Today At Meetingbrook

Friday, September 20, 2002

The cabin is now Meetingbrook Hermitage's Meditation Cabin. Morning and evening sittings, Saturday Morning and Sunday Evening Practice will be held there. It is our Chapel/Zendo.

Emptiness is a name for nothingness,
A name for ungraspibility,
A name for mountains, rivers, the whole earth.
It is also called the real form.
In the green of the pines,
The twist of the brambles,
There is no going and coming;
In the red of the flowers
And the white of the snow,
There is no birth and no death.

- Ryusai

No name contains everything. It will be, ineluctably, the Cabin.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Sacred reading and sacred conversation is rooted in what is showing up and sounding through now.

The wise people of old who
Took goodness as their way
Were retiring as though shy
Of all around them.
Their conduct to all was
Respectful as though to
Honored guests;
They could adapt themselves
Like ice melting before a fire;
They were artless
As blocks of uncarved wood.

- Lao tzu

What have we forgotten?

Monday, September 16, 2002

Steady greening rain, dropping everywhere, staying like old friends from high away, after long absence, come to tell stories to the ground.

The wise people of old who
Took goodness as their way
Possessed marvelously
Subtle powers of penetration;
They were so deep that
None could plumb their mind,
And, on this account, if forced
To describe them we can only
Say that they moved cautiously
Like people fording a river;

- Lao tzu (dailyzen)

Like those long asleep in their loneliness, stones in brook awaken with near-forgotten memory of former friendship.

Delia Mae at Sunday Evening Practice reminded us of the 14 workers from Honduras and Guatemala who died up north in a van accident on their way to work. We were talking about blood, about word and the ending of hostility.

What is the blood of words? This blood must course through us -- as words enter us through ears and eyes. Becoming part of our tissue, musculature, bone, and veins. These words from the source, the very origin of creating love, passing through us, taking residence in us, settling into quiet watchful waiting near our hearing.

Today is Yom Kippur. Today we look for light in each other. Today we save each other from the darkness we, unawares, impose on ourselves and each other. Seeing even a flicker of light in the other brings that one into a simple radiant community of shared light. The messiah arrives in the light we find and share with each one.

So, today, we move cautiously with alert attention across that dry brook or flowing river. Whether empty or full, we are seekers of light; we are watchers for light wherever it might appear. In any darkness, especially deep darkness, even a mere speck of light opens the way.

Steady greening rain. The resting souls of 14 workers. The empty dark place we find ourselves. Telling stories with old friends -- this is the ground of our shared being.

One step begins, one step continues. Blessed be the way we come to ground!

Sunday, September 15, 2002

Watched film The Book of Life, by writer-director Hal Hartley at harbor room last night. Jesus prefers forgiveness. Final scene, ferry crossing from Manhattan, twin towers receding.

It is an odd juxtaposition – Jesus moving away from expectations of father’s vengeance, crossing through what would become a thin place between destructive justification and constructive compassion.

It’s a wonder to look at something suddenly seen differently.

Wonderful! Wonderful!
The sermon of the inanimate is inconceivable.
If you try to hear it with your ears,
You’ll hardly understand
Only when you hear it in your eyes
Will you be able to know.

- Dongshan Liangjie (807-869)(dailyzen)

Eyes hear what is -- without commentary.

Forgiveness needs compassionate understanding. Forgiveness is curious watchfulness of what is emerging through. Jesus anguishes what to do with what he sees -- the sight of what is emerging through. Humankind moves with an uncertain emergence through this current time, form, and mind.

The devil, we might say, is curious too. But that curiosity is less wonder than a certain slant of frenzied interest how best to exploit the direction humanity turns.

Plans evolve for war with Iraq. War and humankind – a curious evolution!

I prefer the evolution of rough wood meditation cabin. It sits with us this morning as chapel/zendo presenting its sermon to our eyes.
Each mistake made during construction is forgiven. It stands in prayerful vigil, eyes and ears resting on simple being and silent presence. We see what we hear.

Forgiveness is not easy for those deciding the fate of nations and regimes while sorting through their own economic interests. Forgiveness is not easily fooled. It knows genuine action. It recognizes when genuine necessity disappears and posturing frippery takes over.

For some, there is nothing other than forgiveness. Christ watches. He attends the suffering of end times -- whether personal life, dreams, or war. Christ disappears into what is transparent. We, unfortunately, are difficult to see through. We place bets on possible outcomes instead of emerging from hostility to embody the peace we so long for.

Booking life is not an option. Finding oneself in the book of life means allowing life its own name. Why be other than life? Why make odds on life, wagering with all that longs to live and share life with its origin, the one creating life?

What is is What is. A Franciscan Friar I knew had a favorite sermon of three words: “God is God.”

To live What-is-Life is to enter Christ through one’s own life. If we allow this entering and this emergence to happen, we become what we truly are – one in the other. If we block and barricade our self against the shared blood of one body – the body of Christ – we remain two, separate, dissected.

“Whole sight;” John Fowles wrote, “or all the rest is desolation.” Forgiveness waits and watches this way. To see whole is to see life as it is. To forgive something or someone is to see things as they are. To see and accept something or someone as exactly what and who they are – that’s forgiveness. It seems too simple. Christ help us!

May each have a quiet night and a peaceful death!