Tuesday, November 21, 2017

covering jfk

I think of jfk on eve of assassination.

The death of our country with lies and deception.

Still covering.

Monday, November 20, 2017

unfolding itself right before your eye

Blue Jay in Yew Bush picks at green needle. Hops to ground. Companion picks with her on empty husks for fresh seed. Ever skittish. Ever vigilant.

My morning teachers.
From An Introduction to Zen Buddhism 
Is Zen a religion? It is not a religion in the sense that the term is popularly understood; for Zen has no God to worship, no ceremonial rites to observe, no future abode to which the dead are destined, and, last of all, Zen has no soul whose welfare is to be looked after by somebody else and whose immortality is a matter of intense concern with some people. Zen is free from all these dogmatic and "religious" encumbrances. ... 
As to all those images of various Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and Devas and other beings that one comes across in Zen temples, they are like so many pieces of wood or stone or metal; they are like camellias, azaleas, or stone lanterns in my garden. Make obeisance to the camellia now in full bloom, and worship it if you like, Zen would say. There is as much religion in so doing as in bowing to the various Buddhist gods, or as sprinkling holy water, or as participating in the Lord's Supper. All those pious deeds considered to be meritorious or sanctifying by most so-called religiously minded people are artificialities in the eyes of Zen. It boldly declares that "the immaculate Yogins do not enter Nirvana and the precept-violating monks do not go to hell". This, to ordinary minds, is a contradiction of the common law of moral life, but herein lies the truth and the life of Zen. Zen is the spirit of a man. Zen believes in its inner purity and goodness. Whatever is superadded or violently torn away, injures the wholesomeness of the spirit. Zen, therefore, is emphatically against all religious conventionalism. ...
(--from, D.T. Suzuki, in The Question of God, Other Voices, PBS, 2004) 
 At Sunday Evening Practice we read at table from Tomorrow’s God, by Neale Donald Walsh.

A single oak leaf falls into Yew.

This moment.

I chant morning invitatory in cabin chapel/zendo. Light candle.Light stick of incense.

And this moment.

Sip coffee. Eat cereal. Take pills.

Charles Manson dies in prison at 83. Donald Trump lives in Washington DC at 71. Alabama will elect a man to the US Senate who is accused of sexual inappropriateness with teenage girls. Minnesota has to wonder about its senator. Every man who thought it was ok to take liberties with woman is now reappraised and under scrutiny.  Women who have been intimidated or silenced emerge from under the cloak of male privilege. A woman, unbelieved and unlistened to for so long regarding undesired behavior by men toward them, now speaks openly.

Justice is not out there somewhere. It is either in ourselves or it is nowhere. Not even in our institutions of law and systems of courts.

Justice has no separate existence from mind and heart of those who feel their way into fair and equitable balance between all beings, all things, all existence.
"The way to ascend unto God is to descend into one's self"; — these are Hugo's words. "If thou wishest to search out the deep things of God, search out the depths of thine own spirit"; — this comes from Richard of St. Victor. When all these deep things are searched out there is after all no "self" where you can descend, there is no "spirit", no "God" whose depths are to be fathomed. Why? Because Zen is a bottomless abyss. Zen declares, though in somewhat different manner: "Nothing really exists throughout the triple world; where do you wish to see the mind (or spirit, *hsin*)? The four elements are all empty in their ultimate nature; where could the Buddha's abode be? — but lo! the truth is unfolding itself right before your eye. This is all there is to it — and indeed nothing more!" A minute's hesitation and Zen is irrevocably lost. All the Buddhas of the past, present, and future may try to make you catch it once more, and yet it is a thousand miles away. “Mind-murder" and "self-intoxication", forsooth! Zen has no time to bother itself with such criticisms. (--D.T. Suzuki)
There is no justice. It doesn't exist.

There are individuals, though.

The grey cat eats kibbles on kitchen island. The white dog scratches on sliding door to come in.

Fire catches on right side of wood in wood stove.
Therefore, anything that has the semblance of an external authority is rejected by Zen. Absolute faith is placed in a man's own inner being. For whatever authority there is in Zen, all comes from within. This is true in the strictest sense of the word. Even the reasoning faculty is not considered final or absolute. On the contrary, it hinders the mind from coming into the directest communication with itself. The intellect accomplishes its mission when it works as an intermediary, and Zen has nothing to do with the intermediary except when it desires to communicate itself to others. For this reason all the scriptures are merely tentative and provisory; there is in them no finality. The central fact of life as it is lived is what Zen aims to grasp, and this in the most direct and most vital manner. Zen professes itself to be the spirit of Buddhism, but in fact it is the spirit of all religions and philosophies. When Zen is thoroughly understood, absolute peace of mind is attained, and a man lives as he ought to live. What more may we hope? ...           (--D.T. Suzuki) 
Yellow Finch on feeder as chimney smoke downdrafts across their feeding. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

what if God is the present moment

There it is, the question: What if God is the present moment?

