Today At Meetingbrook

Friday, August 01, 2003

We know little.

We suspect there’s much we don’t know.

But it's what we don't know we don't know that's most intriguing.

Not a clue. Not an inch closer to the far side of the edge of what we suspect is the limit of possible knowledge.

One minute of sitting, one inch of Buddha.
Like lightning all thoughts come and pass.
Just once look into your mind-depths:
Nothing else has ever been.

- Manzan (1649 – 1709)

We don't know what we are doing. We have no idea why we've made it to our 8th year at the harbor. No understanding why we sit in prison every other Friday having each time the best conversations that can be had.

Some embryo nourishes itself within the glimpse each emits toward the other around the table. No explaining. Mere re-presenting one in the other.

To conform one's will completely to the template of divine love is a spiritual practice that [Jacob] Boehme refers to as "putting on the body of Christ.
(p.39 in Love Is Stronger Than Death, The Mystical Union of Two Souls, by Cynthia Bourgeault)

Second body? Mystical body? Embodiment?

Who knows?

Surely some know?

No.

One.

Knows.

Thursday, July 31, 2003

Richard says keep it spiritual, not political.

He has separated and subtracted heaven from hell and called the remainder earth.

Beware of gnawing the ideogram of nothingness:
Your teeth will crack.
Swallow it whole, and you’ve a treasure
Beyond the hope of Buddha and the Mind.
The east breeze fondles the horse’s ears:
How sweet the smell of plum.

- Karasumaru-Mitsuhiro (1579–1638)(dailyzen)

The time has come to re-unite and recover heaven and hell with earth.

Incarnation demands it. Enlightenment will have it no other way. Resurrection concretizes the retrieval. Final liberation empties the distinctions and trinitizes the reality of heaven/hell/earth in one's own bodily reality.

Every day bodies are deadened in Iraq. It becomes increasingly evident shortsighted and narrow-thinking warmongers are bamboozling America and the world. The sorrow is not only personal and particular for families and loved ones of those daily killed; it is also devastating for the safety of the soul of clear-hearted and clear-minded people everywhere.

The ideogram of nothingness sloppily drawn by the Bush administration is cracking and rotting teeth.
The ideogram of nothingness treasured by mindful practitioners of clear seeing is the integrity of authentic souls responding faithfully to what is right there in front of them.

In other words, one and the same reality can be the damnation of some and the salvation of others. So much depends on whether truth is how we scold each other, or truth is how we hold each other. Scolders damn. Holders save.

And letting each go their own way -- held in prayer, not fear -- is how we pass through the body of what is called God.

I am sorrowed by war. I am also sorrowed by arrogant unawareness posing as cocky certitude.

Richard will have to wait. Heaven/hell/earth will not be separated in the name of easing people quietly past the disturbing ugliness of war and posturing pretense of patronizing power.

Instead, in the morning he Saskia and I will go into the prison to be with each and everyone arriving at table for conversation. We might talk about the threats of bodily harm by frustrated cowards sucker-punching someone's teeth out. Or we might talk about the intense and beyond-death love between a monk and a hermit-priest. Maybe we'll explore how science is replacing religion in hosting our awareness of God. Who knows?

For this night, July's end is chilly. August brushes off its jacket.

How sweet the fragrance -- the silence of life indivisible.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

We're losing the connection.

As Congress goes on vacation for a month I propose a vacation for our troops in Iraq.

How is it that officials in government go off to play and rest while men and women in the military stare down bullets and grenades in Iraq?

Those who sent American forces into harms way should remain at their jobs until our military is brought home.

The flowers, the maple leaves in autumn,
And the wintry snows covering
The field all white.
How beautiful they are
Each in its way!
I fear my attachments
Still did not go beyond
The sensuous, for I now
Know what Reality is.

- Daito Kokushi (1282-1334)

Who knows what Reality is?

Who knows what is taking place?

Reality is what is taking place. No explanation, defense, or apology can do anything to Reality but dress up or camouflage what is taking place.

These days I am attached to the suspicion we Americans are in a foreign country shooting and killing citizens of that country because we feel that we can. This suspicion suggests we are blindly following leaders who trample people's lives to enact their political and ideological purposes.

At Tuesday Evening Conversation, reading a Buddhist Vipassana practitioner, it occurs to me that at center there must be wholesome, fearless, and forgiving Reality. "We" do not forgive. Rather "we" step out of the way and allow forgiveness, i.e. Reality Itself, to take place. Our task is to recognize whenever fractured, fearful, vengeful behavior is interfering with the free expression of Reality.

