Today At Meetingbrook

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Acoustics and appreciatives

New mahogany Han from harbor boatbuilding scrap hangs on tree outside meditation cabin.

Shema on right side of doorway into cabin.

Birchat Habayit Mezuzah on jamb of Panikkar wohnkuche. ("Baruch ata bevoecha u'varuch ata betzeitechah" which means "Blessed are you upon your arrival and blessed are you upon your departure.")

The sound and touch of these beings!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Here is your teacher

There is nothing

To learn

Not here

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Dearth of God/Man: Learning together -- teaching God, teaching Man

Jesus' death as a dearth of awareness -- a scarcity and shortage -- suggests a deficiency we should look into.

Were both God and Man complicit in this dearth?

Was our awareness unready?

Will a return require fuller depth and wider inclusion to occasion?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Qui tacit consentire? Juvenal, Thales, & Buddha

Silence has a mind of its own. It has a body that is our own.

mens sana in corpore sano

English translation:
You should pray for a healthy mind in a healthy body.
Ask for a stout heart that has no fear of death,
and deems length of days the least of Nature's gifts
that can endure any kind of toil,
that knows neither wrath nor desire and thinks
the woes and hard labors of Hercules better than
the loves and banquets and downy cushions of Sardanapalus.
What I commend to you, you can give to yourself;
For assuredly, the only road to a life of peace is virtue.
In original Latin:
orandum est ut sit mens sana in corpore sano.
fortem posce animum mortis terrore carentem,
qui spatium vitae extremum inter munera ponat
naturae, qui ferre queat quoscumque labores,
nesciat irasci, cupiat nihil et potiores
Herculis aerumnas credat saevosque labores
et venere et cenis et pluma Sardanapalli.
monstro quod ipse tibi possis dare; semita certe
tranquillae per virtutem patet unica vitae.
—Roman poet Juvenal (10.356-64) 
Which is in which? Is mind in body? Or, is body in mind?
I rather think they are two words, eight letters, that turn and dance and show various sides of themselves, forming transient and temporary expressions of their soundless manifestations twirling through evening patina of cloud-sun haze on greeny hills in Maine.
τίς εὐδαίμων, "ὁ τὸ μὲν σῶμα ὑγιής, τὴν δὲ ψυχὴν εὔπορος, τὴν δὲ φύσιν εὐπαίδευτος 
"What man is happy? "He who has a healthy body, a resourceful mind and a docile nature."[1]
  1. As quoted by Diogenes Laërtius, (R. D. Hicks, ed.), Lives of Eminent Philosophers I:37  (--Wikipedia)
Let's return to silence. It is the language of god. 

Silence, the face of god. 

Friday, waiting curbside for Saskia after her Jin Shin Jitsu she arrives saying, “I knew you were here, but I couldn’t see you.” If we are able to face this about god, we might be able to hear what is not said.
“I don’t envision a single thing that, when
     undeveloped, leads to such great harm as the
     mind. The mind, when undeveloped, leads to
     great harm.”
“I don’t envision a single thing that, when developed,
     leads to such great benefit as the mind. The
     mind, when developed, leads to great benefit.”
“I don’t envision a single thing that, when
     undeveloped and uncultivated, brings about such
     suffering and stress as the mind. The mind, when
     undeveloped and uncultivated, brings about
     suffering and stress.”
“I don’t envision a single thing that, when developed
     and cultivated, brings about such happiness as
     the mind. The mind, when developed and
     cultivated, brings about happiness.”
(-- The Buddha, Anguttara Nikaya 1.23–24, 1.29–30. Trans. Thanissaro Bhikkhu.)
It is not mine to envision, it is mine to turn and twirl within the appearance itself.

How can I see what I am in the happiness of what is being itself?

What-is, being-itself: this, this, this is the appearance of  -- b o d y m i n d / m i n d b o d y  -- in and through and with the One Sustaining Gaze that is life in this place we call existence.

Sunday morning.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

sit with this

Silence, the face of God, is what we gaze on without knowing.

If so, perhaps faith is the willingness to look.

The truly faithful see this.

Friday, August 22, 2014

breathing in, I have nothing to say; breathing out, I say nothing

Silence is the face of God.

No one has ever seen silence.
Cease practice based on intellectual understanding, 
Pursuing words and following after speech,  
And learn the backward step 
That turns your light inward 
To illuminate yourself.  
Body and mind of themselves 
Will drop away and your original face 
Will be manifest.  
—Dogen, 1200-1253
We want words.

We don’t want silence.

Except as monastics.

Faceless; wordless.

