Index of Writing and Video Works

Photograph taken from Amtrak train to Boston, leaving NYC.

My newest travel essay: The Muslim World


Documentary Films & Short Videography:

Video recollections of Chögyam Trungpa.


Feature length and short films by Bill Scheffel



Cambodia & Vietnam Essays: Go to the Cambodia sub-menu.






Essays on the Drala Principle:

IMG1Reflections of the Drala Principle. 07-July: 2012. An introduction to various meanings and implications of the drala principle.

Connection with the Invisible: Posted 12-Dec: 2012. An Interview with Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche on the Drala Principle.

Passion for the Intangible. 04-Dec: 2012 In falling-apart inner priorities become more vivid, as confusion does. Our longing or passion for the intangible becomes more intense...

"DRALA" or "DRALHA"? - Two ways to understand the inner aspect of the drala principle.


Essays On Vertical Time:

WorldTree1The World Tree and Vertical Time. 23-Sept: 2012. Connections between trees, consciousness and the human body.

Wheel of Vertical Time: An understanding and practice of vertical time in the four directions.

What is Vertical Time yoga? 14-Sept: 2012. Background of VTY; personal biography, meditation, inhabiting the body.

Art and Vertical Time. 31-Aug: 2012.explores walking a museum to allow the accidents to come forth, the liminal presence that grabs one - often from the corner of the eye.

Food & Transformation. 23-Aug: 2012. Hestia, goddess of the hearth; the transformation of food and of friendship.

Food, Meals and the Portals of Vertical Time. 12-Aug: 2012. The feast as portal to the unseen world, to the unconditional.

I Ching: The Four Eternal Hexagrams and the Shambhala Path of the Warrior:
Learn more about the
I Ching and its relationship to horizontal and vertical time:

The Light of Time: An essay on vertical time, reflecting on the death of my mother, time as circle and the "goal" of philosophy.

Prophetic Guidance and Vertical Time: A travel-writing essay, or Reflections on Henri Corbin from Istanbul.

The Body is a Fiesta: Naps, Meditation & Vertical Time - The clarity of our insight or celestial nature arises within ourselves, it is innate, yet is not something we can claim as "ours." It cannot be domesticated, but is like a wild animal that just appears. Read more...

Essays on the I Ching:


I Ching: The Four Eternal Hexagrams and the Shambhala Path of the Warrior:
Learn more about the
I Ching and its relationship to horizontal and vertical time.

Also: See my class, I Ching and the Human Body ~ The I Ching is a mirror that can align us with our creative potential and the somatic wisdom of our body. Read more...




Essays on Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi:

IMG3908God is a Beautiful Being Who Loves Beauty: Ibn 'Arabi, Dharma art, Juliette Binoche and the Paris Metro.

The Light of Time: An essay on vertical time, reflecting on the death of my mother, time as circle and the "goal" of philosophy.



Travel Writing:

IMG0462CAMBODIA: Go to the Cambodia Sub-menu

Light of Time: An essay on vertical time, reflecting on the death of my mother, time as circle and the "goal" of philosophy.

Prophetic Guidance and Vertical Time: A travel-writing essay, or Reflections on Henri Corbin from Istanbul.

See Blog entries below for many more travel writings.


Other Subjects:

DoveinSunburst2Father as Ancestor: An essay on the death of my father, the journey of loss and the discovery of ancestors and the support they make available to us.

God is a Beautiful Being Who Loves Beauty: Ibn 'Arabi, Dharma art and the Paris Metro. Posted 10-Jan: 2013

FALLING IN LOVE WITH A BUDDHA : Posted 27-December: 2012. Book review of a a memoir by Frank W. Berliner.

What is Depression? An exploration of an altered state.

I Have No Pill For You; or How I Came to Spent Five Nights in a Psych Ward. 28 Nov: 2012. Reflections on psychosis or "spiritual emergency" and a near-death experience that followed it.

