Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Maybe we're not mean. Maybe we're unskilled at inclusion. Maybe our curiosity about one another isn't really interrogation. Maybe the woman saying she felt unwelcome in Maine carried her personal unwelcome mat with her. It's hard tellin' what is actually going on in any one of us. Makes ya think though.
We do not see things as they are;
we see things as we are.
-- The Talmud
A fellow familiar with the Course in Miracles told us the quote: "Perception is projection."
Psychologists since Freudian times have spoken of the concept of 'projection' and have stated that "perception is projection." Essentially, what this means is that you can't see anything outside of you that isn't you. So examining an area of your life that you are currently not happy with can yield extraordinary insights about what you believe about life.
(-- in Chapter 5, Turning Passions into Profits, by Christopher Howard)
The difficulty with not exploring within is the consequent temptation to seek outside for some reified example of what is unacceptable to you and proceed to point out to everyone the flawed proof of your dislike. This roundabout confirmation of self-created reality becomes precedent we refer back to, taking on a life of its own -- not only in our own mind, but in the minds of others.
Clear the land, thatch the rush for roof,
All around cherish the empty, the pure.
Mountain blossoms fall by a secluded door,
Within, one who has forgotten the world’s schemings.
Concern with existence needs no possession,
Comprehending the void does not wait upon reason,
All things are of conditions born,
Profound is the silence in the midst of clamor.
A person’s mind is very much the same;
A bird in flight, leaving no tracks behind.

- Liu Zongyuan (773 – 819)
There are many tracks left behind by our unexamined thinking. Sometimes all that can be done when these tracks muddy our floor is to find a mop, fill a bucket with hot water, and swab.
And like Nietzsche before him, Sierksma claimed that those features of the world to which an organism is attuned are those that have proved crucial in its struggle for survival. Perception is the means by which it "goes at the world" spontaneously; that is, seeks to control and assimilate it. In this sense, every species necessarily subjectively modifies or falsifies the world in the very process of perception. In this case, perception is projection.
(--p.254-55 in Feuerbach and the Interpretation of Religion, by Van Austin Harvey, Cambridge University Press, c.1997)
Here's the difference between contemporary belief and contemporary being. Some hold that we create the world, our reality, and the diseases found therein. It seems to me, rather, we determine (by our unexamined interpretation) the world as projected by our fragmented, subjective point of view. In brief, as the Talmud says: We do not see things as they are;
we see things as we are.
Man's nature, so to speak, is a perpetual factory of idols.
--John Calvin
We make of what we see a representation of our often flawed and fragmented sight. With this we cause suffering. So seldom, if ever, do we practice whole-sight.

Jack stops in. He says that forgiveness means no judgment. When we judge things we make of what-actually-is an object of our attack. The Course in Miracles says that forgiveness ends all suffering. Judgment, he says, might be seen as attack on God. Judgment asks reality to be different than it is. What is forgiveness? Forgiveness is letting go of judgment.

The day has been glorious. Clear sky, clear breeze. People making their way through a holiday weekend, through a generous symbolic end of the summer season. The Taverner Consort sings Palestrina and Josquin Desprez. The air and sound are resplendent.

An older sister and younger sister piece together the red wood lobster puzzle. A woman with gray hair chews her Topfen Kuchen and finishes the email on her Apple Mac. Saskia washes coffee cups. The light begins to lower at 6:20 pm. It's Jim's 45th birthday.

Blessing -- it's all blessing!

September 1st is new year's day in my perception.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Wind blows. The boy was born thirty five years ago. Lamb, cake and ice cream with fireworks for Camden's Windjammer Weekend.
Even profound concepts are ultimately empty: the Ultimate Path is wordless, and if we speak, we go astray from it. Though we may characterize the fundamental basis as “empty by nature,” there is no “fundamental basis” that can be labeled. Emptiness itself is wordless: it is not a mental construct.
- Records of the Lanka
We study the Four Seals in prison Buddhist Group:
So what is the particular view that Buddhists try to get used to? Buddhism is distinguished by four characteristics, or “seals.” Actually, if all these four seals are found in a path or a philosophy, it doesn’t matter whether you call it Buddhist or not. You can call it what you like; the words “Buddhist” or “Buddhism” are not important. The point is that if this path contains these four seals, it can be considered the path of the Buddha.
Therefore, these four characteristics are called “the Four Seals of Dharma.” They are:

All compounded things are impermanent.

