The Middle Way

Zen Spot #47 — Mindfulness, meditation and hundreds of dog bowls wanting to sing December 17, 2017 02:06

A bell never quite stops ringing

As my dog’s nails were being trimmed, I sat outside the windowed grooming room — waiting. Across the aisle was a wall of dog bowls. 

My blood was simmering like a bell still ringing twenty-four hours after being struck by one of the few human beings I can actually embrace. Their inability to acknowledge my feelings, the day before, was the flame over which the red of my blood had been cooked. I was that toddler’s reasonable tantrum, driven by frustration at not being able to ride the pony that was plainly three feet away.

A bowl is never just a bowl

The Buddhist concept of interdependence has always fascinated me. That the air within the bowl defines the bowl as much its material, color and shape, is as full circle an idea as I’ve ever heard — the Shakespeare of oneness perhaps.

One can’t experience a Buddhist singing bowl without knowing that something almost unknowable is being experienced. Proof of anotherness appears and disappears, almost, but never nonetheless. Touch a bowl while it sings and one’s body absorbs the sound permanently and interdependently. There is a morphine that demands the sound of the bowl transport one to wherever and never, again and again. Sublime, holy, transcendental, more sterile than dirty. 

I am more dirty than clean but I cannot know cleanliness without dirt. 

The sound of a dog eating from a bowl

Our dog has a mirrored metal bowl that sometimes sits on a slick formica floor. Unless the bowl sits in the corner of the kitchen, it slides around as Mayze eats and, between her slurps, her chewing and the tinny bong of the bowl smacking into a wall or door, the sounds resonate like any singing bowl.

The possibility of hundreds of bowls singing

It occurred to me that, in hindsight, if all the bowls across the aisle were set on the floor, for hundreds of dogs to eat together, the orchestra of slurping and chewing and tinny bongs would coalesce into a sustained note, loudest when the animals were originally fed, then fading as their tummies were filled. And, while I never heard the sound, because it never existed, it was just perceptible enough to hear when I next sat down to breathe.


About DharmaMechanic

An artist, entrepreneur and writer walking the Buddhist path, his art focuses on the Dharma Wheel. The four wheels shown above are among over 600 DharmaMechanic has created over the course of his career. Each has a unique story. If you’d like to read the story of these wheels or purchase a framed 20" x 20" ready-to-hang print, visit

What are The Four Noble Truths?

  1. The truth of suffering
  2. The truth of the origin of suffering
  3. The truth of the cessation of suffering
  4. The truth of the path to the cessation of suffering

What is The Noble Eightfold Path?

  1. Right view
  2. Right intention
  3. Right action
  4. Right speech
  5. Right livelihood
  6. Right effort
  7. Right mindfulness
  8. Right concentration

What is a Dharma Wheel?