Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Birds settle on razer wire. A man's mother breathes her last. Fasting and emptiness unite toward humility. We can use all the help we can get.

In utter purity, the bright light pervades all,
With its shining stillness enfolding the great void.
Worldly things, when closely looked at,
Are but illusions seen in dreams.

- Master Han Shan (1546-1623)

In Jeremiah the change is made, first in word, then, in mind and heart. The law is in mind. Written on heart. Now we know. What shall we do with it?

[33.35] Surely the men who submit and the women who submit, and the believing men and the believing women, and the obeying men and the obeying women, and the truthful men and the truthful women, and the patient men and the patient women and the humble men and the humble women, and the almsgiving men and the almsgiving women, and the fasting men and the fasting women, and the men who guard their private parts and the women who guard, and the men who remember Allah much and the women who remember-- Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a mighty reward. (The Koran)

There is nothing else if not forgiveness.

Authentic law is forgiveness.

Forgive you, forgive me.

Empty yourself.

Empty myself.

All will know.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Autumn begins just after midnight.

Ramadan begins at first light.

Let there be nothing behind you; leave the future to one side. Do not clutch at what is left in the middle; then you will become a wanderer and calm.
- Sutta Nipata

When everything falls away, is set aside, it is time to dance.

Wandering tune.

Nothing heard.

Ungrasping.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Bookshop disintegrates. That's the feeling tonight.

Hard rain, our gathered firewood scant;
Lamp frozen, glimmers not at night.
In the cave, wind blows stones and mud.
Moss engravings weatherstrip rickety door.

Brooks in torrent untiring;
People’s words more and more rare.
Where schemes calm heart?
Sitting in the lotus,
Wrapped in robes of Zen.

- The Monk Hsu Yun

Last evening, "Emptiness Dancing."

Tonight, music ceases.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Let things be?

A tiny bit of consciousness. So small. It is frightening to glance out. Even if this bit sees something very very large, what would it do with what it sees?

Sleep seems very desirable. To fall into the dream of small within large. This and this and this. From town to region to state to country to continent to world to planet to solar system to galaxy to infinite space to life to being itself to all that is known and unknown to the entirety.

I am He!
Mind, nor intellect, nor ego, feeling;
Sky nor earth nor metals am I.
I am He, I am He, Blessed spirit, I am He!
No birth, no death, no caste have I;
Father, mother, have I none.
I am He, I am He, Blessed spirit, I am He!
Beyond the flights of fancy, formless am I,
Permeating the limbs of all life;
Bondage I do not fear; I am free, ever free.
I am He, I am He, Blessed spirit, I am He!

(Poem by Shankaracharya, India, 8th C. AD)

We do not know what to do with this vision. We don't know how to be in this insight.

The mind is an uncertain thing. This body is uncertain. Together they are impermanent. Together they are a source of suffering. Together they are devoid of self. These, the Buddha pointed out, are neither a being, nor a person, nor a self, nor a soul, nor us, nor they. They are merely elements: earth, water, fire, and wind. Elements only!
When the mind sees this, it will rid itself of attachment which holds that "I" am beautiful, "I" am good, "I" am evil, "I" am suffering, "I" have, "I" this, or "I" that. You will experience a state of unity, for you'll have seen that all of mankind is basically the same. There is no "I". There are only elements.

(- Ajahn Chah: Bodhinyana, (18 June 1918, Thailand - 1992), meditation master, Theravada Buddhism)

None of it makes sense. The bit cannot see whole. The bite is one mouthful. We cannot see around the curve. Time doesn't tell; time is silent.

"Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me." (Jn. 14:11)

Then, later, in John's gospel:
17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.
19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
25 O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.
26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

(John 17:17-26 KJV)

The earth turns. It is today. Time trickles. People appear and disappear. I long to disappear. (Which I? The "I" that separates and objectifies? The "I" that defends what it thinks belongs to only "it"?)

My heart says: Look with me; Listen with me; There is nothing else.