All emotions are painful. This is something that only Buddhists would talk about. Many religions worship things like love with celebration and songs. Buddhists think, “This is all suffering.”

All phenomena are empty; they are without inherent existence. This is actually the ultimate view of Buddhism; the other three are grounded on this third seal.

The fourth seal is that nirvana is beyond extremes.

(In Shambhala Sun, March 2000, Buddhism In a Nutshell: The Four Seals of Dharma, by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche)
Elsewhere they are written:
Everything conditioned is impermanent
All tainted states are painful
All phenomena are empty and devoid of self-entity
Nirvana is peace

(--from Tricycle Log, by Erik Pema Kunsang)
I yawn one more time. Long day. I turn out light. Sleep.

There's no need to pretend.

We are not parts. We are manifestations of the whole.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Falling-in.

It could mean following in step, or letting go, or even going within. It's meaning depends on whether the context is military, love, or mystical prayer.

Regarding the third consideration, falling-in is the first step in a tripartite journey, the 2nd and 3rd being falling-through and falling-as-is.

We begin awareness with duality. We then engage what is there. ultimately we arrive at the realization there is nothing other than what is there as-is...we are there in undifferentiated suchness.
The monkey is reaching
For the moon in the water.
Until death overtakes him
He’ll never give up.
If he’d let go the branch and
Disappear in the deep pool,
The whole world would shine
With dazzling pureness.

- Hakuin (1685-1768)
Is our true nature "as-is" -- nothing added and nothing taken away?

Is a true living of life one that is lived "in, through, as-is"?
He it was who formed the mountains, created the wind, reveals his mind to man, makes both dawn and dark, and walks on the top of the heights of the world; the Lord, the God of Hosts, is his name.
(--Amos 4:13, reading from Terce, third hour prayer, 9am-noon, Liturgy of the Hours)
A refresher on an aspect of Mahayana Buddhism from a website at a Canadian University:
1. Fundamental Philosophical Tenets Common to All Forms of Mahayana Buddhism

1.1. The Ideal of the Bodhisattva

The religious ideal for human beings changed significantly during this period; in Theravada (or Hinayana) Buddhism the ideal is to become a monk (bhikku) and eventually through self-effort become an arhat, i.e., an enlightened one who would not be reborn, one who already has attained nirvana. This ideal is seen as self-centred by Mahayana Buddhism. To seek personal enlightenment and then to enter nirvana upon death is seen as uncompassionate. The ideal set forth in Mahayana Buddhism is that of the bodhisattva (bodhi = enlightened; sattva = being), who is a human being who has attained enlightenment but deliberately has refrained from passing into nirvana at death, choosing to be reborn, in order to enlighten others. The bodhisattva will not enter nirvana until all sentient beings are able to enter nirvana. Since in Buddhism the divisions between the realms are fluid, many of the boddhisattvas are seen as having been reborn in heaven and therefore become de facto gods to be venerated and petitioned. Bodhisattvas are all-compassionate beings who will help other sentient beings who call upon them in faith.

1.2. Emptiness (Sunyata)

1.2.1. Introduction

Unlike the Buddhism of the Pali canon, which is representative of Theravada Buddhism, Mahayana Buddhism concerned itself with metaphysical questions, foremost of which was the question of the nature of ultimate reality. In this later form of Buddhism, it is assumed to be impossible to separate metaphysics and the religious goal of release from samsara. The ontological first principle of Mahayana Buddhism is emptiness (sunyata), which is also referred to as suchness (tathata), the body of essence (dharma-kaya) or even nirvana. (In the Mahayana sutras there are other synonymous terms used for the first ontological principle or the Absolute.) Everything in Mahayana Buddhism turns on its teaching about sunyata. The doctrine of emptiness states that ultimately all conceptual distinctions are ultimately non-existent or unreal, for everything is empty or devoid of "marks," or characteristics (lakana). In other words, everything, therefore, is devoid of true individuality and own-being (svabhana) (sometimes translated as "self-nature"). All dharmas (individual things) are empty (sunya) and devoid of own-being because they are conditioned and impermanent. The assumption is that only that which is necessary and unchanging has own-being and for that reason can be said to exist in a real sense. All dharmas are without own-being (asvabhana), because nothing exists in a state of ontological permanence and independence.