What would change in our thinking? What would become of our lives?
Jesuit priest Jean Pierre de Caussade (1675-1751) called it the “sacrament of the present moment.” His book, Abandonment to Divine Providence, was the book most recommended by spiritual directors for many decades. His key theme is: “If we have abandoned ourselves to God, there is only one rule for us: the duty of the present moment.” To live in the present is finally what we mean by presence itself! 
God is hidden in plain sight, yet religion seems determined to make it more complicated. Much of low-level religion suggests that to find God you need this morality and that behavior and this ritual and that performance and this belief system. Western Christianity has largely refused to allow God to be as simple, obvious, democratic, and available as God has made (and makes!) God’s self—right here and right now.
(—from, Time-Tested WisdomSunday, November 19, 2017, Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM)
Thich Nhat Hanh’s gatha is gentle resonance of this.

I have arrived. 
I am home. 
In the here. 
In the now.
What traditionally has been called ‘belief’ is now mere realization of what is here as what is here.

No one tradition owns God. No one owns God. God is one’s own.

This realization changes everything.

And the more things change the more they become themselves.

As God is.

As you are.

As is each thing, each being, each instant.

Becoming what is!

In practice.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

“would dying be here” (Robert Creeley)

Middle-night stillness

Dog’s breath beside bed


There’s no one here 

Friday, November 17, 2017

turning to

even now,
wind gust
crosses road --
for the wind
there is no
other side --
only cross
with no other.
If you want
to learn love
begin here --
as sun nods
to tree top
turning to

Thursday, November 16, 2017

no, afterlife

             (a haiku for Dan)

in her turned garden

white ashes scattered after months

what remains of thislife

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


If you ask: Do I believe in God?

I will have to ask: Where am I?

If I look at where I am, and see ‘I am here’

and to be here is to be ‘in God’,

then I am being asked

if I believe where I am.

The sorrow of our time is

we do not believe where we are.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

join them

true, world’s nuts

it’s how we keep on

until we stop,

get off, safely insane

break fast

I’ll have coffee and rye toast. A side of sausage links. And, please, could you bring me a new White House. Hold the current thinking, it’s gone bad. For a change I’d like sincerity, kindness, and truth with marmalade. What will that cost?

if you hear my voice today, harden not your hearts

We read psalms

we wonder

praying our


will transcend

dualistic flaw

mind cringes


Lord punishes

and causes pain

But “his love

endures forever”

Reality is reality

Love is love

no dual reading

says Yes as

one and other

are not two.

By the way,

don’t make one

but see whole

the absence of

which is why

we don’t pray

or know what

prayer is

Monday, November 13, 2017


Purring cat

it is November

between blankets

Sunday, November 12, 2017

edge; else

The edge

of what?

It is all I know

what is touched

there, intermingling

boundaryless this

with that, like

emptiness, we are

open space, where

nothing separate

is what we are

Nothing else

Saturday, November 11, 2017

salute and sorrow

sun moves southeast rising
just to right of cedar trunks
coming up over woodpile and
chimney smoke through dooryard

female grosbeak lifts from seed-
hull ground to yew branch as cat haunches
at sliding door, barn-side thermometer
steady at 19°F this Veteran’s Day chill

counterintuitive cycle -- warriors fight
senseless wars keeping each other alive
until home when 20 suicides a day is
daily reminder cost subtracted patriotism

a man I know thinks I’m against veterans
it’s easier for him to think so
I’m against the stupidity of aggressive war
wasting lives posturing power deriding God

Friday, November 10, 2017

david stinson, friend and meditation companiero, 25sept25 -- 5nov17

(for David)

at first sight, walkway
seems empty — at bridge, at heart,
there is (MU) one there
Art: Roberta Jackson

(e-card image from gratefulness.org; haiku by wfh) 

Thursday, November 09, 2017

anthony sanborn, time served

I am pleased for Tony Sanborn.

I know him as a good man. 

I’m glad he continues to assert innocence.

