Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, November 13, 2004

The true form of the body is nothing we can see.

Contemplate the body until you see its true form,
then you will cease your grasping.
These contemplations will extinguish
the fires of desire
in the same way that torrential rains
extinguish wild fires.

- Perfection of Wisdom

At the "Many Faces of Death" conversation Saturday reading Who Dies by Steven Levine, the following:
As Achaan Chaa said, holding his thumb and forefinger about an inch apart, "All you have to understand is just this much, just this moment." If you can participate in this moment openly, then you'll more likely be present for the next. If that next moment turns out to be on your deathbed, then you'll be open to that too. There is no other preparation for death except opening to the present. If you are here now, you'll be there then. (p.33)

We make juice from pear, orange, and apple. A lovely sipping treat.

"...Karl Rahner, one of the great theologians of the twentieth century, assured me that no matter the depth of my doubts about God and Christianity, I could still pray. 'If you think your heart cannot pray,' he says, 'then pray with your mouth, kneel down, fold your hands, speak loudly, even if it all seems like a lie to you (it is only the desperate self-defense of your unbelief before its death, which is already sealed)....' Although I couldn't will my heart to have a stronger faith, I could certainly will my body to take a posture of prayer and my mouth to say some words of prayer. Rahner assured me that not only was there no hypocrisy in this, but it was vital that I express my half a mustard seed of faith in this way.

"My favorite definition of prayer also comes from Karl Rahner, who says that prayer is opening our hearts to God. In the most familiar type of prayer, verbal or discursive prayer, we open our hearts to God using words. We talk to God, either aloud or mentally. But that's not the only way to pray. Christianity also has a tradition of contemplative prayer, in which we open our hearts to God without words or with very few words. We heed God's call in Psalm 46: 'Be still, and know that I am God.'"

(excerpt from Kim Boykin's book, Zen for Christians: A Beginner's Guide, published by Jossey-Bass (A Wiley Imprint), 2003)

There's the phrase -- "I am."

It is nothing we can see.

The true form of the body.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Richard comes in saying he's going to die. The vet's hospital, this day after Veteran's Day, told him what he's got is irreversible. He and Pia are talking by the fire. I ask him what he's got, "Is it 'life'?" He say's it's something else and gives a name. Joanie comes in and quickly enters the conversation, and it shifts.

Come to say goodbye,
We sit for a while
By the sandy creek.
On far roads,
You hold out an empty bowl;
Deep in mountains,
Walk on fallen flowers.
Having no master, you
Puzzle out Zen on your own;
Observing strict prosody,
Your poems merit praise.
This going-away
Has no circumstantial cause;
A solitary cloud
Has no fixed home.

- Chia Tao (779-843)

Of course his words are serious. I know they are. And so is whatever conversation the three of them have by fireplace. They are talking about cows now. This is how we carry on with one another. One speaks, the rest listen. This listening shifts around the threesome. Like some modern trinity of origin, word, and spirit they attend as best they can each other and the fire.

And in the beginning was love. Love
made a sphere:
all things grew within it; the sphere
then encompassed
beginnings and endings, beginning
and end. Love
had a compass whose whirling dance
traced out a
sphere of love in the void: in the center
thereof
rose a fountain.

(excerpt from poem "Circus of the Sun" by Robert Lax, 1915-2000)

Joanie says the guy in California was given a guilty verdict for killing his wife. They debate guilt and innocence.

In the beginning of everything there is love.

What happens after that is anyone's guess.

If love has a compass, we have to glance at it from time to time.

Cesco and Sando arrive.

North by Northwest.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

I stand with the teachings of non-violence.

The Height of Heaven, the Thickness of Earth

The body of heaven is extremely high. Open, round, immeasurable, it is boundlessly vast. Covering everything, containing everything, it produces myriad beings without presuming on its virtue, it bestows blessings on myriad beings without expectation of reward. Whether people are respectful or insincere, supportive or antagonistic, is left up to them. Whether people are good or bad, attractive or repulsive, and whether creatures are violent and stubborn or docile and obedient, they are allowed to be so of themselves, without any contrivance.

- Lui I-Ming

War, even for the detached and dutiful, is a troublesome thing.

