Today At Meetingbrook

Friday, November 19, 2004

If it is true we dwell in the reality we see, much depends on perspective and willingness to see through what is there to be seen.

If what we call God, or "What's It's Name," is indeed Hashem Beyond All Comprehension, it is now, it is here, we must begin intimate and intense watchfulness.

Let others create categories of monster entities who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls -- I'll not look to create such symbols of misappropriation -- the taking unto oneself what belongs to all.

I prefer the whole of it.

Of which I am

No longer separate.

Light in love.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Being nobody is an authentic way of being. Doing nothing is a valuable active life. Going nowhere is a lovely journey.

There's a quaint tradition enacted in the Rose Garden at the White House today. It is the pardoning of the Thanksgiving turkey. It is done with simplicity and good humor. It is a good ceremony. It reminds us of compassion and connection. Even though the turkey would ordinarily be slated to die for America's celebration of gift and abundance, it is allowed to live, it is pardoned.

There is no difference between
The mind,
The Buddha,
And all sentient beings.

- Lotus Sutra

As a nobody, doing nothing, going nowhere, I celebrate the fact of this day. Today a sentient being was allowed to live. Right now, I continue to live. The content-free appreciation of life -- where it is and as it is -- intertwines all who celebrate the fact of it.

I would like more than a symbolic turkey be pardoned -- among them, the innocent and those with unconscionable sentences in prison, and innocent civilians under bombardment in Fallujah, Mosul, and Najaf. I would like pardon be given to hostages, political prisoners, and the needless poor in societies capable of better generosity.

The poet says:

I'm Nobody! Who are you?
Are you--Nobody--too?
Then there's a pair of us?
Don't tell! they'd advertise--you know!

How dreary--to be--Somebody!
How public--like a Frog--
To tell one's name--the livelong June--
To an admiring Bog!

(Poem by Emily Dickenson)

We'd do well to pair up nobodies, doing nothing, going nowhere. Together we'd be a force negating or neutralizing every somebody, wreaking havoc, enroute paradise.

We'd surround them with peace.

We'd stand back and retreat with prayer and love.

We'd incarnate and embody the antithesis of celebrity, greed for power, and inane quest for supremacy or control.

And when they say, "Move or die!" -- We’ll be ready to die. And when they do us harm, we'll let their harm pass through our middle -- and evaporate in futility.

And if we die in and for peace, we will die as we have lived.

Is there a moral? No. Is there a payoff? No. Is there a happy ending? (Now, why would that question even come up?)

There is no ending.

Just -- passing through.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

The deer leg was on the second runway when Cesco found it and began to gnaw. Somewhere else by someone else a kill is made.

To train in the fullest sense of the word, one needs an awareness of the impermanence of all phenomena, including our own lives, and an eye that isn’t blind to cause and effect; emotionally speaking, great compassion and courage on behalf of all beings; practically speaking, a firm faith in the Way and a firm resolve to actualize the Way through practice. If there is even a speck of any one of these present when beginning to train, that is enough. All will then become manifest through practice.
- Anon

Our practice leads to the middle. While the country tilts right and righter, there is a need for a practice seeking center.

Overreach topples. It is best to watch out as the weight of purging enemies takes place at a distance. When the next fall begins there will be debris and vituperation.

This morning in the cabin -- a silence holding sacred space for those pained by the terrible turmoil in Iraq.

While real men and women are suffering destructive power and military might, it is hard to suffer gladly foolish creating of horrible retaliation in wars administered with arrogant and hidden purpose.

It is time to recount the votes.

Surely, some mistake has been made.

Surely some slouching toward bedlam makes way without notice.

A trap is set to ensnare the unaware. We must take shelter.

Somewhere a pack has carried away a deer carcass.

We are wary.

Cold night.

Watch!

Monday, November 15, 2004

A classmate from forty years ago writes three of us. He asks a question. Like the end of an Iranian film, the answer is discontinuous.

Knowing that sentient beings
All have a thousand desires
Gripping the depths of their minds,
The Buddha teaches them
In accordance with their characters
And conditions.
With stories, words, and skillful means
He teaches them the truth.

- Lotus Sutra

Like two breaths of a passing sentient being – one inhales, one exhales – we pass, and touch each other in passing.

Dear "three wise(?) men",
I don't believe I am sending this email, but what the heck. I am interested in your definition/description/version of faith/believing. I am not inclined to consider it a "gift", although it has been presented to me that way at times. I lean toward a view of it as evolving/changing/developing, possibly in a variety of directions. It just occurred to me that this issue has been the subject of books, so a recommendation for a book about faith/believing is also requested.
I am tempted to also pose a question or two about "morality", but will refrain. I don't really expect too much of a response, but if any of you three are so inclined, I'd be interested in a response. I have a pretty clear memory of each of you - physical image as well as your "persona". By now each of you is probably only a vague hint of the physical image I remember. Life goes on. Anyway, take care of yourselves and pray for me and my family. Sincerely, Dave


Breathing in, breathing out, one response:
Hello David,
How are you?
I have few beliefs. Mostly, like this evening, I practice Zazen, I sit in silence. I end with, "May our evening prayer rise before you like incense, O Lord, and may your loving-kindness descend upon us.” Last night we ended with Compline.

I live by faith. Not as you might suppose. For me ‘faith’ is the mere trust that what is happening is actually happening.

Another way of saying it for me is: Not to know is to rely on faith. In as much as I don’t know much, actually hardly anything, in fact – I don’t know anything – and thus, not knowing and faith are inseparable.

I don’t understand the common understanding of ‘faith’ or ‘belief.’

Tonight, ‘faith’ is writing this to you, and sending it. Why do you write? I don’t know. Why do I respond? I don’t know. And yet, and yet, and yet – there is your writing, and here is my responding. Knowledge has little to do with it. ‘Faith’ – whether in supernatural or in natural things – is the air we breathe and the sounds we hear.

I actually breathe. I hear my dog barking in the front room. These are facts that surround me like a blanket, a blanket of faith. It is a mere seeing and hearing. No reason, no purpose, no explanation, and no understanding arrive. I am delightfully empty of anything but what is taking place.

‘What is,’ for some, is called God. This, I don’t know. Still, I attend what is taking place. It is enough.
Best, Bill


We finish watching Abbas Kiarostami’s “Taste of Cherry,” the Iranian director’s meditation on life and death.

At the end, he is taking a sound check.