1.2.2. Dharmas as Empty

The Buddha's teaching of the Chain of Causation or Dependent Origination is the presupposition of the Mahayana concept of emptiness (sunyata). In the Pali canon, the Chain of Causation or Dependent Origination is applied in particular to the human being; the goal of this sort of anthropological analysis is to provide insight into the ultimate empty nature of any conception of the self. What is applied primarily to the individual in the Pali canon, however, is applied to all dharmas in the Mahayana sutras. Whatever dharmas that exist in the phenomenal world (or samsara) are what they are only by virtue of being conditioned by (or dependent on) other dharmas. (By dharma is meant any entity that is assumed to have individual, separate existence, including immaterial entities as thoughts and abstract concepts.) They have come into being as conditioned (or caused) and will in turn condition other things to come into being. This is the more profound truth of the Buddha's teaching about the Chain of Causation or Dependent Origination. All dharmas are conditioned diachronically in the sense that a dharma depends upon other dharmas in the past for its production. A wooden table, for example, depends for its existence upon a tree, which depends for its existence on the rain, which depends for its existence on clouds, which depends for their existence on the sun. (Of course, the wooden table also depends for its existence on the carpenter and the logger.) But dharmas are also conditioned synchronically in the sense that the parts of a system are co-dependent. A body as a system, for example, is composed a various organs that depend on one another. The heart pumps blood to the kidneys thereby providing them with oxygen and nutrients but the same kidneys purify the blood enabling it to bring oxygen and food to the other organs. What is conditioned is understood as empty (sunya), that is, empty of own-being. The conditioned nature of all dharmas is compared to the Jewel Net of Indra, which consists of jewels that are each reflected in all the other jewels thereby giving the collection of jewels its brilliance. The point is that all the jewels are co-dependent for their quality of brilliance. Only that which is unconditioned can be said to have own-being and to exist truly.

In addition to being conditioned, dharmas are also impermanent; in fact, this is a necessary correlative of their nature as conditioned. Dharmas both come into being as conditioned or in dependence on other dharmas also also cease to exist as conditioned by other dharmas. In fact, in some cases, new dharmas cannot come into existence unless other dharmas cease to exist. (A flower, for example, ceases to exist in the process of becoming a fruit.) Only that which is permanent can be considered to have own-being and so truly exist.

In conclusion, all dharmas are characterized as both conditioned and impermanent. This is what it means to be empty of own-being. If something were not empty it would be unconditioned and permanent but there is nothing in this phenomenal world that meets the criteria of being non-empty. It should be noted that the assertion of the emptiness of all things is not to deny the limited reality of the phenomenal world, i.e., the world of plurality and change, but only to deny that it has own-being, by which is meant true existence which means that everything is contingent and transitory as opposed to necessary and permanent. The things in the phenomenal world arise through causes and conditions and in turn cause and condition other things to arise. (This is the middle way of the Buddha between the absolutes of existence and non-existence.)

The teaching about the three marks of existence likewise suggests the Mahayana concept of sunyata. impermanence, suffering (dukkha) and not-self (anatman or anatta) Not-self is the functional equivalent of not having own-being. If everything that can be identified as something is impermanent, then it follows that the only permanence is that which is devoid of all marks or distinctiveness, which is no thing or sunyata. In other words, what is real is that which is not identified as anything or sunyata; only that which is devoid of all marks or characteristics is permanent and ontologically independent (but even these terms do not apply to it, and one cannot even call it an it).

(--from THE PHILOSOPHICAL BASIS OF MAHAYANA BUDDHISM, Lectures in Eastern Philosophy, Prof. Barry D. Smith, Atlanta Baptist University, NB.CA., http://www.abu.nb.ca/Courses/GrPhil/EPhil/MahaBud.htm)
In the middle of the writings on Mahayana Buddhism there is injected a question: "Is it possible to interpret emptiness (sunyata) (or suchness) as God understood non-anthropically?" I like the question.

At Wednesday Evening Conversation we read from the book Presence: An Exploration of Profound Change in People, Organizations, and Societyby Peter M. Senge, C. Otto Scharmer, Joseph Jaworski, and Betty Sue Flowers. In it the thought about part and whole -- that the part is not a part of the whole, but rather the part is a manifestation of the whole.

Any one of us changes the whole of us.

