Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Tell truth, and shut up.

I was born with a divine jewel,
Long since filmed with dust.
This morning, wiped clean, it mirrors
Streams and mountains, without end.

- Ikuzanchu

Lies don't carry anyone home.

Jesus said:
"There is no sound tree that produces rotten fruit, nor again a rotten tree that produces sound fruit. For every tree can be told by its own fruit: people do not pick figs from thorns, nor gather grapes from brambles. A good man draws what is good from the store of goodness in his heart; a bad man draws what is bad from the store of badness. For a man's words flow out of what fills his heart."

-Luke 6:43ff

Lies harm everyone. Leave them out.

Spoon River

All of the riverboat gamblers are losing their shirts
All of the brave union soldier boys sleep in the dirt
But you know and I know there never was reason to hurt
When all of our lives were entwined to begin with
Here in Spoon River

All of the calico dresses, the gingham and lace
Are up in the attic with grandfather's derringer case
There's words whispered down in the parlor, a shadowy face
The morning is heavy with one more beginning
Here in Spoon River

Come to the dance Mary Perkins I like you right well
The union's preserved, if you listen you'll hear all the bells
There must be a heaven, God knows I've seen mostly hell
My rig is outside, come and ride through the morning
Here in Spoon River

-- Michael Smith

Entwined to begin with.

Only truth is community.

Friday, September 15, 2006

We might stop accusing one another. Viewing one another with accusation in such a way is outside.

People who really have their minds on the Way do not forget work on the fundamental no matter what they are doing. Yet if they still distinguish this work from ordinary activities even as they do them together, they will naturally be concerned about being distracted by activities and forgetting the meditation work. This is because of viewing things as outside
- Muso

Something more inside is called for.

So Satan, as Girard says, "is the mimetic model and obstacle par excellence.."[9] We can see this particularly clearly in the Gospel of Matthew, where Jesus has spoken of his suffering, death, and resurrection, and Peter rebukes him for saying he will suffer and die. Jesus in turn rebukes Peter: "Get behind me, Satan! You are a skandalon to me...." (Matt 16:23)--you are a scandal, an obstacle, a hindrance to me. Girard observes that Satan is "deconstructed" here in being equated with the mimetic principle, whereas in other texts he is depicted in a personified supernatural role.[10] In this chapter of Things Hidden, entitled "Beyond Scandal," Girard goes on to argue that the concept of scandal is rooted in the Old Testament and the struggle against idolatry, and that the Cross is the supreme scandal that reveals and exposes scandal and its operation through the scapegoat mechanism.
(from "Rene Girard without the Cross? Religion and the Mimetic Theory " by James G. Williams)

What if there were no obstacle?

What is the Christ-Event destroyed all obstacle?

Would being free be too frightening for us?

Let's put that obstacle behind us.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

It doesn't matter what you think.

Evening mountains veiled in somber mist,
One path entering the wooded hill:
The monk has gone off, locking his pine door.
From a bamboo pipe a lonely trickle of water flows.

- Ishikawa Jozan (1583-1672)

It doesn't matter what you want.

"...[W]hat matters is for [you] to become an altogether new creature." (Galatians 6:15)

Following transformation, what you think and what you want are no longer primary.

Then there is only that which is -- in itself -- form become emptiness become form become emptiness.

That new creature is what you are.

As with water, flowing.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Life is humbling.

Long Afternoon at the Edge of Little Sister Pond

As for life
I'm humbled,
I'm without words
sufficient to say

how it has been hard as flint,
and soft as a spring pond
both of these
and over and over,

and long pale afternoons besides,
and so many mysteries
beautiful as eggs in a nest,
still unhatched

though warm and watched over
by something I have never seen -
a tree angel, perhaps,
or a ghost of holiness.

Every day I walk out into the world
to be dazzled, then to be reflective.
It suffices, it is all comfort -
along with human love,

dog love, water love, little-serpent love,
sunburst love, or love for that smallest of birds
flying among the scarlet flowers.
There is hardly time to think about

stopping, and lying down at last
to the long afterlife, to the tenderness
yet to come, when
time will brim over the singular pond, and become forever,

and we will pretend to melt away into the leaves.
As for death,
I can't wait to be the hummingbird,
can you?

(Poem: "Long Afternoon at the Edge of Little Sister Pond" by Mary Oliver from Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays. Beacon Press.)

From the beginning of the war, the one thought: How can such foolish and stupid actions be tolerated by intelligent citizens of this country and members of the world community?

Premise Ten: The culture as a whole and most of its members are insane. The culture is driven by a death urge, an urge to destroy life.

Premise Eleven: From the beginning, this culture -- civilization -- has been a culture of occupation.

Premise Twelve: There are no rich people in the world, and there are no poor people. There are just people. The rich may have lots of pieces of green paper that many pretend are worth something -- or their presumed riches may be even more abstract: numbers on hard drives at banks -- and the poor may not. These "rich" claim they own land, and the "poor" are often denied the right to make that same claim. A primary purpose of the police is to enforce the delusions of those with lots of pieces of green paper. Those without the green papers generally buy into these delusions almost as quickly and completely as those with. These delusions carry with them extreme consequences in the real world.