What is Celtic Buddhism? 7-Sept: 2012. Insights on Celtic Buddhism, a lineage-stream from the teachings of Chögyam Trungpa, founded by John Perks.

Candor Ends Paranoia: A Tribute to Allen Ginsberg. Recollections from studied and contacts with Allen Ginsberg.

Poems & Prose Poems:
Poems and prose-poems written between 2003 and 2013
To Love is to Confess We Are Loved; poems and prose poems 2015



LDBetween 2010 and the end of 2011, just before beginning this website, I ran a blog called The Drala Principle: A Vestigial Curriculum of the Western Mountain. I approached journalism/travel writing through the lens of the drala teachings, going to where I felt called or where I might meet inspiration-in-action. I carried my camera and sometimes shot short video pieces, since for me the visual stimulates my writing.


NECESSARY ANGEL - Text and video interview with Henry Shaffer who tells his story of the connection between the poet Wallce Stevens and Chögyam Trungpa.

CREATIVE FECUNDITY - A journey to the poignant and unexpected world of Porfirio Vasquez and his art.

"DRALA" or "DRALHA"? - Two ways to understand the inner aspect of the drala principleIt occurred to me that this would be a good time to return to the root of this website, which is the drala principle. I came across a definition of drala from the Rigpa Shedra Wiki, the "online encyclopedia of Tibetan Buddhism"...

NINE MINUTES OF SILENCE - A camera takes me back to the Vietnam war and forward to Occupy Wall Street.The camera above was used to shoot one of the most iconic photographs of the Vietnam war. It is also an example of camera as weapon/art as weapon. The photograph, by photojournalist Eddie Adams (see below), shows a soldier (actually a general) of the South Vietnamese army executing an alleged Viet Cong prisoner...

THANKSGIVING DAY, OCCUPY WALL STREET, WASHINGTON DC - I bought $80 worth of roasted chickens at the Peruvian rotisserie and hailed a cab for McPherson Square...

VOYAGE TO OCCUPY WALL STREET, WASHINGTON D.C. - Lisa knew that the OWS Washington DC tent city was located at McPherson Square, so that is where we went next, and where my own experience of OWS crossed over from virtual to visceral, where my story-line went from mediated and imagined to concrete--grass and a refugee camp of tents, tarps, and chaos, a sampling of particularity at 11:17 AM on the day before Thanksgiving...

VOYAGE TO ROMANIA - I'd found a $128 flight from Istanbul to Bucharest and sensed this was the route to begin my journey back to the U.S. In the late afternoon on October 31st I found myself on a bus from the Bucharest Airport to the hotel where I'd made a reservation, chosen once again through the internet. Only later did I realize I had arrived in Romania on Halloween...

THE GOOD SOMETHING & THE HAND OF GOD - A story by Patricia Friedson and a video interview with Tom Pathe.

BURSA & GEMLIK - Gemlik is an explosion of apartment buildings on the edge of a bay, one side occupied by the cranes that unload container ships and some kind of refinery, with dozens of smokestacks emitting white smoke and fumes day and night...

INFINITY OF TRACES - My sixth-floor hotel room has a windowed door that opens onto a small patio and comes with a view of the traffic circle and much of the city of Bursa. In this Mediterranean climate, it has not been warmer than 89F or cooler than 70F for the last three weeks and so I leave the door open... (Also Rigdzin Shikpo about meeting Chogyam Trungpa.)

TWO MUSICIANS AND ONE TITANTIC MUSICIAN - A video tribute to three street musicians.

VISCERAL - Doesn't loadSince selling or mostly giving away my possessions, save some of my library, papers and singular and precious things such as family photographs, art works of my son, myself and others - putting all this in a five-by-five foot storage locker - I have been living out of a suitcase, staying in hotel rooms (mostly) or with friends for almost a year now...

SUN AND GATE - This Western Mountain blog of writings and photographs is from Turkey, where I am exploring relationships between (Vajrayana) Buddhism and (mystical) Islam, and more specifically between the teachings of Lord Mukpo and Ibn 'Arabi...