Innumerable beings.

One of which we are.

Re-presenting what is whole.

As-is.

Now-here, no-where.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I've never liked tests. Nor am I fond of trials. I do, however, enjoy prepositions, articles, pronouns, and conjunctions..
Someone asked,
What do you mean by the true Buddha, the true Dharma and the true Way? Would you be good enough to explain to us?
The Master said,
The Buddha- this is the cleanness and purity of the mind.
The Dharma- this is the shining brightness of the mind.
The Way- this is the pure light that is never obstructed anywhere. The three are in fact one. All are empty names and have no true reality.

- Lin-chi (d.867)
I'm also taken by the notion of emptiness, as in, 'empty names.'

I woke up this morning with the traditional rendering of the words of the Lord's Prayer, or, Our Father. In the vague transition from sleep to wakefulness I was taken by the small words.
Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power,
and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Amen.
"In... as it.. in...this
-- who --
into... from... for."

Like some SETI transmission (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence), I find surprising comfort in the nine extracted words, as if now waiting for some scriptural linguist scholar to confirm the breakthrough in this Rosetta Stone with hieroglyphic and demotic scripts finally revealing underlying template of translation.

Is the Source of All Being possibly: "In as it in this, who, into from for"?

Two scriptural citings below. First Luke:
1
He was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples."
2
He said to them, "When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.
3
Give us each day our daily bread
4
and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test."

(--from Luke, Chapter 11)
Then Matthew:
9
"This is how you are to pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
10
your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
11
Give us today our daily bread;
12
and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors;
13
and do not subject us to the final test, but deliver us from the evil one.
14
If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you.
15
But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.
(-- from Matthew, Chapter 6, New American Bible)
Some say life is a classroom for particular learning. (Mark did, last evening.) He might be right. Still, I don't have the same confidence in tests as some educators do.

What is beyond test or trial?

Consider the following: "In as it in this, who, into from for."
I think we're in this reality, as it. By our being in this, we are who is: into, from, and for this Source Reality.

Some say "Father." Some, "Source." And some, "Lord" or "Ultimate One."

Heather's dad died on 15 August. At table in restaurant, he lowered his head and appeared asleep, and was not disturbed for a spell. Two days later the respirator breathing for him was let go, and he returned to the Source from whence he came.

And there he is. In the telling of the story to us. At the gathered table with noodles, rice, fish, poultry, and vegetables -- sitting late of an evening speaking with friends by the harbor -- all our fathers there in the telling.

Our trial, if there is one, is allowing presence to dwell in our midst, between us, quietly and graciously.

Our test, if there is one, is to say what we see with our souls unburdened by too much analysis but easily laden with love.

This morning, in meditation cabin, a candle and stick of incense is left burning for Richard Lewis Meyer.

We'll have bagels, cream cheese, and lox on the balcony and celebrate one another along with our ancestors and the volunteer sunflowers by birch tree at water's edge.

Ok?

Ok!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

All our ancestors sit with us at meal together. We honor them with our eating. Hmmm, hmmm -- good rice, good noodles. More water? Please!
I found my way up
Yoshino’s precipice-hung
Path and into its
Past, seeing there the blossoms
I sought that spring ages ago.

- Saigyo (1118 – 1190)
Always the meditation that when we transform mind now, everything is transformed -- past and future as well as present.

Full moon on quiet water in harbour. Friends leave, friends arrive. We mourn a father's death -- yet there is no being born nor, then, any opposite.
While all of you here are turned toward me, intent only on hearing my sermon and wondering "What's Bankai going to say?" you aren't trying either to hear or not hear the cawing of the crows and the chirping of the sparrows out in back. But even so, once they start to chirp and caw, you recognize and distinguish the crow's "CAW CAW" and the sparrow's "CHIOU CHIOU," and it's not only for crows and sparrows.

Everything here, when you perceive it with the unborn will be simultaneously distinguished, and you won't overlook even one thing in one hundred or one thousand. Your distinguishing everything you see and hear like this, without producing a single thought, is the marvelously illuminating dynamic function of the Buddha mind that is unborn.

(--Bankai, 17th century Zen Master)
New sail flag on balcony weather vane.

Given -- wholeness as source.

What is it we think we withdraw?

There's a creature living in wall behind my pillow.

