Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Hostilities abound. Something is up. Too much insanity all at once portends danger.

Mary Magdalene is a unique and important character in the story of the Resurrection, chosen by Christ as one of the first witnesses of the event that changed the world. http://www.universalis.com/-400/today.htm

How change the world? By recognizing the insanity of the world and still opting to live in the world deep within oneself eradicating the walls of hostility.

Beginners should let the truth reveal itself at all costs. Before the truth reveals itself, you should not engage in unreasonable practices or excessive zazen. If you try to force your vital energy to reveal itself and you become involved in austere practices, your resolve will break down and your vital energy will diminish. It will be useless, and that will be the end of it. All of you should keep this in mind. When you are feeling bad, your resolution will be weaker than normal.
- Shosan

There's no changing the world. There's only opting to see within oneself.

To see within oneself is enough for today.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Blood is life.

From Bamboo Forest Temple,
I faintly hear the evening bell.
Twilight touches the brim of your hat
As you turn and enter dark blue hills.

- Lui Ch'angt-ch'ing (710-785)

Sometimes we forget what it is to be human. Many decide that certainty and perfection -- things attributed to God -- will be theirs once their lives are given to God. Maybe they're right. So many want to be God.

But -- only God is God.

Now in Christ Jesus, you that used to be so far apart from us have been brought very close, by the blood of Christ.
Ephesians 2:13 - 18

The blood of Christ entered humanity.

And remains.

Human.

It is curious that God was not embarrassed to be human. Whereas we wish to be rid of our humanity to become God.

The incarnation is too profound for our likes.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Here's what to do when someone asks you what you believe.

I explored the grounds with monks this evening,
And now the night has passed.
Heavy silence rises all around us
While late moonlight spills through the forest.
The mountain rises almost to heaven.
Sleeping in the clouds is cold.
A single stroke of the early prayer-bell wakes me.
Does it also waken my soul?

- Tu Fu (712-770)

Answer that you believe in what you believe in.

And if they do not understand -- pray the bell of awakening silences the both of you.

Bow, and be gone.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Humans divide by naming and then forget silence. We forget that in silence and root experience we share same parentage, same creation, same creator, and same essential realities of life.

Kabir writes:
I have been thinking ...
I have been thinking of the difference between water
and the waves on it. Rising,
water's still water, falling back,
it is water, will you give me a hint
how to tell them apart?

Because someone has made up the word
"wave," do I have to distinguish it
from water?

There is a Secret One inside us;
the planets in all the galaxies
pass through his hands like beads.

That is a string of beads one should look at with luminous eyes.

- Kabir (http://www.poetseers.org/the_poetseers/kabir/kabir_index/i_have_been_thinking/document_view)

Someone is always making up words. Some practice not to make separate the thing in itself from the word about it. This is difficult. Words are things too. When you have the thing-in-itself and the word-thing, it is difficult for many of us not to take sides, draw lines, defend perimeter, and ultimately attack over erected walls whenever someone thinks their "thing" is threatened by another's "thing."

I prefer no-thing.

"There is nothing but water in the holy pools. I know, I have been swimming there. All the gods sculpted of wood or ivory can't say a word. I know, I have been crying out to them. The Sacred Books of the East are nothing but words. I looked through their covers one day sideways. What Kabir talks of is only what he has lived through. If you have not lived through something, it is not true."
-- Kabir, (Indian Philosopher, 1398-1519)

Susan M. and John C. respond to street handout gotten on way to French and Brawn about getting to heaven from Camden. In it the writer tells how Jesus, who created the universe, became human and asked the Father to punish him for our sins so that we need not receive the punishment we deserve. I tell them I'm not fond of that point of view, that emphasis on punishment.

John, when asked, says that the life of Jesus is an example of non-violence and self-sacrifice for the sake of others. I'm more fond of that view, the emphasis on leading us through the mystery of life.

Sant Kabir (1398 - 1518): conflicting legends abound about his birth. The most commonly held view is that he was born in a Hindu family but adopted and raised in a Muslim household. A weaver by trade, he was one of India greatest mystic-poet, who counted both Hindus and Muslims as his followers. http://www.storytellingmonk.org/ref/holy_sights/people/kabir_hinduism.htm

I think of Diane Eck -- she holds that whoever knows only one religion doesn't know any.

Kabir's tone is direct. He is scathing about all the externals of religion -- idol-worship, pilgrimage, caste, ascetic practices, scriptures and the like are all targets for his scorn -- and Hindu and Muslim divines fare equally badly. He calls for man to awake, to be aware of the inevitability of his own death, to transform inwardly and to die to self, and to live in the awareness of God. His is the path of Love, which he depicts as being extremely difficult. His monotheistic religious stance, "nirgun bhakti," or devotion to the Unqualified Absolute, is shared by all the other Sants of whom Kabir was the first in North India.
(p.204, in Who's Who of World Religions, edited by John R. Hinnells, c.1992)

A terrific storm rages through the area knocking trees and power down. The harbor is torn by wind and rain. There was concern for three schooners out in the bay. (They return safely.)

Without electricity following storm I sit with Andre V. and family from Bangor and Jim O'C. from West Virginia. Jim is an artist and priest who makes cds, sings and plays and performs his lovely music. The Mystery of Christ, we agree, transcends any formulation of it. God will not be measured or limited by our language.

Water, wave, Christ, incarnation, wind, rain, friendship, concern for others, family, homegoing, homecoming, home itself!

How great thou art!

Song, as praise, itself.

Monday, July 17, 2006

A man walks up to me and asks if I've accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I say, "Yes; what's the next question?" He doesn't want to know about me and Jesus. He wants me to be someone else. He wants me to be what he isn't. I can't be that.

Meaning to get away from intellectualization
And avoid word traps,
I sailed across the sea to search for the
Transmission beyond the teachings;
Went on pilgrimages till my sandals broke
And found water in the clear stream,
The moon in the sky.

- Kakua (1143 - ?)

I don't know why Jesus doesn't just take away all those people who want desperately to be taken away and not left behind.

Take pity on us, Lord, take pity:
we have had our fill of contempt.
Our souls have had their fill
of the laughter of the rich,
of the contempt of the proud.

(from Psalm 123)

War is not the answer. Unfortunately, our leaders have never asked the question. Most men and women have never asked the question.

What is the question?

Why aren't you Christ?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The fear is President Bush really wants a devastating war in Middle East. It's only fear, right?

The white clouds
On the mountain tops
Poke halfway into this thatched hut
I had thought too cramped
Even for myself

- Koho Kennichi (1241-1316)

But no one really wants a devastating war in Middle East.

Right?