ALONENESS, FAITH, TRANSMISSION, DURATION - That Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Shunryu Suzuki-roshi shared a close friendship is familiar lineage lore for many and a central story in the history of Buddhism coming to the West. It is also part of the living memory of those who knew both teachers. Perhaps Jakusho Kwong-roshi stands as a premier witness of this friendship. - A video interview with Kwong-roshi.

DECLINE OF THE AUTOMOBILE - I sold my last automobile six years ago and I hope to never own another one. After I'd taken the car away from him, I drove my father's car intermittently over these last couple of years, but I sold it too. Studebaker, Mercury Comet, Dodge Coronet, Toyota Camry: middle-class cars of the American dream...

PENN STATION AND VERTICAL TIME - My inquiry into vertical time continues. Today's assignment has put me on a train from Plandome, Long Island to Penn Station, NYC. It was last Saturday I discovered New York's Pennsylvania Station was once a grand terminal, like Gare (now MusŽe) d'Orsay in Paris or Grand Central Terminal..

TRIBUTE TO EAMON KILLORAN - The photograph above shows Eamon Killoran eleven months ago. A few weeks after this picture was taken, Eamon learned he had cancer. In less than a year he was dead. I took the photograph of him in Portland, Oregon, soon after I had arrived for lunch at the home of mutual friends...

ANCESTORS & VERTICAL TIME - My mother, Alice Scheffel, died on April 17th, 2008 - exactly three years ago - and I am suddenly finding myself preparing a blog entry to acknowledge her on this day, an inspiration that came to me only an hour ago. In presenting this entry for my mother, perhaps it will become a moment for readers to remember, and feel the presence of, their own ancestors...

PRINCIPLES OF DHARMA ART "AN OPEN, EXPLORATORY ADVENTURE WITH NO CONCLUSION - My meeting with Jack Niland two weeks ago was a kind of re-union with 1976 or, I might say, 1976 required me finally to have this meeting (no more than an accident). That summer, Jack taught a four-week class on the "dharma art" principles he had learned from Chogyam Trungpa...

THE HANDMADE LIFE - All of the artworks on this post were done by my friends and many were given to me as gifts: postcards, greeting cards, birthday cards and condolences upon my mother's death. Most if not all were make of "junk" - things that have been or otherwise would be thrown away: old magazines, cardboard boxes, business cards. The products of imagination, accident, affection - premier creations of the handmade life...

WAR, THE DRALA PRINCIPLE & THE HANDMADE LIFE - The United States in its role as one of the world's latest empires (since 1991 the only empire) has unleashed drone strikes, depleted uranium bullets and death squads in the name of democracy upon third-world countries for decades. In these nearly continuous wars (many covert and unreported at the time, such as the carpet-bombing of Cambodia in the early 1970s) the worst of the violence typically hits the countryside, rural areas where collateral damage goes particularly unnoticed or uncared about, places were life is still "indigenous and simple"...

VICTORY OVER WAR - An entire body of Chšgyam Trungpa-Lord Mukpo's teachings was captured in a phrase he gave to his students, Victory Over War. Initially, this body of teachings had to do with protection; that a talk on Buddhism, say, needed to be given under a correct set of circumstances in order to be effective. A certain precision, decorum and beauty needed to be established for an audience to open to the teachings. The audience needed to feel safe and welcomed, yet also provoked toward clarity, becoming awake...

AN OCEAN WITHOUT SHORE - One of Lord Mukpo's instructions for invoking drala is a three-step process that begins with a sudden flash of mindfulness, bringing one's aspiration onto the spot - coffee shop, intimate conversation or hospital bed. The second step is to remember our ancestral lineage, the lineages that culminate in this very moment we inhabit...

