Today At Meetingbrook

Thursday, April 03, 2003

Note: The bookshop/bakery is closed Wednesday, 2 April, through Tuesday, 8 April. No Events will take place at shop or hermitage until Wednesday, 9 April.

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Is there a monastic view of war?

What does war foreshadow? What will we come to see clearly?

The more you talk and think about it,
The further astray you
Wander from the truth.
Stop talking and thinking,
And there is nothing you
Will not be able to know.
To return to the root
Is to find the meaning,
But to pursue appearances
Is to miss the source.
At the moment of inner enlightenment
There is a going beyond
Appearance and emptiness.

- Seng Ts’an (d. 606)

What if Jesus truly saw clearly; what if he actually embodied what he was saying:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself, and has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.
“I can do nothing on my own authority; as I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me”.
(--John 5 25-30)

War sickens. It should, and it does.

Translating Sutras
We go on unwinding the woof
From the web of their meaning.
Words of the Sutras
Day by day leap forth.
Head-on we’ve chased the miracle
Of Dharma:
Here are no mere scholars

- Hui Yung (332- 414) (dailyzen)

Politics sees the benefits of war. Philosophy looks at war and longs to see something better.

Paul Weiss in his book Beyond All Appearances, writes:
Philosophy is myth sobered and universalized, allowing one to see how, despite their irreducible differences, realities are always together, and could be together in better ways than they are now. (p.xviii)

What is the one continuous reality of this world? If it is war, a future of facts devoid of compassion is foreshadowed. If it is God, a transparence, unforeseen and unable to be seen, is suddenly possible as what-is seeing itself.

Monastics long for a life where reflection and prayer never cease. They are no mere scholars. Chasing the miracle of Dharma, the chaste wholeness of transparence, God in every movement, every glance, and every moment – monastic life is one with presence.

Here is the monastic view of war: We must stop war. We must end belief in war.

Living as monastics in the world we are asked to begin, end, and dwell one continuous now the reality of God.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Note: The bookshop/bakery is closed Wednesday, 2 April, through Tuesday, 8 April. No Events will take place at shop or hermitage until Wednesday, 9 April.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Chocolate tapioca and light snow this Tuesday night.

It's not that a mighty military will not win the war. The war of blood and body count is easy to win. What's hard is history. So many eyes looking at the facts. Not the spin, not the rhetoric -- the facts.

As the moon slips from
Behind a cloud and shines,
So the master comes out
From behind ignorance and shines.
Swans rise and fly toward the sun.
What magic!
So do the pure conquer
The armies of illusion
And rise to fly.

( - Buddha in the Dhammapada, dailyzen)

Who's are the armies of illusion?

What is to be loved about any country is the spaciousness of its heart. This country has its heart broken in this war. The longing for freedom. The willingness to trust leaders who say it is all about liberation. The 19 and 20 year olds who place their bodies in the way of pain and metal fragments.

In Iraq, too, so many whose hearts long for what is difficult to attain and sustain. The ability to not fear. The hope of happiness.

For all the longing and the liberation!

Tonight we pray for light to shine through the somber shadows.

Monday, March 31, 2003

Some sounds are hard to recognize.

I thought it was Morse code, or a malfunctioning electrical connection. Every night. Then on the Owl Pages website, the following:
The Northern Saw-whet Owl vocalises during the breeding season only (usually between March and May). They are silent at other times of the year. The primary courtship call is a monotonous, whistled "hoop", emitted at about 1½ notes per second which may last for several hours without a break.

Some sounds are haunting distress.
This sound I hear is that of war ripping life out of women and children at checkpoint in Iraq.

Outside our window the Owl repeats the call.

Inside our heart's sobbing the dead stay silent.

Sunday, March 30, 2003

This war with Iraq is a koan.

A koan is a question no mind can answer.

A dilemma haunts America’s psyche. How do you support what you love and bring to an end what you hate? How let live that which is life and how let dissolve that which is death?

This koan takes place in many places: between parents and children, police and general population; between invading military and cruel leadership; it takes place between those who support troops and do not support the war; it takes place with loving one’s country but distrusting its leaders; it takes place with loathing a dictator’s stranglehold but seeming to impose our own death rope on the same people he binds.

The koan asks – If wisdom is letting go that which will naturally go, and foolishness is killing that which is already dead, then, how do you make murder and destruction look like loving liberation and creative transformation?

The birds have vanished into the sky,
And now the last cloud drains away.
We sit together, the mountain and me,
Until only the mountain remains.

-- Li T’ai-po (701-?)

Our koan confuses us:
- On every street in America we’re trying to figure out whether we should rush into our next door neighbor’s house if he has behaviors we dislike, has something we want, does not believe or live as we do;

- In every business on our town main streets we are trying to decide if we should take it over in a hostile way, burn down our competition, or murder the nasty proprietor and put our sales clerk in to run the shop;

- In every worshipping church throughout our nation each congregation is trying to determine whether and how begin to discredit the belief system of other denominations, strip tabernacles of species of sacred bread, burn hymnals and smash icons of prayer and devotion;

- In every soul and psyche of each one of us walking the ground we call homeland, each of us is attempting to discern whether to commit suicide or say we’re sorry to someone we’ve disappointed, gouge out eyes or amputate our hands and genitalia because once or more we’ve feigned love and deceived another person, burn down our mother’s house because she failed to tell us she would one day become ill and die.

Our minds cannot answer the difficulties this war asks us to consider in our own everyday lives. Something deeper must be engaged. It is a matter of heart, of spirit, of soul, and the body itself.

No mind can answer this koan.

This war with Iraq is our koan.

Only the mountain remains.