts are racing. One of my least favorite situations are those in which I feel “wrongly accused.” Eventually “experiencing” these things will lead me to remember that there is no “me” and a moment of liberation will occur, but “I” am not there yet. I will definitely talk to my teacher, Larry Christensen soon, about this.

The first teacher I encountered yesterday was the bank that holds one of my mortgages. Last month, apparently while writing my mortgage payment, I had a “senior moment” and wrote them a check for $60 less than the amount I owed. I have no explanation for this. In response, the mindless “system” perceived me as a threat to the corporation, and counted my payment as a non-payment. Apparently, if you pay even 1 cent less than your mortgage payment, the mindless, intelligence-less computer system at these places decides that you have not made a payment at all. Consequently, even though I have not missed a mortgage payment since 1987, with a variety of companies, I was left dealing with 2 aggressive bank employees out to correct a miscreant (in this case me) who was avoiding paying them their due. In addition, my crime was reported after 30 days to a credit agency which would then apparently downgrade my credit score, and make my future dealings with banks more difficult and costly. Suddenly, because of what was essentially a “typo” I have been branded as someone who has missed a mortgage payment. Unfortunately, I took this quite personally.

The second teacher I encountered yesterday was a snarling Doberman Pinscher who was apparently very threatened by the fact that I happened to be walking past her yard. My usual response to a dog like this is fantasies of shooting them with a .22 pistol. I have never owned a .22 pistol, but when I was young I did go hunting with my Father and Brother, and when confronted by a snarling beast I often mentally reach for a gun which exists only in my mind. This very compassion-less response is somewhat embarrassing to a long time practitioner, but, I think we all need to be honest about who we are, acknowledging what arises, particularly if it is something we would rather not admit. Joko Beck often reminded us to be honest with ourselves.

Yesterday, I noticed that the dog seemed even more upset if I looked it in the eye, so I paused for a moment to experience the fear and anger from my side of a more than adequate chain-link fence. There was a moment of compassion for the dog and, it’s state, as we faced each other.  The snarling never lessened, and I found myself thinking, “Why ? Why ? Why ?” I got no answer, but just thinking of it now, 12 hours later, there is a feeling of nausea. The answer, if there is one, lies inside that feeling, I know.

In conclusion I can only say that dealing with mindless entities is confusing and frustrating, and we may as well acknowledge that. We can only experience the self centered response we have to these beasts as best we can with full faith that these teachers shine a light on our sometimes hidden self-clinging in a particularly acute way. A soft caring attitude towards our small selves can only help us see our way into the light. When we forgive ourselves for being just who we are, right now, seeing our own intrinsic innocence, a door can open into more liberation and compassion.




“Why do you care ? You don’t live here.”

Last week I was having a gas line installed in order to convert an old oil furnace to a new gas furnace. Since I like to be onsite whenever there are contractors at any of my places, I showed up about half way through the installation process for the gas line and meter. I mentioned to the guys that I was glad of the meter placement because I didn’t want the meter in front of a beautiful brick chimney on the side of the house.  The pipeline installer ( he didn’t work for the Gas company) responded, “Why do you care ? You don’t live here.” About half an hour later, he mentioned that he used to own some rentals, but sold them, because he “got sick of the hassle.”

If you have a feeling that you don’t care about your places because you don’t live there, you shouldn’t be a landlord. Your tenant will know that you don’t care, and then they won’t care.        ( Most tenants, there are some exceptions, are certainly not going to care about your place more than you do) They won’t be responsible in the way they treat it, they will be problems that you will then have to remedy, and you too will “get sick of the hassles.”

“It is your mind which creates this world” – The Buddha

This guy did a great job of self creating the world of the miserable landlord, with miserable tenants.