Unseen; unheard. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

nothing; kind

I said, “Try solitude.”

It was unkind.

There’s nothing to try.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The book on it

Jesus was a nice Jewish man.

Never anything other than.

Who recognized God in himself.

Becoming what he was.


Nothing other.

As himself, as God is, as a thing might be completely Itself.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

God is...

That which is coming to be.

That which is.

Coming to be.

Monday, August 18, 2014

I give you my word

The poet 
ran out 
of words.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

spiritual - religious; spirituality - religiosity; facing - facelessly

We have fallen between words. Which means we have fallen between worlds. A chasm of voided meaning opens exposing a bridge-less rhetorical lacunae into which unsuspecting pilgrims fall tumbling deeper and deeper into wall-less descent such as does not reveal to the falling one that they are falling at all. Mere gravitationless tumbling -- seeming like being solidly fixed in place -- whereas there is no place that they are. They have disappeared in plain sight of themselves. The reflection they believe they see of themselves is a repeating loop of an imagined time when they believed there was something to believe in that explained, sustained, and reclaimed.
Through such experiences, one thing was becoming clear to me: the dangerous power of the face, of the suffering face, the excluded face, the face of a victim. A story of suffering may become a morality tale or be co-opted by theory. A face calls in a different way. 
The Jewish philosopher Emmanuel Levinas famously argued that to be human is to be responsible for the suffering of the other, for the person whose well-being our very existence may be threatening. This obligation to others is encountered and symbolized in a unique way in the face-to-face relation. The faces of others present persons genuinely different from us, exposed to us. The vulnerability of the human face presents us with the claim: do not kill me. In a sense, Levinas says, the bare face of another says “do not deface me”; allow me, it says, my otherness without violation, shame, or indifference.4 
Wherever we are kept from seeing the face of the other, I was slowly seeing, whether of the other who stitches our clothing, or dies from our taxpayer-supported bombs, we make it easier for ourselves to act as if we, too, are not responsible for that other. It is an option only the privileged have available to them. 
(--from, Is Your Spirituality Violent? The Emergence of Violence as a Theme in My Theological Life and Work, by Tom Beaudoin, Santa Clara University
Sitting in kitchen by bay window I hear periodic thumping. When I finally get up to explore, I see Chitta, one of our cats, looking at me from door between cellar, bathroom dining room and kitchen, as through demanding "what?" - as I notice a mature mouse struggling to right itself not far from hunkered gaze. After a conversation of eyes I take the dazed mouse out across Barnestown Road to the high growth, wishing it as well as it can be.

In prison Friday there were words that war is necessary. Look at the innovations for general use that emerge from product research in time of war -- the conveniences and gizmos that defense industry conjures alongside sidewinders and 50cal ammo. I am unconvinced.

Or, factories in foreign lands that make sweatshirts and sneakers for branded celebrities as lure for $50-100 dollar tag -- a voluntary walking advertisement that perpetuates the cult of "look at me" centered on exposure, bombast, and self-promotion. From mega-church shills to on-court on-field hubris, from glamorous body-shots to seductive substances ingested by the too-monied modeling for the too-down-and-dirty, we are lured into a celluloid/glossy/digital delusion that substitutes for the ersatz substitute of (shall we call it) radical reality. 

Radical reality, another awkward phrase, is what life is without addenda or adumbration.

It's nothing.

It's life.

Without making it anything other than it is.
What are the powers of violence that our spiritual commitments fail to comprehend? How can those who want to call themselves Christians avoid the demand for the spiritual practice of fostering an anticapitalist, nonviolent relation to God and our sisters and brothers, especially our sisters and brothers whose faces we will and can never see? For too long, the facelessness of the economic and religious other—student, worker, gay priest, terrorist suspect—has kept God faceless. But now Jesus returns to open for us the gospel of Matthew, chapter 25, and says to postmodern, consumer capitalist, American Christians: whatever you did to the most faceless of my sisters and brothers, you did to me. An idoloclastic strain in the Christian tradition may now be married to the ethical demand of our time: Jesus calls us by remaining faceless, by being present in and through our relation to the faceless. Jesus is the faceless man, who is kept anonymous by the way our spirituality fails to challenge our economic and religious practices. Jesus is the faceless man, whose flourishing is pinned, governed by our practices. 
Yet early Christianity also described Jesus as a parrhesiast, one who spoke confidently, freely, frankly. As a ritual reactivation of the dangerous memory of this parrhesia, we can ask, and ask again: How often do student voices about tuition inform university policies? How often do we ‘consumers’ hear from those who make our computers and cut our flowers? Who speaks for those arrested in the “war on terror”? When have gay priests been encouraged to speak of their reality? Does Christian spirituality search out the face and the voice, not of the random other, but of the other of the body of Christ and of the globalized economic body—the other on whom we depend and to whom we are related through politics, church, or economy?
What would a nonviolent Christian spirituality look like, both in the Catholic world and on the American scene? Might we have to free ourselves from the desire for spirituality itself?      
(-- Ibid) 
To gaze on life, gaze with life, gaze as life -- this is a real radical reality -- one wherein we see what is taking place, feel what we are seeing, and act without acting from within the action taking place as us in the occasion and circumstances wherein we find ourselves nothing-other than what is unfolding within, among, and between (what we have previously believed or thought of as) us and the world, self and other, subject and object, me and you, us and them, this life and afterlife, heaven and hell, haves and have nots, 1% and 99%, black and white, saved and damned, smart and stupid, living and dying.

