Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Nobody likes the word sin. So we'll call broken trust and selfish harm something else. Let's call it increased separative nefarious trauma, ("isn't").
Don’t say that only
clear water mirrors the moon.
Muddy water also reflects the sky.
Watch, after wind has settled
and the waves are calm,
for a wonderful moon, as lovely as before

- Lin Chi Chung ( 1119)
"Is it not" (the iterative expansion of "isn't") usually begins trying to prove the absence of what is. "Isn't it lovely?" "Isn't he the guy who did (such and such)?"
"Isn't she a someone we know?"

Sin isn'ts.

By trying to prove the absence or opposite of what is the goal is not to introduce doubt, as some might suggest. Rather the goal is to reach certainty. Sin tries to reach certainty.
Following Heisenberg's derivation of the uncertainty relations, one starts with an electron moving all by itself through empty space. To describe the electron, a physicist would refer to certain measured properties of the particle. Four of these measured properties are important for the uncertainty principle. They are the position of the electron, its momentum (which is the electron's mass times its velocity), its energy, and the time. These properties appear as "variables" in equations that describe the electron's motion.
The uncertainty relations have to do with the measurement of these four properties; in particular, they have to do with the precision with which these properties can be measured.

The uncertainty relations may be expressed in words as follows.

The simultaneous measurement of two conjugate variables (such as the momentum and position or the energy and time for a moving particle) entails a limitation on the precision (standard deviation) of each measurement. Namely: the more precise the measurement of position, the more imprecise the measurement of momentum, and vice versa. In the most extreme case, absolute precision of one variable would entail absolute imprecision regarding the other.

(from, Ouantum Mechanics, 1925-1927, The Uncertainty Relations, http://www.aip.org/history/heisenberg/p08a.htm)
A bit like theology. Or poetry. Or the relationality we have with any person. Who can know precisely, or for certain, another. It is this awareness that keeps us honest. The absence of this awareness leads to possession and abuse.
I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there's a pair of us — don't tell!
They'd banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!
( Poem, "I'm nobody! Who are you?" by Emily Dickinson)
About sin I'm not sure I have anything else to say.

Isn't that something?

No.

It's nothing.

In prison yesterday one man said, "The present is gift."

No absence; no opposite.

An only begotten presence draws us all through and beyond.

Friday, September 21, 2007

All vows, Kol Nidre -- for unfulfilled obligations of the past year and the next, forgiveness.
Each night I gaze upon a pond,
A Zen body sitting beside a moon.
Nothing is really there and yet
It is all so clear and bright
I cannot describe it.
If you would know the empty mind
Your own mind must be as clear and bright
As this full moon upon the water.

- Chiao Jan (785 – 895)
In small church in Lincolnville there's a 12 hour vigil for peace through the night.

I've been thinking about at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second) it would take 15 billion years to reach the edge of the known universe.

Even there, finally arrived at, there'll be need for forgiveness and peace.

Pack up.

Let's go!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

So many want to blame the church for their lives.

Do we blame shallow intelligence? Must an intellectual apologize for the ability to question?

Whenever a thought occurs,
Be aware of it,
As soon as you are aware of it,
It will vanish.
If you remain for a long period
Forgetful of objects,
You will naturally become unified.
This is the essential art of zazen.

- Dogen (1200-1253)
Being mindful of this or that is equally unifying. Heaven vanishes into the now. Why look anywhere else?

Identity is the concept that refers to this aspect of existence; the aspect of existing as something in particular, with specific characteristics. An entity without an identity cannot exist because it would be nothing. To exist is to exist as something, and that means to exist with a particular identity.
*--from A is A: Aristotle's Law of Identity,
http://importanceofphilosophy.com/Metaphysics_Identity.html)
We're here in this existence. We're in-formed. No need to pretend we're just passing through.

There's nowhere to go.

It's all here.

Even there.

Is.

Here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I don't know what truth is.
The buddhas and Zen masters of all times and places have emerged only on account of search for truth. Present day seekers are also in search of truth. Only when you attain truth will you be done; until you have attained it, you will repeat your former ways.
- Lin Chi (d 867?)
I still don't know what truth is.
“The truth is that casting aside the time-honored protection of habeas corpus makes us more vulnerable as a nation because it leads us away from our core American values,” said Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, a co-sponsor of the measure with Senators Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, and Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut. Mr. Leahy is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Mr. Specter the committee’s senior Republican; both are former prosecutors.

