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“From good thoughts to everlasting deeds.”

These sayings are all around you, but they’re the only things interrupting your thoughts in this pretty elegant coffee-contemplation place just waiting for the new domed library to open, right across 11th Street.

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Jing Si Books and Café is the latest of a string of places like this across the world, seems. The idea is for places of calm in this frenzied world.

They soft-push the ideas of Chen Yen, a Buddhist nun from Taiwan who has built a do-good organization that really helps in everything from tsunamis to poverty to Sandy. They have these “bamboo” tubes where you develop the habit of giving, say 15 cents a day, every day, so your mindset’s committed long-term, rather than just one big momentary generous outpouring.

Me, jes’ heading up towards Market and came by it. The gent showed me the big glass, like chemistry set-looking contraption that slow-brews coffee. But I’m just getting the straight, so he pours hot water through a paper filter, and makes a big brown mugful. Unprocessed brown sugar only for sweetener, but you get two buckwheat crackers with it, all for $1.89 including tax.

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“These are made by the Buddhist nuns in Taiwan,” says Jonathan, one of the workers here. “This is how they make enough money to live on.”

He says a pack goes for $2.

That’s a deal, for sure.

Cydanni...

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Cydanni

...who’s at a desk in the “Eco-Verse" side, says they are in 47 countries, but positively don’t try to convert everyone to Buddhism. “We don’t even bring up the ‘B’ word,” she says.

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Silk orchids divide the room

There aren’t too many people in here now, but Cydanni says that Thomas Jefferson Law School has discovered them. “They come because they can work here. No-one tries to kick them out. And the atmosphere isn’t all fretty like many coffee shops,” she says.

They were going to have food, like salads and sandwiches, by the HQ in San Dimas put the kibosh on that.

So yes, they’re big. Guess you could call it the first breeze of cultural push-back from Eastern cultures that have been taking incomings from the west for the last 500 years.

I’ll drink to that.

Specially with this coffee.

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Comments

Andy Cohen Jan. 12, 2013 @ 4:39 a.m.

Thanks for sharing this post. Calm places to write is what every writer is looking for to achieve great level of satisfaction. A combination of a coffee shop, library along with being a place that would work towards doing good, seems perfect. Would surely like to pay a visit.

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Ed Bedford Jan. 12, 2013 @ 3:04 p.m.

Hi Andy: It's definitely a calm, expensively laid-out space that kinda begs you to get creative. Like a library except you can talk, with lots of good thoughts on the walls and screens. I even got the first line of my next (okay, first) novel: "It was a dark and stormy night..." Or "It was a stark and gourmet bite..."? If I was sitting there now I'd have it. Plenty of time. They promise never to toss you out or make you buy another coffee.

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