Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Try to stay alive one more day.

If the eye never falls asleep,
All dreams cease by themselves.
If the spirit retains its unity,
All things are of one essence.
When this essence is seen,
In an instant we are free.
We return to the origin
And remain that which we are.

- T’sen T’sang

You've got to imagine she is thinking: Oh shit!

At once, she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men entered they found her dead, so they carried her out and buried her beside her husband.
Acts 5:10

Sapphira took a moment to think.

What to say?

In an instant she could be free.

Truth is just like this.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Your friend is the one who calls you into question.

Once there, you must question what is presented to you. Don't be shy. Don't be indignant. Nor insulted. Your friend is the unexpected one who does not allow any set self-opinion to stand uncontested. Instead, he calls you into question. You cannot be arrogant. You must ask the question. Then you must respond to it.

The universal body of reality
Is so subtle that
You do not hear it
When you deliberately
Listen for it,
And you do not see it
When you look at it.
As for the pure knowledge
That has no teacher,
How can it be attained by
Thought or study?

- Huanglong

There are no teachers. Only learners. Everyone standing in the midst of others is always and only demonstrating herself or himself. This one is revealing himself to another. Herself to another. No teaching; only learning.

Then he said to them, ‘Which of you here, if his son falls into a well, or his ox, will not pull him out on a sabbath day without hesitation?’ And to this they could find no answer.
--Luke 14: 5-6

Forget the rules. Know them, but forget them. Just do what is asking to be done in every moment.

There is no answer. There is, instead, moment to moment response to the mystery we find ourselves living each day. There is no end to it. Mystery, genuine mystery, is not solved -- it is lived.

No final word. No closing statement after which nothing more to be said.

There is always something wanting to be said. It looks to us to find it and to say it. In the same way, scripture (being alive) wants to be lived through our bodies -- not quoted and filed by our minds.

Go to church if it helps you. Grow tomatoes to put store-
bought in perspective. Listen to Elvis and Bach. Unless
you're tone deaf, own Perlman's "Meditation from Thais."
Don't look for hidden meanings in a cardinal's song.
Don't think TV characters talk to you; that's crazy.

Don't be too sane. Work hard. Loaf easily. Have good
friends, and be good to them. Be immoderate
in moderation. Spend little time anesthetized. Dive
the Great Barrier Reef. Don't touch the coral. Watch
for sea snakes. Smile for the camera. Don't say "Cheese."

(from poem "How to Live" by Charles Harper Webb, from Amplified Dog.)

The epigraph to that poem is by Sharon Olds, and reads: "I don't know how to live."

Don't know.

Just live.

It's all there.

Hear the question.

Hear friends.

Let God live through you.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Evening chill damp fog will turn to slippery surfaces as temperature falls.

Day of the dead when "pan de muerto," or bread of the dead, is eaten.

Many times the mountains have
Turned from green to yellow
So much for the capricious earth!
Dust in your eyes,
The triple world is narrow;
Nothing on your mind,
Your chair is wide enough.

- Muso (1275 – 1351)

The wide chair looks out on November emptiness. Bare limbs a sudden novelty.

Thursday Evening Conversation is currently Course in Miracles. Jack leads. New metaphors, new views.

On this mountain he will remove
the mourning veil covering all peoples,
and the shroud enwrapping all nations,
he will destroy Death for ever.

--Isaiah 25: 7

So many are so enthralled with killing and death. They are pleased Jesus was killed for them. The look forward to Jesus killing those not saved. Wars in Afghanistan, and Iraq, soon maybe in Iran, then maybe other Middle Eastern wars with Israel, Palestine, Pakistan, India, Lebanon, Syria. Then to Asia. Then to Eastern Europe. The religious zealots take curious joy in, for them, the prelude to apocalypse. We are an odd people.

Anger

I killed the bee for no reason except that it was there and you were
watching, disapproving,
which made what I would do much worse but I was angry with
you anyway and so I put my foot on it,
leaned on it, tested how much I'd need to make that resilient,
resisting cartridge give way
and crack! abruptly, shockingly it did give way and you turned
sharply and sharply now
I felt myself balanced in your eyes—why should I feel myself so
balanced always in your eyes;
isn't just this half the reason for my rage, these tendencies of
yours, susceptibilities of mine?—
and "Why?" your eyes said, "Why?" and even as mine sent back my
answer, "None of your affair,"
I knew that I was being once again, twice now, weighed, and this
time anyway found wanting.