Premise Thirteen: Those in power rule by force, and the sooner we break ourselves of illusions to the contrary, the sooner we can at least begin to make reasonable decisions about whether, when, and how we are going to resist.

(Premises of Endgame, in Endgame -- Book by Derrick Jensen, c. June 2006
Vol 1: The Problem of Civilization; Vol 2: Resistance )

Black and white cat curls on brown blanket.

No response to my question comes close to satisfying.

I abandon hope. And begin something more useful.

Caring for the particular.

Lola redefines h,o,p,e.

Healing
Open
Presence
Each.

Still unhatched.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

An instance of the way things were becomes the way things will be. This is our present.

Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.

(from Four Quartets 1: Burnt Norton, poem by T.S. Eliot)

I want to know how you come to be who you are.

And if there is any reason to tell anyone.

So much is disclosed when that into which we step reveals itself as the only step there is.

Take no one's word for it.

Find yourself in this place only.

Confluent home.

Monday, September 11, 2006

So many dead in the United States on 9/11. So many dead in Afghanistan. So many dead in Iraq.

Do you believe in terror? Do you believe in maiming and killing? Do you believe in war?

I don't.

Today's students of the Buddha-Dharma need to look for genuine insight. If you have genuine insight, birth and death will not affect you, and you will be free to come and go. Nor do you need to look for worthiness; it will arise of itself. Followers of the Way, do not let yourselves be deluded by anyone; this is all I teach. If you want to make use of genuine insight, then use it right now without delay or doubt. Students nowadays do not succeed because they suffer from lack of self reliance. Because of this lack, you run busily hither and thither, are driven by circumstance, and kept whirling by the ten thousand things.
- Rinzai ( d.866)

I don't believe in terror, maiming, killing, or war because none of these activities have anything to do with life, love, compassion, and forgiveness.

Power and politics, wealth and willful arrogance, resource plundering, property and proprietary acquisition -- these are the companions of terror, maiming, killing, and war.

I'd rather a different path.

On another Sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach, and a man was there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees were watching him to see if he would cure a man on the sabbath, hoping to find something to use against him. But he knew their thoughts; and he said to the man with the withered hand, "Stand up! Come out into the middle." And he came out and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, "I put it to you: is it against the law on the sabbath to do good, or to do evil; to save life, or to destroy it?" Then he looked round at them all and said to the man, "Stretch out your hand". He did so, and his hand was better. But they were furious, and began to discuss the best way of dealing with Jesus.
(Luke 6:6 - 11)

Of course they were furious. They ultimately dealt with Jesus the way unenlightened people always deal with what they cannot understand or control.

Death, or the manner of our death, might not be the final decision we make.

For the Falling Man

I see you again and again
tumbling out of the sky,
in your slate-grey suit and pressed white shirt.
At first I thought you were debris
from the explosion, maybe gray plaster wall
or fuselage but then I realized
that people were leaping.
I know who you are, I know
there's more to you than just this image
on the news, this ragdoll plummeting --
I know you were someone's lover, husband,
daddy. Last night you read stories
to your children, tucked them in, then curled into sleep
next to your wife. Perhaps there was small
sleepy talk of the future. Then,
before your morning coffee had cooled
you'd come to this; a choice between fire
or falling.
How feeble these words, billowing
in this aftermath, how ineffectual
this utterance of sorrow. We can see plainly
it's hopeless, even as the words trail from our mouths
- but we can't help ourselves - how I wish
we could trade them for something
that could really have caught you.

(Poem: "For the Falling Man," by Annie Farnsworth, from Bodies of Water, Bodies of Light.)

The final decision we make might be considering how to answer what Derrick Jensen posed at talk's end in Camden Saturday night.

He said that the essential question is: "What is it like to be you?"

So many alive. So many longing to transcend (but include) birth and death. So many abandoning hope and, instead, weaving communities capable of catching, creatively authoring, and consecrating everyday, ordinary, simply, this -- life.

Itself.

In the world.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Walking across footbridge at mouth of the Passagassawakeag River in Belfast this morning. We meet Alden. We laugh and we cry together. We talk of Sylvia. Lovely September sunshine.

The world? Moonlit
Drops shaken
From the crane's bill.

- Dogen (1200 - 1253)

This was a full day: Mass at St Francis of Assisi, visit across river, mow grass, sit with Susan and Jory at hermitage doing Buddhist ritual for 7th day of 49 for a deceased person, attend lecture at St. Thomas Episcopal on right wing fundamentalist usurpation of Christianity, have Sunday Evening Practice, then attend Compline at St. Thomas' -- the silence of it at end!

Isaiah says:
Courage! Do not be afraid.
Look, your God is coming,
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
the ears of the deaf unsealed,
then the lame shall leap like a deer
and the tongues of the dumb sing for joy;

(from Isaiah 25)

What I remember about 5 years ago is the disbelief that what was happening was happening.

Today it's not about belief. It's about particular people. This person, that person. It's not about ideas or trends, nor is it about movements or explanations of any sort.

Particular people.

One at a time. No numbers. Only smiles. And tears.

No birth. No death.

Forming emptiness.

Emptying form.

Waking here.

Moonlight.

Dripping.