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A Readers' Comments
posted on 7-08-07 - from Reuven Benyuhmin

See Reuven's interview

Reuven Benyuhmin sent some interesting emails yesterday - about his name, the word "bupkis," misrepresentations of his past, the meaningless trivia of a great deal (maybe 100%) of what we're involved in, and the emptiness of everything - in response to the Early Tassajara, Zen Mt. Center, Practice Period Alumni List (1967- 1989).  This, as everything on cuke, is printed with his permission, and, as with everything herein, can be modified as he wishes. We are not journalists but... but... what are we? Reuven sort of answers that. Keep in mind, when he calls this Reunion bupkis, that he was the instigator of the wildly successful Shunryu Suzuki 100th birthday bash.

Date: Sat, 7 Jul 2007 13:38:05 +0800
Subj: Reunion bupkis

Hi David,

Just to note: the spelling of my last name should be: "BenYuhmin" that's a capitol B and no space between the Ben + Yuhmin. Also, there should be an "h" in the "BenYuhmin" You list it as:

ben Yumin Roovain

Actually there's a tad of meaning in your listing: "ben" in Hebrew = the son of, and my father's Hebrew name "Benyuhin" (Benjamin), so should have been "Reuven ben Benyuhmin," but two "ben's" didn't sound good together. Was just trying to revitalize an old tradition. Actually born as, & published under, "Robert Front", Reuven Front, so if you looked that up on the internet you'd get some other "stuff." etc. My younger daughter (who you met) has the name: "Aleya Front." My First daughter's name: "Jaiya BenYuhmin."

So it goes, but it doesn't really matter "bubkis."* ( & if you looked that up under the Yiddish, you'd find the meaning below)

All best blessings on your reunion efforts,


Nibbana paramam sukha
Santutthi paramam dhănam



from the Maven's Word of the Day writes:

Recently I have noticed an increase in the use of the term "bupkiss" meaning "nothing" or "zero." What is the origin of this slang term?

The word bupkiss, often also spelled bupkis, means, as you say, 'absolutely nothing'. In negative constructions (for example, "He didn't know bupkis"), it means 'the least thing; anything at all'.

Bupkis is a borrowing from Yiddish, where it literally means 'beans'. The reference is to how inexpensive and common beans are.

The word bupkis is first found in American English sources in the early 1940s, but it did not become common in non-Jewish-related writings until the late 1960s.

DC responded: Great. Gonna add that to your interview. There's a lot I want to add to it but haven't gotten to it. Maybe someday soon.

Taketh care.

Reuven responded:

Ahh David,

You work like you live & yes, you live in the moment. Everything becomes equally important equally relevant and as when dividing the yarrow sticks to create the six oracle lines of the "Ba Gwa," that's the truth that's at work, or so says Jung, synchronicity. Is there some real value to all our anecdotal tales Annapurna says at the end of her interview that I asked to marry her and she said, I don't know her, and I said, it doesn't matter I know her well enough. Well whether I said that or not, and how it was intended, and how it was interpreted, and through what fuzzy and distorted screen of memory it had been filtered and refiltered for thirty five years leaves that "fact" very very suspect.

Go to  this part of Annapurna's interview

The question to ask: is there still some truth or real teaching or real value in all this. Yes, just interesting stories, our local clan gossip and goings on, a record of inept interpretations, distorted though our biased perception and then, finally, your reinterpretations and renditions of it all (you're the master worker behind the scenes in all these goings on) — yes, amusing awakening heartening and encouraging stories that make us look deeper into our daily lives to see how in each encounter there is a story to be told, a lesson to be learned and then put into practice. I love it all, but it should be only viewed as idle amusement (which view I feel you have, your introduction in Steve's recent interview verifies that) which makes it suspect as scriptural gospel. I wonder, though, how future generations of Zen students in America will view it

More idle chatter, about idle chatter, about still earlier idle chatter, yakaty yak yak yak!!!

As always metta and my deepest respect and blessings on all that you do,


DC responded:

And I'll put a link where Annapurna says that to your comment on it.

Reuven Responded:

Hi David,

Anything you do with the words is OK with me because that me is a fiction & imagining anyway; there's absolutely no one to whom it points to (even the name, the anecdotal stories, and especially this decaying body). Just causes and conditions and none of them can stand up and say I take responsibility for everything happening. There's absolutely no self lurking somewhere in the five khandhas, that's all imagined and that's the disease, the boil, the abscess, & the barb. & that's why friend, with a mind free from imaginings we should train ourselves to abide.

With metta as always,


DC responded: Asking something unnecessary about bupkis cause I was being dense.

Just to make "bupkis" crystal clear & complete/r


Yiddish: (large) beans, from the word kozebupkes meaning goat droppings, from Slavic root koz meaning goat, and diminutive of Slavic root bob meaning bean. See Polishyawiki entry:


bupkis, bupkes, bobkes, bubkes, bopkes

absolutely nothing; nothing of value, significance, or substance

We searched for hours and found bupkis.

Related terms


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