The legal concept of habeas corpus (“You have the body” in Latin) dates back to medieval England, and is meant to protect people from being locked up indefinitely without a court review. Last year, Congress passed and President Bush signed an act eliminating the right of habeas corpus for non-Americans who are labeled “enemy combatants” in the continuing campaign against terrorism.

(--from, Senate Blocks Detainees’ Rights Bill, By DAVID STOUT, Published: September 19, 2007, WASHINGTON, The New York Times)
How about now?

Nope, I don't.

D'you?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

In Merton's 'Dawn' prayer for Tuesday in Book of Hours the sentence: "We are what we love."

It struck me that some of us are not. Not loving, we cannot be. It also struck me how it is that we use another as object, reject others, disdain or deceive others. In these behaviors we show that we are not.
Light rain, the mountain forest
Is wrapped in mist,
Slowly the fog changes
To clouds and haze.
Along the boundless river bank,
Many crows.
I walk to a hill overlooking the valley
To sit in zazen.

- Ryokan (1758-1831)
Me, minus love, is not at all. Me, with love, is you.
one's not half two. It's two are halves of one:

one's not half two. It's two are halves of one:
which halves reintegrating,shall occur
no death and any quantity;but than
all numerable mosts the actual more

minds ignorant of stern miraculous
this every truth-beware of heartless them
(given the scalpel,they dissect a kiss;
or,sold the reason,they undream a dream)

one is the song which fiends and angels sing:
all murdering lies by mortals told make two.
Let liars wilt,repaying life they're loaned;
we(by a gift called dying born)must grow

deep in dark least ourselves remembering
love only rides his year.
All lose,whole find

(-- Poem by e.e.cummings)
Is that it?

All lose?

Whole find?

John Fowles opened his novel Daniel Martin with these words: Whole sight; or all the rest is desolation.

We love what we are -- why not be this?

Growing deep in dark.

Emerging as I am, we are, as love...

Is.

Monday, September 17, 2007

On an island in middle of Megunticook Lake, cedar strip canoe pulled half onto shore, September clear morning.
All along the trail of moss,
I followed your wooden shoe prints.
White clouds hung around your little island
Where spring grass hid your unlocked door.
I enjoyed the colors of pines after rain
And reached the river’s source
Along the mountain trail.
Facing the stream and the flowers
I came inside a sense of Zen,
Yet cannot find the words.

- Liu Chang Ching (709–780)
What do we not have? What is in absence when we find the presence of something else?
All action aims at getting something that we feel the want of, or at creating something that does not yet exist. In this very special sense, it fills a void, and goes from the empty to the full, from an absence to a presence, from the unreal to the real.
(--p.273, in Creative Evolution, by Henri Bergson, trans. by Arthur Mitchell, 1913)
Is nothing missing?

Is the absence of nothing the presence of which you are?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sunday Evening Practice is quiet and chilly. Sunday morning was a joyful canoe paddle on Megunticook Lake. Sunday afternoon at shop was food and conversation in clear weather.

The promise we take at Meetingbrook Hermitage of 'correspondence' has to do with faithful engagement, of service, of responding with another in their joy or sorrow.
In spring, hundreds of flowers;
In autumn, a harvest moon;
In summer a refreshing breeze;
In winter, snow will accompany you.
If useless things do not hang in your mind,
Any season is a good season for you.
- Mu-mon 1228
A man in the shop today couldn't understand how anybody would want to attract suffering to their self. He does not yet understand the Tibetan notion of Tonglin.
Tonglin is very direct. The essence of the practice is to breathe in the suffering of another person and to breathe out loving-kindness, compassion, and healing. All of us have reference points for pain, and for joy and healing, in our lives; we can practice breathing in suffering and breathing out healing because we know that both exist. When I describe it this way, many of my students' first reaction is, "Won't someone else's suffering contaminate me? Shouldn't I be breathing my own suffering out? What if the suffering I breathe in overwhelms me? What if I don't have any healing energy to offer?" In fact, tonglin is balanced: We do not drown in suffering because tonglin constantly reminds us to breathe out healing; we do not hide in false joy because tonglin constantly reminds us to breathe in suffering. We receive and we give.
(--from Compassion & Tonglin Practice, by by Andrew Weiss, http://www.innerself.com/Meditation/weiss_andrew_60604.htm)
He, we, must first learn how to breathe. In. Out. With awareness and mercy.
The Red Wheelbarrow

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens.

(--Poem by William Carlos Williams)
I love that poem!

Maybe we have to consider further what it means to be one-body.