In Hosea 6:6, some clarifying and difficult words: “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.”

May Jessica Briggs rest in peace.

May the Sanborn and Briggs family live their lives in peace.

And may Hosea’s words both disturb us and burrow into our meditations.

Good for Anthony Sanborn for his exit from prison. And good for Fairfield and Zerillo for their work on his behalf and in the name of responsible justice.

The murder of Jessica Briggs was a terrible event. The clear and definitive resolution of responsibility for her death does not appear to be any closer. 

The “elegant solution” allows a good man to resume a life in our community. It also reminds us that fair and responsible justice remains a fragile commodity in the hands of a powerful law enforcement and prosecutorial system perennially in need of oversight and review. 

The Sanborn case serves as warning and instruction. 

We have work to do.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

the tent

At prison today, an academic symposium.

Learning, such as this, cannot be found anywhere else.

Men asking, and answering, what it means to engage in education.

From bottom up.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

coming to word; coming to body

Violence is the failure to see our way clear.

Hatred is the failure to see the Way through.

What is our way? What is the Way?

Let’s look at this. Let’s look as this. 

This is our body. All of this.

It is time to incarnate.

words and good wishes will never suffice

Autocrats are arising.

Or, as someone we know likes to say, we’re just finding out what always has been in hidden operation. Ok. The man in the White House is only the public face of real power brokers and billionaire backroom manipulation of public belief in everyday democratic participatory republic consensus.

The ‘people’ are not in charge. Nor are they revolting. Everyday people and ordinary life are outside the concern of those growing in power and wealth.
The power elites attempt to discredit those who resist. They force them to struggle to make an income. They push them to the margins of society. They write them out of the official narrative. They deny them the symbols of status. They use the compliant liberal class to paint them as unreasonable and utopian. 
Resistance is not, fundamentally, political. It is cultural. It is about finding meaning and expression in the transcendent and the incongruities of life. Music, poetry, theater and art sustain resistance by giving expression to the nobility of rebellion against the overwhelming forces, what the ancient Greeks called fortuna, which can never ultimately be overcome. Art celebrates the freedom and dignity of those who defy malignant evil.Victory is not inevitable, or at least not victory as defined by the powerful. Yet in every act of rebellion we are free. It was the raw honesty of the blues, spirituals and work chants that made it possible for African-Americans to endure. 
Power is a poison. It does not matter who wields it. The rebel, for this reason, is an eternal heretic. He or she will never fit into any system. The rebel stands with the powerless. There will always be powerless people. There will always be injustice. The rebel will always be an outsider. 
Resistance requires eternal vigilance. The moment the powerful are no longer frightened, the moment the glare of the people is diverted and movements let down their guard, the moment the ruling elites are able to use propaganda and censorship to hide their aims, the gains made by resisters roll backward. We have been steadily stripped of everything that organized working men and women—who rose up in defiance and were purged, demonized and killed by the capitalist elites—achieved with the New Deal. The victories of African-Americans, who paid with their bodies and blood in making possible the Great Society and ending legal segregation, also have been reversed.
(-The Cost of Resistence, by Chris Hedges, in truthdig, 5nov17)
It is difficult to remember that the human spirit longs for what might be called Itself.

This Itself is reality without corruption or distortion. Without spin, yarn, denial, or hype.

The Itself was once called Truth. It was simple, stark, and sovereign. Above the hazy fog, above and beyond, is the luminous light of this galaxy’s inexorable star blazing necessary centricity for our ability to thrive and grow.

But the Itself is not enough for many of us. Instead, we seem to gravitate to that which is not itself, that which is artificial, substitute, lesser, derivative, less true, even false. In our ignorance of what is real, in our greed for what is false, and in our angry delusions positing ‘other’ and ‘enemy’ — we fail to see and feel that which is actually nearest to our very center, namely, reality/truth/itself.
"In the long run, no one can show another the error that is within him, unless the other is convinced that his critic first sees and loves the good that is within him. So while we are perfectly willing to tell our adversary he is wrong, we will never be able to do so effectively until we can ourselves appreciate where he is right. And we can never accept his judgment on our errors until he gives evidence that he really appreciates our own particular truth. Love, love only, love of our deluded fellow man as he actually is, in his delusion and in his sin: this alone can open the door of truth. As long as we do not have this love, as long as this love is not active and effective in our lives (for words and good wishes will never suffice) we have no real access to the truth. At least not to moral truth."
(- Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, p. 69, in http://fatherlouie.blogspot.com/)
Downstairs, Ethiopian Sidamo Italian coffee beans from Green Tree roaster in Lincolnville wait for grinder, water, and flame. The barn sits patiently waiting to be sorted and emptied. Chill morning waits for white dog to find soccer ball to dribble down dooryard.

