Sunday, October 9, 2016


... from my grandson, Luka, aged 5 next month, this picture:

... made over dinner, signed top left to right. A worthy "boyhood memory"! Thanks, Luka. Love, Grandpa

Saturday, October 8, 2016


... to urge those of you who have enjoyed reading The Buddha Diaries to head on over to my new blog, Boyhood Memories. I have been posting there for some time now, and it's beginning to take root. Much of the blog is submitted to me by others, and some of their stories are quite remarkable. The intention is much in line with that of The Buddha Diaries: it's still about "getting to the heart of the matter," only now I'm encouraging other men to do the same. Please pop on over and take a look. And give some thought to adding your name to the email update list. See you there!

Friday, July 22, 2016


If you check in with me with any regularity on The Buddha Diaries, you will have noticed that I have been silent for a couple of weeks now. I have been working, instead, on the idea for a new blog--one that is in line with my current interest in boyhood memories.

I have mentioned this interest here before, and indeed have already posted a couple of my own memories on The Buddha Diaries. Otherwise, I have been casting a wide net among friends, colleagues and acquaintances, with the intention of soliciting significant memories from other men. I have already received several dozen contributions. My ultimate goal is to edit these and publish them in book form. I believe it will make a timely and interesting publication. In a culture where men generally feel uncomfortable with introspection and are taught from an early age that it's dangerous to show feelings, I've have been surprised by the enthusiasm with which so many have responded to my idea. It is, after all, our experience as boys that makes us the men we are today.

On the way to the book, then, I decided that a blog would afford me the opportunity to put some of these responses out into the world; and perhaps, if the blog attracts a readership, to encourage submissions from other men. I started out with the idea of a Boyhood Memories blog but discovered, to my dismay, that the url had already been taken years ago by a handsome Greek gentleman, whose last post was in 2008. I believe that he has since died. I do not have the skills--either the language skills or the blogging skills--to know how to request the release of the domain; if anyone can help, I'd be more than grateful. In the meantime, as I've said elsewhere, it's all Greek to me.

Casting about for other possibilities, I received a number of good suggestions from friends. After a lot of thought, I settled on Boyhood Moments--a title that captures what I'm after in requesting memories: those clear, starkly remembered moments from boyhood that live on with us and, in retrospect, prove to have been formative in our lives. Some may be blissful, others filled with pain; some traumatic, others merely dramatic. Several themes have been emerging as I receive contributions. Father stories and mother stories, of course; stories of sexual awakening and puppy love, of brave deeds and misdeeds, of reward and punishment; stories of violence and disaster, war and peace... And so on.

So there you have it. I suspect that I will not be posting much, if at all, in the Buddha Diaries in the coming weeks and months. I do encourage you, however, to click on over and join me on Boyhood Moments. I hope you'll find the experience as rewarding as I do.

Sending metta to all, Peter

Monday, June 27, 2016



We are moving out. Everything must be cleared out of the house where we have lived for many years, all the knick-knacks, all the tchotchkes , all the objects we have collected—and have been collecting dust. The task is endless. Every cupboard must be emptied, every closet. Every shelf must be cleared, even those high up, near the ceiling, where the tiny ones are lined up, the ones I need a stepladder to reach. The house is huge, unfamiliar, the ceilings high. We wonder if it is time to call for help from an expert, someone who will know what these things are worth. Someone arrives, and starts to sort those of little value from those which might have some value. Those of little value we will sell for a nickel apiece. Those of greater value we will sell for more. But we are unsure whether the expert can be trusted. We want to be sure we are not cheated in the process…


I am at a motorcycle race track, mingling with the crowds. These are not regular races, they seem to be more like grudge matches between two rival groups of riders. There are taunts and challenges over the loudspeakers. After watching the first race from a distant corner of the stands, I move to a different location. It would seem that I am looking for someone between the races. At some point I cross the race track and earn a reproof from one of the young officials: you’re not allowed to cross the track. The next race is announced. There will be one challenger against three opponents; they will race to the death. As the race starts, I want to cross back over the track to find the person I am looking for, but this time I discover a bridge that makes the crossing easy. In the middle of the bridge I spot the person I am looking for. It is the wife of a good friend. I seem to have designs on her, or have perhaps already started a relationship. I spread my arms to give her a close embrace. Perhaps it was too close, perhaps I have presumed too much, for she walks away from me now, distracted, as though looking for someone else, I follow her, wondering if I have done something wrong….

Thursday, June 23, 2016


Nearly 50 years ago I made one of those momentous choices that change the direction of our lives. Torn between loyalty, a sense of duty, and obligation on the one hand, and on the other, my own desire for what I saw to be my happiness, I chose... myself.

Impossible to overstate the pain that my choice caused, not only to myself but to those closest to me. For my two sons, then five and seven years old, it meant separation from their father: they were brought up literally a thousand miles away, and I lacked the financial means to bring them out to visit more than once a year, for a fraught few weeks in which I struggled to fit in a year's worth of love and fatherhood. I have lived with knowing the pain I caused them ever since.

And then there was the pain I caused myself. Hard to describe the inner rupture of two such powerful imperatives: between the sense of obligation I had learned from my youngest days and the need for personal happiness. At home and at boarding school, as a child, I had learned this rule: others always come first. It was embedded in my gut, my heart and soul. To be "selfish" was the greatest of all imaginable transgressions.

This belief had become a part of who I was. To repudiate it was to tear myself away not only from my family, but from my authentic inner life, from my very self.

I have lived with the pain of this self-inflicted wound for half a century, and have had to learn the hard truth that there is nothing I can do to heal it.  I made my choice. I could not revisit it, even if I wanted to. I could not unmake it. I can also not simply "forgive myself." It's not that easy. I bear responsibility.

These thoughts return, with painful familiarity, because my then five year-old son, now over 50, is confronted with a serious medical situation. He has written about it on his Facebook page, so I am betraying no confidences. Following an initial surgical intervention last week, he now faces a three-month course of chemotherapy and later, in all likelihood, major surgery.

I have a father's instinct to wish that it were I, rather than my son, who had to deal with this intimidating prospect--that I could suffer, in his place, the natural fear and pain that any human being feels when confronted with the vulnerability of the physical body. But wishing does not make it so. My son still lives a thousand miles distant, geographically, and to "be there" for him in this predicament presents serious challenges. I must find out ways in which that can be done--in which I can make good on the love I feel for him, no matter the pain and the distance that lie between us. This is the latest challenge of my life.