I am falling between words. I am falling between worlds.

A piano piece on Keith Jarrett Radio plays -- Autumn in New York -- slow with piano and snare brush.

A bit drowsy and damp in Camden.

Dogs in dooryard.

Chickadee flies from feeder.

Kitchen surrender.

Face it.

It rains.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

right up until the end

Christopher Hitchens was asked "How much longer are you going to do this?" He responded, "Until I drop."

He went on doing what he did best -- pointing out what he considered to be the foible of faith. His voice was needed in the conversation.

In 2011 he dropped. His voice is missed.

The "this" that Hitchens did was to annoy, consciously, the religious-minded.

I'm religious-minded. I'm glad he annoyed me.

Friday, August 15, 2014

laughing at nothing

Which way do you see it?
1. Death is nothing to laugh at.


2. Death
             is nothing --
                       to laugh at.

Thursday, August 14, 2014


We are poor passing facts,
warned by that to give
each figure in the photograph
his living name.

(--from poem Epilogue by Robert Lowell)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Charlie, bemusing, said, “I like the word, I think I’ll use the word ‘repent’.”

Photos of militarized police pointing automatic rifles at unarmed men and women protesting the shooting of unarmed men in Missouri and Los Angeles is unnerving.

It is not a good time to be police. The helmets, the boots, the camouflage pants, the riot gear, the belief that anyone protesting mistreatment is candidate for being shot.

America is afraid of itself. It has become afraid of its citizenry. Congress is afraid of the black man elected twice president; so they play the white plantation owners’ game of disregard and disrespect.

Blowhards at Fox Spews rush to mock even the suicide for egoistic dollars. Keep the brown skins out, they bellow. This is a country for white men making greenbacks wet with surly arrogance.

I worry about the elasticity of apathy. The sleeping electorate has twisted its somnolence into a tight and thin tearing stretch of belief in corroded words such as “equality” “freedom” and “trust.”

The NSA luridly watches us into nakedness. The FBI becomes agent provocateurs inciting hapless anger into absurd plans to cause mischief -- then arrest the duped as terrorists. Throw them into cells.

The CIA foments unrest in foreign lands and spies on congress in its spare time. Assassinations are called like a bartender’s call for last round in barrooms throughout inebriated disheartened minds.

It is a dangerous time. In dangerous times the dangerous people with power and ammunition become more paranoid and dangerous -- making an unsafe situation even more unstable and unstoppable.

The church, having lost any moral cred, is a pantomime of an ancient play whose plot becomes a caricature of a once believable story now trivialized by kabuki ritual without real flesh and blood.

Is this our lament? That police, politician,  pundit, public plotter, pastor and priest have become shadowy relics of useless and cruel posturing? Mirrors become empty? Mouths say nothing worthy?

Surveillance -- first by an omnipotent and omnipresent God, now by an overreaching and oppressive state -- seems to be the one skill of those who would protect us from ourselves by executing us.

It seems a dark time lowers.
I fear something stupid looms.

But for this: Sylvia reads poem, John sings song.
Their paeans transcend pains that loom like gloom.

They finish learning how to work with the dying.
Their inspiring poem and song will serve what soon will die...well.

Is this where lament gives way to lamentation of Jeremiah all those vigilant monastic vigils?
“Jerusalem, Jerusalam, return to the Lord your God!" O People, People cease the fearful foolishness!  