It is voting day.

Maybe this time something good will come of it.

Monday, November 06, 2017


In 1968 we thought the world was coming apart. It did.

In 2017 we know the world has not only come apart, it has been kicked into the gutter.

Call me sentimental, but it’s perfectly clear that delusion and insanity have become the default ground of everyday activity and thought.

Guns and bullets.

Lies and narcissism.

Celebrity and wealth.

Hypocrisy and arrogance.

Now that I’ve given my credentials as a failing human being, I bow my head in expiation.

Ignore me.

I’m not here.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

to know you’re not there

Zen masters would slap you upside the head. So would inner city mommas and drill sergeants and boxing trainers and someone suddenly realizing they’ve been standing just outside the universe in a deep void of detached forgetfulness.
Ms. Langer: Most people are just not there, and they’re not there to know that they’re not there. And when I address the difference between mindlessness and mindfulness — so since my mindlessness was leading in my thinking, there was no reason for me to appeal to anything Eastern. This was all a Western scientific notion as I was developing it. 
Ms. Tippett: Right. So interesting. 
Ms. Langer: And so mindfulness, for me, is the very simple process of actively noticing new things. When you actively notice new things, that puts you in the present, makes you sensitive to context. As you’re noticing new things, it’s engaging, and it turns out, after a lot of research, that we find that it’s literally, not just figuratively, enlivening. 
   So the Eastern notions — I did research, again, back in the ’80s, on transcendental meditation, and that’s also — meditation is also useful, but it’s quite different, and different ways of getting to the same place. Meditation, no matter what kind of meditation, is engaged to produce post-meditative mindfulness. And the mindfulness, as I and my students… 
Ms. Tippett: You’re saying it’s a means to an end, and you’re going straight to the end. 
Ms. Langer: Exactly. So for us, you’re noticing new things. You’re there. And I think that over the last ten, maybe even 20 years, that if you look at all of the different forms of treatments to become more mindful — this means to the same end — that they have become more and more like what we’ve been studying from the beginning. Meditation that used to be required 20 minutes twice a day is slowly changing. 
   But I find that what lots of these people do — and it’s also part of folk psychology, where you tell people, “Be there, be in the moment” — when you’re not in the moment, you’re not there to know you’re not there, so it’s really an empty instruction 
 (-Ellen Langor in conversation with Krista Tippett, Science of Mindlessness and MindfulnessOn Being)
Worrying about tomorrow makes waste of today.

At Friday evening conversation two attendees said they are future oriented. I realized I have no future in my attention.

Now and here seem to be sole attendants to my cell of solitary unconfinement and ever-present origin refinement.

For the time-being, that which surrounds the inner core of timeless mirroring ubiquity, it is our instant to instant practice to gassho and bow, sit ready and stand alongside what-is here-now in its very appearance.

Existence-in-Itself asks; Do you see this? Do you hear this? Do you feel what surrounds, is near, within?

Last night I held the hand of someone in dimly lighted room in hospice house. She welcomed me with this holy human hospitality. We sat in silence. Just that. Sharing what was there. Then, a family member returned. And we touched hands.

Today’s difficulties look at us, and seeing no one there, choose to evaporate.
 “Mindlessness is the application of yesterday’s business solutions to today’s problems.” 
 “And mindfulness is attunement to today’s demands to avoid tomorrow’s difficulties.”   (—Ellen Langer)
I don’t know the difference between life and death.

It seems mindless of me.

It seems we believe there is a difference.

If I had any beliefs they would be looking toward a realization that any sip of coffee, any glance at November leaves, or added hour in an arbitrary designation of time, is the whole of new light shining through and through each being arising in awareness of deep intimacy and perennial presence.

Bells announce what is brought to mind.

Sounding, as each thing does, the beginning-ending, the ending-beginning of everything.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

have you ever seen such a sight

Three blind mice. Three blind mice.

Donald, Mitch, and Paul.

Where’s the farmers wife when she is needed?

Friday, November 03, 2017

only to

There is nowhere to go.

Not-now does not exist.

Siddhartha sat still.

Jesus arrived alone.