"Only one book is worth reading: the heart."
"When sitting in meditation, say, "That's not my business!" with every thought that comes by."
"The heart of the path is quite easy. There's no need to explain anything at length. Let go of love and hate and let things be. That's all that I do in my own practice."
"We practice to learn how to let go, not how to increase our holding on to things. Enlightenment appears when you stop wanting anything."
"If you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace. If you let go completely, you will have complete peace."
"You are your own teacher. Looking for teachers can't solve your own doubts. Investigate yourself to find the truth - inside, not outside. Knowing yourself is most important."

(--Venerable Ajahn Chah, monk of the Thai Forest tradition of Theravada)

Here is what I know: If not here, then nowhere; If not now, then never; If not you, then no one.

One is one. One and one is one. One and one and one is one.

Don't be fooled. The people who kill and harm, the people who kill and harm in response to those who kill and harm, are an unbroken circle of one act acting on the selfsame reality. So too are those that love and comfort, heal and nurture -- one selfsame reality. Masters of every age have been trying to tell us about this.

Be made perfect in one?

Let things be.

How?

Speak now!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Angels weep.

We don't know what to make of these times. A president whose two elections are suspect and whose conduct as leader mortifies. A pope whose odd choice of quote inflames Islamic anger. A populace whose awareness is fractioned by wariness and wastefulness.

It is more than any no-self respecting hermit care bear.

Deep on the mountain's an unseen cloister;
Wicker shadows lock in the long bamboos.
Suddenly there's a bell
Ringing now and then,
Empty valley filling with white clouds

Off drawing water, an old monk returns;
Pine-tree dew stains his robe green.
Bell barely murmurs; the cloister gate has closed.
Mountain birds, all by themselves,
Skirmish over roosting spots.

- Ch'en Fou (1240 - 1319)

It's strange to consider being no-self. I don't know what those eastern thinkers are not thinking about. It could be they understand the nature of human foolishness and futility masked as bravado. It could be they weep for our illusion and ignorance.

This morning a row around Curtis island. The rhythm of oar and swell and solitude.

Close to a hundred people at hermitage remembrance yesterday. One of us leaves; one hundred gather. Odd ratio.

About president, pope, and populace -- it is a troubling meditation. Actors in Noh drama. We twirl dance, drama, music and poetry into one highly aesthetic stage art between birth and death. Then we claim there is no birth, and no death. The life between these absences is unsteady.

Only twirl.

Dizzy yet?

Sit awhile.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Note: A Memorial Service in honor of Sylvia Barney

Beginning 1:00pm today, 17Sept2006, at Meetingbrook Hermitage, 64 Barnestown Road, Camden Maine, there will be a Memorial Service in honor of Sylvia Barney.

Park at the Snow Bowl, walk up Barnestown Road to the 3rd driveway on the left.

Sylvia's Memorial coincides with the feastday Hildegard of Bingin.

Music, poetry, food, sunshine, and a Eu-share-logy Circle will take place.

Come by(e)!

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A Remembrance of Sylvia

Sylvia Jannet Barney
9 February 1946 – 4 September 2006

At Meetingbrook Hermitage, 17Sept2006, on the Feast of Hildegard of Bingin

* harp welcome…cheryl
* violin prelude …janet
* welcome…bill
* introductory celtic prayer…lola
* song “gently down the stream”…janet & john
* poem, "my heart being hungry" by edna st vincent millay
* song, “the farthest field”…tina
* poem, "wild geese" (by mary oliver)
* music, “ashokan farewell”…saskia, sam, janet
* eu-share-logy* (a circle of sharing good words of sylvia’s presence)
* song, “now the green blade riseth “ (titled; “love is come again”)…janet & saskia (then all sing)
* psalm 7,8 (nan merrill version)…saskia
* chant of heart sutra, (part of 49 day buddhist prayer for the deceased)
* metta, (sending loving-kindness)…bill

~ may all beings be happy
~ may all beings be safe
~ may all beings come to dwell in their true home
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“The wonder of the world, the beauty and the power,
The shape of things, their colours, lights and shades,
These I saw. Look ye also while life lasts”

(Words from a north country churchyard quoted by Denys Watkins-Pitchford (1905-1990) of Nothamptonshire)

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*("Eu-share-logy" is an intersecting of two words -- Eulogy and Share. A Eusharelogy Circle is the loving practice of speaking well {of Sylvia} in the space between us, in the middle of a shared presence.)