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

brook stays, water goes on

Listening to water in brook on rainy morning is good enough for now.
When a shepherd sees that his sheep have scattered, he keeps one of them under his control and leads it to the pastures he chooses, and thus he draws the other sheep back to him by means of this one. And so it was when God the Word saw that the human race had gone astray: he took the form of a slave and united it to himself, and by means of it won over the whole race of men to him, enticing the sheep that were grazing in bad pastures and exposed to wolves, and leading them to the pastures of God. 
This was the purpose for which our Savior assumed our nature, this was why Christ the Lord accepted the sufferings that brought us salvation, was sent to his death and was committed to the tomb. He broke the grip of the age-old tyranny and promised incorruptibility to those who were prisoners of corruption. For when he rebuilt that temple which had been destroyed and raised it up again, he thereby gave trustworthy and firm promises to those who had died and were awaiting his resurrection. 
(--from Office of Readings, Second reading, Aug 12; From a treatise On the Incarnation of the Lord by Theodoret of Cyr, bishop)
I do not understand such a reading. Metaphor, allegory, history, homiletic, revisionary narrative, pious redaction, opaque prose?

I do not understand what or who "God" is, whether the stories of a Christ in the form of a slave are meaningful to contemporary audience, if belief in such things is a faded occupation.

(I've been spending time with two men in prison whose voices echo through the miles and their experience of bible along with anomalous followers of scripture they encounter from there to here. "Slave" and god allowing massive murdering does not resonate or endear for them.)

Water in brook runs down mountain outside yurt. Drops fall from overhanging tree onto vinyl roof making popping sound.

Faith without belief is a silent gaze into the appearing world. 

I have no doubt -- at least no crippling doubt -- that incapacitates gyroscopic balance.

Only wonder.


At bend in brook.

Monday, August 11, 2014

mesos; madya

Brandon in prison this morning said, “It’s not what I say, it’s what I mean.”

He captures the study of biblical literature.

It’s more than what the words say; it’s what they mean.

And for that, we have to go into the middle.

Between the words and our reflection emerges meaning. 

Clare; arriving at chapel/zendo

gratitude prayer, morning practice

thank you
bringing us

Sunday, August 10, 2014


e well



Saturday, August 09, 2014


Nagasaki 69 years ago. A cruel and unkind act. So suffering extends itself.


@meetingbrook: "Quiescence," the man said at another's 70th birthday celebration. He described that place between clouds & landscape. Where one is no ego.

Friday, August 08, 2014

It is nice to realize



what to do with my self

Killing the self is like finishing a cup of coffee. It just passes through, like everything else.
When Buddhism says, ‘It’s an illusion, it’s empty,' I think back to when Ignatius said, 'Your self -- —that's your problem. You have to conquer self, kill the self.' It’s that tradition, both in Christianity and in Buddhism, in which we are challenged to let go of what is so comfortable and what we cling to as who we are, if we're going to open ourselves to reality and truth.  -- Jerry Brown, “Politics and Prayer”
Then, let it.


Thursday, August 07, 2014

completely seen is no longer seen

Someone fell onto the granite stones of the askew walkway of the Rockland Breakwater. I helped them up when they were ready.
5. Jesus said, "Know what is in front of your face, and what is hidden from you will be disclosed to you.
For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed. [And there is nothing buried that will not be raised.]”
(--from The Gospel of Thomas)
The boy and I walked out and back.

Later, at practice, after zazen, visitor and I read Berdyaev and the epilogue to a book on western wisdom.

Ego fears evolution because it is impossible to hold on to what is moving toward both rest and cessation.

Evolution is the cessation and dissolving of what is moving through itself.

As such, we become what is gone, beyond.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

what is seen when what is there is not

Two days after Hiroshima I turned one.

The prospect of being one in the aftermath of such craven cruelty continues to astonish.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

You ain't seen nothing yet

Is that what transubstantation is? The sharing of being and consciousness between two? The breakdown of separation? That and the physical quantum intercommitment realization of matter?

Tomorrow is the feast of the Transfiguration.

Also the sacred day of Hiroshima.

Monday, August 04, 2014

His blocking foul was his sixth, so he banged his head on a door

It's complicated. The bible. Complicated. 

God, one of the inmates says, allows the slaughter of the innocents by Herod -- then, as Jesus, does this big speech about children being so valuable in the schema of things that no one should dare hurt one, or else.


Like four rabbis we argue scripture and come up with six opinions.

It's ok.

We're meant, we suppose, to be flummoxed.

Because...we are.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

"I am here now," the character said. It might have been God's namespoken.

Sitting zazen the mountain grades itself.

Old school silence notes chainsaw and backhoe.

Chanting heart sutra no old age and death and no extinction of it.

Until the glass broke on kitchen floor there was no need for dust pan and sweep brush.