(Poem: "Anger" by C.K. Williams, from Love About Love. Ausable Press.)

We celebrate the fact of each dead being today. Like the mouse running from my cleaning in the cabin into the cat's mouth. The unnecessary necessity of it.

Saskia said she cried at mass this morning. For Sylvia. For Verena.

At dawn this morning, sitting in meditation cabin, the Christ who will have no part of killing remained in silent presence throughout the sweet light coming over Sally's land.

I know. I was there. Clearly watching.

The joy of it.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

All.
Saints.
Souls.

Presence God.

Few people believe their
Inherent mind is Buddha.
Most will not take this seriously,
And therefore are cramped.
They are wrapped up in
Illusions, cravings,
Resentments,
And other afflictions,
All because they love
The cave of ignorance.

- Fenyang

In this presence, no separation, no isolated self.

Be angry if you must, but do not sin: do not let your anger outlast the sunset: do not give the Devil his chance.
--Ephesians 4:26-27

Sin seeks other. Give it no chance. Chance makes possible other.

The one we call God is no other.

One another.

Souls.
Saints.
All.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

It is Hallow'een -- The eve of All Saints.

Truth is being revealed as what is now taking place.

Clipping cedar branches that hang too close to roof. Standing on peak ridge pole looking out over kitchen, barn, cabin, black and white cat and dog. The afternoon is silent. Clip, saw, snap, toss to ground, climb down ladder.

Wind bells are hung on sawn branch outside small window closest to road.

Forty-some years I’ve
Lived in the mountains,
Ignorant of the world’s
Rise and fall.
Warmed at night by a stove
Full of pine needles;
Satisfied at noon by a bowl
Of wild plants;
Sitting on rocks
Watching clouds and empty thoughts;
Patching my robe in sunlight;
Practicing silence
Till someone asks
Why Bodhidharma came east,
And I hang out my wash.

- Shih-wu (1252-1352)

Earlier I ask Saskia walking snow bowl how she is praying these days. She settles on presence. Prayer of presence. That, and gratitude. Thanking everything for their presence.

Joe will be 88 just after new year. He can't walk much these days. I sit with him on way back from dentist. We conclude everything is too expensive. But he's happy. Newspapers on table. He still likes a beer at night. He's in bed by 8pm. I offer to put storm window in back door. He'll tell his wife I was going to do it. That will spur her, he says.

He's glad he grew up Irish catholic.

When the Buddha was asked how the world started, he kept silent. In the religion of Buddhism we don’t have a first cause, instead we have a never ending circle of birth and death. In this world and in all worlds, there are many beginnings and ends. The model of life used in Buddhism has no starting place... It just keeps going and going.

Now having said that... If you’re a Buddhist it’s OK to believe God was the first cause... It really doesn't go against the teachings of the Buddha, his focus was on suffering... It's also OK to believe science has the answer… Like the big bang theory, etc... Some Buddhist’s don’t even care how it all started, and that’s fine too. Knowing how the world started is not going to end your suffering, it’s just going to give you more stuff to think about.

I hope you can see that God is not what Buddhism is about... Suffering is... And if you want to believe in God, as some Buddhists do, I suppose it's OK. But, Buddhist's don't believe God can end suffering. Only the teaching's of the Buddha can help us end suffering through wisdom and the activity of compassion.

In his whole life and in all his teachings the Buddha never said anything about the One God of the desert.

(from "Do Buddhists Believe in God?" -- by Kusala Bhikshu; A talk given at a high school in Los Angeles.)

The One God of the desert has had to learn the ways of men and women of small towns and large cities far from dry sands.

Cesco walks across bridge ascending Ragged Mountain. I trail behind him. He's independent. I catch up by tow line beyond second runway of autumn ski slope. We walk up then cross over to descend. Brown yellow musty leaves cover trail. It is a joy to be alive and walking in the open.

Maybe that's what God is -- "In the Open."

