“Seeing I had nothing of value for him to steal
he sat and chatted with me…”

Friends by Okinawa Steve

While sitting on a bench one evening, waiting for the bus to Old San Juan, I met a young Puerto Rican dude.

He was evidently a mugger.

He sat down next to me, smiled, and saying, “permiso,” (excuse me), he checked my open collar (to see if I was wearing a gold chain) and my wrist (to see if I had an expensive wristwatch.) Seeing I had nothing of value for him to steal, he sat and chatted with me until my bus came

“What brings you to Puerto Rico, señor?” the smiling stranger asked.

“I’ve just arrived to begin a new job here, …at the VA hospital.” I replied.

“Are you medico?”

“No, I’m going to manage the media production service. We make films and videos for teaching nurses and doctors.”

“Sounds interesting. What do you think of our island?”

“I like it very much, particularly the friendliness of the people. In the States, people like you and I would never be having such a warm conversation.”

“Ha, ha. Es verdad. Well, here is your bus.

Buenas noches and good luck on your new job, mi amigo.”


Charles Francis is a retired photographer, living in California, where he studies creative writing at the Osher Life-long Learning Institute at San Francisco State University. He writes memoir and poetry and makes digital inkjet prints. His blog: Plato’s Cave shows his fascination with the effect created by the juxtaposition of images with words.

Kindly contributed to Zen Moments by the author.


Being Peace By Thich Nhat Hanh

Being Peace

ByThich Nhat Hanh
Being Peace 4

“Gandhi once said – you must become what you want the world to be. This is another great book by Thich Nhat Hahn.”

“Good book” 5

“In my opinion, this is an amazing book. Thich Nhat Hanh simplifies Buddhism for the common western mind. He helps to define and establishes a path for you to follow and help you to achieve your goals of a peaceful self and world. Simple short read, packed with insight and knowledge.”

“This collection of teachings by noted Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh will be eagerly read by those concerned about world peace. Rev. Thich claims that world peace starts with the individual’s acquiring inner peace. He challenges the reader in warm and anecdotal dialogues:”Have we wasted our hours and days? Are we wasting our lives? . . . Practising Buddhism is to be alive to each moment.” Meditation, says the author, is not an escape from the difficult present but an active form of service to society, directing us to understanding and compassion toward all suffering humanity. The author terms this “engaged Buddhism.” Free of jargon and eminently practical, this wise and joyous book celebrates the spirituality inherent in daily life.”
Alphonse Vinh, Yale Univ. Lib. Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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