Here’s what I think: not fond of the metaphors ‘ransom’ and ‘debt’, I wonder how to say ‘emergent’ and ‘perfecting’ without holding some finished and final ideal in mind.

The words ‘beginning’ and ‘arriving’ come to mind. We are always doing one or the other without ever completing.

Complementing, yes. Complimenting, yes.

Nothing fixed that is not flowing. Nothing carved in stone that is not breath and water moving in and out with grace.

Even if the idea of God crumbled and lost its meaning, making no sense, having no cogency . . . 
Remaining would be here, 
Appearing would be now,  
Emerging would be this.
Three forms of presence: here, now, this — situation, circumstance, surrounding — these companions on the way: sat, chit, ananda (being, consciousness, bliss).

Perhaps we have only to look,

Only to listen,

Only to 

Only to,

Only to . . .

———————.      ———————-       ———————
(-from dictionary app):
ohn-lee IPA

— adverb 
  1. without others or anything further; alone; solely; exclusively: This information is for your eyes only. 
  1. no more than; merely; just: If it were only true! cook only on weekends. 
  1. as recently as: read that article only yesterday. 
  1. in the final outcome or decision: You will only regret your harsh words to me. 
— adjective 
  1. being the single one or the relatively few of the kind: This is the only pencil can find. 
  1. having no sibling or no sibling of the same sex: an only child; an only son. 
  1. single in superiority or distinction; unique; the best: the one and only Muhammad Ali. 
— conjunction 
  1. but (introducing single restriction, restraining circumstance, or the like): would have gone, only you objected. 
  1. Older Use. except; but: Only for him you would not be here. 
— Idioms 
  1. only too, 
  1. as matter of fact; extremely: am only too glad to go. 
  1. unfortunately; very: It is only too likely to happen

Thursday, November 02, 2017

what does it mean to be ‘doing now’

The two Jehovah Witnesses showed a brief video which was interesting.

We had a conversation which was interesting.

What was taking place between us (inter-esse) was as the question at end of video posed itself, namely, “What is Jesus doing now?”

What is, is reality.

Jesus is the perfection of human spirit.

And ‘doing now’ is the very name and definition of God.
(E.g., to the question “What is God?” The answer, “God is ‘doing now’!”)


Yes —

What are you doing now?

Wednesday, November 01, 2017


Jo-Ann taught me the word during 50 years of friendship.
In its simplest form, Itadakimasu 頂きますいただ  is used before receiving something. That's why the most common itadakimasu translation is:
A year ago tomorrow (2nov16) she bowed to the guest who bowed back to her.

And went beyond.

Receiving, accepting, love.

I am a slow student.

In memory, today, I say はい!



Tuesday, October 31, 2017

do not hide your face from me

It matters, a sense of the holy.

This eve, it matters.


No one dying doesn’t want to live.

Does that desire propel life through death into another version of life pre-death?

I look into this. And see only to the edge of disappearance.

At Sunday Evening Practice we spoke aloud the many names of departed meetingbrook community members who’ve disappeared at that edge the last twenty five years. So many names!

Monday, October 30, 2017

patient visitor

In hospital rooms we laugh about things that are petits riens.
In a full heart there is room for everything, and in an empty heart there is room for nothing. Antonio Porchia
When you think about itwhat else is there?

Sunday, October 29, 2017

touching her hand

when someone dies,

      in that place, that instant,

in your presence;

      the very next breath we take —

still, silent,


the wonder of it . . .

Saturday, October 28, 2017

this realization

Adonai, you have made me alone!

I am alone as you are alone.

There are, it has been said, no others.

Shema’ yisrael Adonai elohenu Adonai echad!
   (Hear, O Israel, the Lord your God, the Lord alone!)

It means there are no others.

Does that sound scary?

If this were a horror film with horror thinking, yes, it would.

But as an ontological theological existential consideration, it suggests that our beliefs — that we are isolated alienated antagonistic individuals vying against one another for goods, possessions, and power — are error-ridden and illusory misunderstandings about the true nature of reality and being, illusions that keep us warlike and cruel.

We are alone.

Notions of a god that chooses some over others are deluded notions. Notions of a god that is better than other gods are mistaken notions. And notions of superior races, purer peoples, advanced intelligences, and higher classes of cultured and wealthy people — are historical and psychological aberrations of sociological and colonial fabrication.

We are alone.

And it takes courage to see this.

And willingness to realize this.

An awareness beyond ego myopia.

A humility to recognize god alone.

God is this realization!