Real sacrifice is self-sacrifice, not sacrificing others.

We cannot be deceived -- not any longer.

Peace is no deception.

Embody peace.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Just because bombs are falling on Fallujah it doesn't mean we believe in the leaders who say --"We are the ones changing the world, listen to us, or you will be eliminated."

Ceasing is the same as samadhi,
and contemplation is the same as wisdom.
All good dharmas arise from cultivating these two.
And why is this so? This is so
because ceasing overcomes attachment
while contemplating disentangles one entirely from it.

(- from Treatise on Completion of Truth)

The bombing and killing must cease. We must disentangle from the destruction. We stipulate Saddam. He and his boys are better not strangling Iraq. But our grip is becoming tighter around Iraq's throat. Can we let go?


The Philosopher

A man rides a bicycle into town. He's forgotten his clothes,
or maybe this is what he means to do.
He rides carefully into the burning town.

Apartments of old stone list, iron balconies, awnings,
the window-grates blacken with heat. He rides by.

His lip perspires, his eyes intent.
In the hills behind him there is a glow that is not the burning.
The Acropolis maybe. The Dome of the Rock.

The man has a book under his arm. The pages are gilt-edged, the title
has worn away. He has a shoulder-wound also, an old crescent scar.
Now his chest sweats, now his abdomen.
He is more agile than laughter.

The road turns. A black sedan rounds the corner
behind him. They are leaving town or they're trailing him.
Either way it's too late.

The man is not cold without clothes. He sees whole worlds
wherever he looks, and this keeps him busy.
Maps and globes and civilizations not on fire.

Now when he stops and considers the spokes, the bicycle tires,
he sees ashes, nails, explosions of glass.

He does not believe in this. He believes in something else.

(Poem by Rebecca Wee)

We must find this man. We must ask him about something else.

My soul does not believe in the cruelty of either dictators or liberators.

There is something else to contemplate.

Change us, O Mystical Lord of Change, into food for one another!

We cannot swallow steel, nor drink fire, neither can we reconnect blown-away limbs or parts of our face fallen to dirty street.

As I go to bed, Fallujah is going to hell.

Change, O Lord, this world!

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Zen is this moment speaking. Zen is this moment seeing.

Buddha is Sanskrit for what you call aware, miraculously aware. Responding, perceiving, arching your brows, blinking your eyes, moving your hands and feet, it?s all your miraculously aware nature. And this nature is the mind. And the mind is the buddha. And the buddha is the path. And the path is zen. But the word zen is one that remains a puzzle to both mortals an sages. Seeing your nature is zen. Unless you see your nature, it?s not zen.
- Bodhidharma (d. 533)

When we say what we see, and when we see what we say -- everything is revealed as what it is -- just this, nothing more.

"See. Either we are one with the Holy Spirit, or not. Eh? And if the incarnation, the 'Word Made Flesh', is a living reality - then the whole cosmos is sacramentalized...is sacred and holy...is redeemed....
"To appreciate this you've got to know that revelation is all around you, all the time. -Revelation expressing itself as beauty, truth, goodness, and especially love!...Creation is lit up with the numinous...
"And faith is the surrender to this great gift of love, Life!...to be alive in Creation....Submit to it - not in the sense of passive resignation, but in acceptance and participation in being!...
"In total inhalation, in the act of Eucharist, you eat the Mystical Body, the Cosmic Christ, by accepting, by participating, in joy, the total charity of your being in creation! -The I of you dies to One...You are, in the truest sense, what you eat.
"And in total exhalation you offer up, give back, go home in redemption....You do this by curing the inner split between you and God (the incarnate Creator) - this division, what we often-times call Original Sin in mystical theology.
"That's why you go to the monastery, the primary reason anyway. It's to do that - to heal the illusion of separation...the separation of you from your true person, from the world in creation, and especially from God.

(Thomas Merton,in Song For Nobody, by Ron Seitz)

We are not to disparage what is.

God is pure no-thing,
Concealed in now and here:
The less you reach for him,
The more he will appear.

~ Angelus Silesius

It is enough to see, say, and be what is here to see, say, and be.

This moment.

In passing.

Touch and go.