It might help us when we ask where God is -- and why we don't feel God in our life.

Buddhists have nothing to say about God (perhaps) because God is the nothing we have to say about the matter.

Maybe what we call "God" doesn't matter.

Is God truth and love practicing silence in the open?

Is God mattering spirit?

Just because the words "Lord" or "God" or "Yahweh" or "Allah" or even "Brahman" and "Holy Spirit" are used, we have something more to consider. Consider the absence of that which is evoked. If there be absence, we still continue to engage and encounter the reality of our lives as well as the suffering of everyone in the world.

Nothing we say is substitute for kindness and compassion shown our brothers and sisters -- and all sentient beings -- sharing this earth for the time being. Not title, not formula, not incantation intended to make occur the inconceivable to resolve all conflict and animosity. Instead, the fact, act, and mattering spirit of loving-kindness and simple-compassion is the grace of awareness and presence.

We must be the embodied act that takes place in time and space as invitation or response to another's presence. That embodied action is presence -- it is being in the world as we would have love, truth, or spirit be in the world.

No one can do it for us. Not live for us. Not die for us.

Nor is there any substitute for wholeness and incarnation. Our human realization -- a realization of no otherness -- is the intersection where wholeness and fragmentation cross, where embodying act and spiritual intention marry.

If you ask someone if they are married, or why divorce is so rife, they will have to consider the meditation on intersection and embodiment.

No one can do it for us.

But...with us?

When will God appear? When is the Second Coming? When will Manjushri break silence?

Anyone?

Clothespin?

Monday, October 30, 2006

One to one is loving equation. It's where the notion of church meets the notion of the individual human heart. I say "notion" meaning "a general inclusive concept, a whimsical idea."

Thomas Keating eulogized a fellow monk by pointing out how bringing oneself to nothing one will find out who he is. We look for the great grace of diminishment of self. To sacrifice into gradual humiliation and powerlessness, the healing and purification of whatever talents or specialness into the ordinariness of mere human being.

The teaching of the mind ground
Is the basis of Zen study.
The mind ground is
The great awareness
Of being as is.

- Fayan

We are as we are. Whether in health and vigor -- or, in weakness and diminishment -- we are pilgrims on a journey through emptiness and darkness into what we absurdly trust to be the incorporating inclusion of Christ mind and body.

Gratefulness enables us to find peace in all circumstances by freeing us from resentment. As long as we are merely thankful, we give thanks for what we perceive to be beneficial, yet we retain the lurking fear that something harmful may come our way instead. To be grateful is more. It is our courageous trust that life itself – kind or harsh, happy or sad – is good, if only we receive it as gift. The gift is the opportunity either to fully accept or to change what the moment brings.
The moment we trust in this truth, we are at peace. A person at peace will serve as an agent of peace in the world.
Activism for peace is necessary. Yet no matter how sincere and how admirable, it will have no effect unless our own heart is at peace, because gratefulness has made us fearless.
Since fear is at the root of all that is wrong with our world, we start healing the world by overcoming fear through gratefulness.

(-- from gratefulness.org)

Mongers of fear are not grateful people.

We need not listen to them. They frighten because they are frightened. If we know this, we then are able to listen to fear-mongers -- with compassion and forgiveness.

Peace is how fear is forgiven.

There is much to forgive.

Compassion is our way through.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Bob and Tommy drink coffee. Shop door closed. Flag in. Sign turned. Myles upstairs. Dusk comes early.

I explain to you matters
Pertaining to enlightenment,
But don’t try to keep
Your mind on them.
Just turn to the ocean
Of your own essence
And develop practical
Accord with its nature.

- Yangshan

Man with orange hat is looking for Ray McGovern talk in town. We know nothing of it. Chairs and tables are piled onto Tommy's truck. Myles ties down. Bob drives off.

To be – for this he created all;
the world’s created things have health in them,
in them no fatal poison can be found,
and Hades holds no power on earth;
for virtue is undying.

--Wisdom 1:15

Wood stoves in cabin and kitchen warm. Practice will begin. Offload into barn.

Sunday begins in Belfast church. Ends with film Prairie Home Companion.

Muffins and bread from Chase's Daily. Hugs from Kristen.