Monday, August 27, 2007

I saw it come over Hosmer Pond. Fruit Moon or Green Corn Moon tonight. Cat rushed kibbles to get out for full moon hunting. Me, I return to solitude after visit and meeting at new university center in Rockland.

I grow more and more reclusive.
If your mind is fixed on a certain spot,
It will be seized by that spot and
No activities can be performed efficiently.
Not to fix your mind anywhere is essential.
Not fixed anywhere,
The mind is everywhere.
The Original Mind is like water which flows freely
Whereas the deluded mind is like ice
There is a passage in the Diamond Sutra that says:
“The mind should operate without abiding anywhere.”

- Takuan (1573-1645)
I like Takuan's words. I've met icy mind. It is hard and cold.
Mid-morning reading (Terce) Romans 13:8 - 10
Avoid getting into debt, except the debt of mutual love. If you love your fellow men you have carried out your obligations. Love is the one thing that cannot hurt your neighbour; that is why it is the answer to every one of the commandments.
Noon reading (Sext) James 1:19 - 26
Be quick to listen but slow to speak and slow to rouse your temper; God’s righteousness is never served by man’s anger. Nobody must imagine that he is religious while he still goes on deceiving himself and not keeping control over his tongue; anyone who does this has the wrong idea of religion.
Afternoon reading (None) 1 Peter 1:17 - 19
You must be scrupulously careful as long as you are living away from your home. Remember, the ransom that was paid to free you was not paid in anything corruptible, neither in silver nor gold, but in the precious blood of a lamb without spot or stain, namely Christ.

(--on feast of St. Monica, readings for the small hours) http://www.universalis.com/-400/today.htm)
I'm not fond of those wanting ransom. Whether human beings held for ransom, or necessities of life held ransom by those who can afford to hoard and charge high freight.

There'll be a lunar eclipse early in the morning.

Awareness is a treasure available to us.
Awareness cannot be practiced. There has been some confusion between awareness and mindfulness. They are related, but distinct. Sati, or mindfulness, implies there is action of the mind. We purposely set ourselves to pay attention to our minds. We exert effort. Awareness is different. Awareness is devoid of any action. The mind simply "awares." There is no action here, only a collected and spontaneous awareness that just "sees." Here, mindfulness is the cause, and awareness is the effect. You cannot practice or train the effect. You can only practice something that will cause it. We have to start with mindfulness so that awareness may arise in us.
(-- Thynn Thynn, in Living Meditation, Living Insight, from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book)
Crickets and cicadas this august solitude.

It doesn't matter what I think.

Love is the answer.

I've stopped.

Asking.

Arise.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Maybe it is illusion and delusion makes up human society. Paco thinks, for America, it is competitiveness and 'can't lose' attitudes.

Maybe we could forget competitiveness. Learn from loss. Redefine what being human actually is.

A difficult and dark time overshadows us. To pretend otherwise is a particular derangement.

Everybody acts surprised that Mother Teresa knew darkness, emptiness, and unbelief.

Why?

When did lightness, fullness, and certitude become they only recognizable and acceptable expression of human experience, and the only commodity for sale in this world?
Mind set free in the Dharma-realm,
I sit at the moon-filled window
Watching the mountains with my ears,
Hearing the stream with open eyes.
Each molecule preaches perfect law,
Each moment chants true sutra:
The most fleeting thought is timeless,
A single hair’s enough to stir the sea.

- Shutaku (14th century)
It becomes impossible to figure out who is fighting whom in the theater of war -- war on drugs, war on poverty, war on terror, war on immigrants, war on democracy.

It is time to regroup. Time to sink deeper into a different narrative. The yarn being spun is unrecognizable. The terrorists have won -- they co-own the narrative with the "war-on" folks.

The rest of us are irrelevant. Critics become security risks. Those who try to rectify faulty acts and spurious tales about what goes on in the narrow mind of power and profit are the enemy. They were once good neighbors. Now they are dangerous and must be made outcasts.
I am coming to gather the nations of every language.
(--Isaiah 66:18)
Isaiah seems like faint hope these days.
‘Yes, there are those now last who will be first, and those now first who will be last.’
(--Luke 13:30)
Luke sounds like wishful thinking.
Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.
--Mother Teresa
Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.
--Mother Teresa
The Albanian religious sister who knew desolation gives us something to contemplate.

Think timelessly.

Stir the sea.