BORN INTO THIS - The catastrophe of our invented necessity for ever higher standards of living contrasts with the drala principle, which could simply be called the spirit of appreciation. Appreciation fills one with contentment, does not in itself require consuming and stays as part of the makeup of our psyche (or as a positive seed in the alaya vijnana, as Thich Nhat Hanh would say). My mother, Alice Scheffel was a warrior of this kind, someone who understood that life in its gratuitous beauty - as nature - was something to appreciate and serve... (A video tribute)

A GRADUAL JOURNEY TO THE OIL CATASTROPHE (PART III) - Three of my walks in New Orleans took me into the Ninth Ward and the Lower Ninth Ward, the primary neighborhoods that delivered pictures to the world of people left behind, stranded on their roofs in the floods when water driven by hurricane Katrina breached the levees. In the handful of off-the-cuff video interviews I conducted on my walks, my inquiries began with questions such as "How is the oil spill effecting you?" or about water in general, but increasingly I found myself simply wanting to ask people, "What do you want?"...

A GRADUAL JOURNEY TO THE OIL CATASTROPHE (Part ll) - Three weeks ago I decided to spend a week in New Orleans, traveling there after a wedding I was invited to attend in Chicago, and before visiting my son in Portland, Oregon, where I am now. Now I am standing in my son's bathroom (he is still asleep, this is where I can work without disturbing him) before my computer and a large, toothpaste splattered mirror. Now I am left facing myself in the mirror, as one always, so to speak, is...

A GRADUAL JOURNEY TO THE OIL SPILL (Part l) - Walking is like writing in that each is a narrative, a collection of images one notices or is sometimes impaled upon. Walking, say, from one end of the airline terminal to the other entails countless decisions, small and barely conscious left and right turns, people we look at or choose not to, the way a thought influences the hunch of our shoulder or whether we are able to smile when asked for our photo I.D...

HUGE CHOICE EACH MOMENT - To begin this week, I'd like to invite you to consider writing on any of the subjects on this journal. Normally a "blog response" is an opinion about a topic; not that I don't welcome any response, but the idea of "writing" is slightly different, "You will write not if you think of writing as a result but as a discovery" (Gertrude Stein).

SLOWNESS, MORE TEARS - This week continues the themes of slowness, more tears (and adds the theme of "lineage"). It begins with a package that arrived on Monday that looked so big for a CD. Wasn't until I opened it that I realized I'd purchased the vinyl version of Dengue Fever Presents: Electric Cambodia. So I got my parent's turntable out of the storage locker and gave it a spin...

SLOWNESS, MORE TEARS, WATER NON-DECEPTION - I wrote the above during a three-month ÒpilgrimageÓ I took in late 2004, a trip that took me to Italy, Malta, Turkey and Southeast Asia. Shortly after my return to the United States I taught a weekend meditation program. On Sunday afternoon, at the end of my final talk I decided to let myself have no idea what I would say next. I said that to the group, "Now I'm going to say something and I have no idea what it will be." Four words came to me and I spoke them aloud: slowness, more tears, water.

Jakusho Kwong-roshi on Chögyam Trungpa - A dharma heir of Shunryu Suzuki-roshi, Jakusho Kwong-roshi, who once went by the name Bill Kwong, founded Sonoma Mountain Zen Center in 1973. Along the way, this founding required considerable tenacity and courage, it occurred through a stream of accidents, challenges, a bout with testicular cancer and, no doubt, the obdurate blessings of Dogen and the other Soto Zen forerunne

Kunga Dawa on meeting Chögyam Trungpa - Kunga Dawa, or Richard Arthure at the time, met Chšgyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1966. Kunga was married, pursuing a career as an actor and had just been introduced to his first experience with LSD. In this twenty-one minute video, Kunga described the intricate, accidental and uncanny path of search and discovery that ultimately led him to Chšgyam Trunpa...


To inquire about and/or request any of these essays, please contact me through my mailing list (you can remove yourself at any time) and select the "Inquiry" box. If you already have my e-mail address or phone number, of course please write please or call.







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