It is not possible to replicate freedom using enslaving, eradicating behavior as means –- means of murder and assassination. It is not patriotic to send men and women to murder and maim citizens of another country in the name of eradicating evil and demolishing terrorism. Terrorism has many costumes worn by many ideologies.

What is taking place from the hands of our Executive Branch of government is beginning to resemble something dark and dead. What this administration identifies as evil falls prey to naked aggression and terrible killing of human beings that resembles the evil so glibly denunciated.

Our "patriotic" reaction to the cruel criminal acts of 9/11 has been to behave like war-crazed hornets throwing themselves madly against anything perceived disturbing the security of the home nest.

We are retaliating without the safeguards of democracy and decency America has traditionally come to demand in all aspects of American involvement with its own and other people.

My attachment to my suspicions becomes more noticeable. A dull, flat, colorless fear arises – one that suspicion detects is a goal of retaliatory justice.

I fear my attachments. I dislike my suspicions.

Are we falling from the center? Is the center beginning to crumble?

Do unreflective and terrifying men loose mere anarchy on the world?

Is the true center -- at heart of everything -- Reality?

If the center is Reality, this Reality is wholesome, fearless, and forgiving. We must not allow fractured, fearful, vengeful men to break our connection with our very heart, Reality Itself, and substitute falsity, lies, and invented explanations.

We must return to center.

Detach from separating inventions.

Face True Reality. Not the invented, hijacked fears planted by twin-terrified actors -- criminal Al-Quaeda, and retribution-minded U.S. administration.

See the many faces Reality asks us to recognize, love, and forgive.

Recognize How beautiful they are / Each in its way!

Only connect.

Sparkle green.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Something is wrong.

Sitting in the Mountains

Rock slab seat
Legs folded
Sitting alone
Not loathing noise
Not savoring silence
The carefree clouds concur.

- Jakushitsu (1290–1367)

Someone is stealing our country.

Count me out. Recount the constitution. Something is missing.

I give no permission to kill in my name. Yet, many die, supposedly that I might live in a free country. But free countries do not lie and kill the way tyrannical countries do. My country lies and kills in the very name of freedom.

What's the difference?

God is badly served by lies and men that lie.

Even the mountains hide their faces in grief and shame.

I support the resignation of men that lie, wage war, and erode freedom.

Who will lead us returning what was lost to its rightful place?

Have we lost our way?

Spiritually.

Come home!

Monday, July 28, 2003

Live alone? With others? Live alone together? Live as one is in community?

Standing alone beneath a solitary pine;
Quickly the time passes.
Overhead the endless sky
Who can I call to join me on this path?

- Ryokan (1758-1831)

This is why we search, smile, and seem foolish to so many.

"We do what only lovers can: make a gift out of necessity." (Leonard Cohen )

What is the necessity?

Draw nearer.

Listen.

Breathe.

Live.

Sunday, July 27, 2003

Death gives us pause.

Life looks both ways -- toward birth and death -- and moves on.

Here you can rest and become
Clean, pure, and lucid.
Bright and penetrating,
You can immediately return,
Accord, and respond to deal with events.
Everything is unhindered,
Clouds gracefully floating
Up to the peaks, the moonlight
Glitteringly flows
Down mountain streams

- Hongzhi Zhengjue (1091–1157)

Brooks dry up this July end.

On Zafu this morning, the sheer silence and stillness of wooden floor!

Openness to others -- this is not only an attitude toward death but also toward people and toward truth. Love and knowledge are the two supreme forms of openness to otherness. Love and knowledge are therefore our "rehearsal for Death."
(cf. Plato Phaedo 64a)* --p.42, from Love is Stronger that Death, by Peter Kreeft

[64a] when he is to die, and has strong hopes that when he is dead he will attain the greatest blessings in that other land. So I will try to tell you, Simmias, and Cebes, how this would be.
“Other people are likely not to be aware that those who pursue philosophy aright study nothing but dying and being dead. Now if this is true, it would be absurd to be eager for nothing but this all their lives, and then to be troubled when that came for which they had all along been eagerly practicing.”

And Simmias laughed and said, “By Zeus,

(* Phaedo, Plato)

We eagerly practice.

Pausing.

Prayer.

(Silence -- conversing openly with others).