Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, September 13, 2008

It's not about lies. Everybody tells lies. No, the political lies and distortions are about something else.
Holding his stick,
He points directly to humanity,
Yet as he was originally without form,
This portrait is not true.
His form cannot be seen
As form,
His benevolence is merely his
Natural benevolence.
If, all of a sudden,
You can understand this law,
Then your spirit can roam
Beyond the world.

- Ingen (1592-1673)
What are the lies about?

Death.

Each lie kills without mercy.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Presence, attention, listening, & acceptance. That's the answer.

Here's the question: How do you know someone loves you?
Joshu (778-897) asked his teacher, Nansen (748-834),
“What is the Tao?”
Nansen replied, “Ordinary mind is the Tao.”
Joshu asked, “Shall I try to seek it?”
“If you try for it, you will become apart from it,” Nansen replied.
“How can I know the Tao unless I try for it?” persisted Joshu.
“The Tao is not a matter of knowing or not knowing. Knowing is delusion, not knowing is ignorance. When you have truly reached the Tao, undoubtedly you will find it as vast as the boundless space. How can it be discussed on the level of right and wrong?” With these words, it is said that Joshu came to a sudden realization.

(- Case 19 from Gateless Gate)
Tomorrow on Schooner Bowditch, a memorial for Richard. He died the first of December. We'll bring his brass bowl.

We'll invite the bowl.

Sound his remains into sea.

Returning.

Ourselves.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I imagine, at the instant of their transitioning deaths, the three thousand from seven years ago today made an intention. Their instant of what we call death was spent in prayer. They saw reality, true reality, as only the at-death can see it -- and their hearts and minds opened. That opening expressed a core longing of human existence -- a longing for compassion, love, forgiveness, and peace.
Untainted Space
One of the most common analogies used to describe the Buddha-nature is space itself. This analogy has three aspects. First, just as space is omnipresent and yet is unpolluted by everything it pervades, similarly, Buddha-nature pervades every sentient being without being in any way tainted. Second, just as galaxies and universes arise and pass within space, so do the characteristics of our personalities arise and pass within Buddha-nature. Our sensations arise and pass away; Buddha-nature continues. Third, just as space is never consumed by fire, so this Buddha-nature is never consumed by the "fire" of aging, sickness, or death.

(--B. Alan Wallace, in Tibetan Buddhism from the Ground Up, from Everyday Mind)
So, too, we today. We open heart and mind to vast and clear space. Our longing is for compassion, love, forgiveness, and peace. That mind, that longing, traverses time and transcends our ordinary consciousness. With this liberated mind we find ourselves comixing here with there, this time with that time -- all is the service of now, the presencing of presence itself.

This comixed, always originating now, is the prayer of compassion, love, forgiveness, and peace.

We share in this with our brothers and sisters of September 11th, each and every expression of September 11th, each and every place we find ourselves.

They teach us in this openness as we teach them in this openness.

The time we share is rife with compassion, love, forgiveness, and peace -- remember how this gift spread in 2001 immediately following the devastation?

And then we forgot.

Let's remember the real gift they gave us, that we give them.

No more distortions.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Rain this Tuesday. John in from Bangor. Chris from Belfast. Dean from the old Camden bookstore. Sam and Susan play harmonica and splice line. Rock climbing couple come in to check radar on web. She's not happy to be flying to Florida in the eyebrow of Ike the storm.

John, Chris, and I have at the large movements of history, economics, population numbers, and geologic shudders. Perhaps what has been looked at as moral flaws of government representatives has merely been their awareness of the inevitability of decline and deterioration resulting in a single-minded effort to survive and prosper during the down slide. Don't we each wish to remain alive and ahead of the jaws of predation?

So many folks are looking at climate and atmosphere and registering despondency. Where, they ask, has the leadership been? Why has there been such reluctance to admit that forces beyond morality and human intention are at work -- the undulations of civilizations laboring under their own weight, the down turn of creativity into decline and rule by dominant minority stifling political creativity with their totalitarian rules and theocratic pronouncements? The stages of genesis, growth, time of troubles, universal state, and disintegration were identified by Toynbee -- will there be surcease from the repetitive wheel threatening western civilization at this time of American power?
In a classical text entitled "The Questions of King Milinda," a monk named Nagasena uses an allegory. . . A group of people gathered on the edge of a flooding stream want to go to the far shore but are afraid. They don't know what to do until one wise person comes along, assesses the situation, takes a running leap and jumps to the other side. Seeing the example of that person, the others say, "Yes, it can be done." Then they also jump. In this story the near shore is our usual confused condition, and the far shore is the awakened mind. Inspired by witnessing another, we say, "Yes, it can be done." That is one level of faith. After we have jumped ourselves, when we say, "Yes, it can be done," that is quite another level of faith.
(-Sharon Salzberg, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Spring 1997)
Jay has found a lovely spot for himself and pup to meadow roost awhile. Anne calls for schedule of evening conversations. Tina confirms that 'foal' might mean pregnant. Tom brings mail and asks if we got the earlier box of books. Rain stops.

At evening conversation we read from Thomas Moore's foreword to the book by Anthony de Mello, Sadhana. (Sadhana is a Sanskrit term meaning spiritual practice, or, a means of accomplishing something -- a discipline in pursuit of a goal. (Wikipedia). A phrase jumped out: "...the manifestation of the soul in the body" -- leading us to speak of body/soul in this existence, of feeling our way through, and the cause/effect dynamic in Buddhism and the present moment.

Joan, Carol, Saskia, Deb, and I complete the hour as visitor David arrives at end of conversation. He and friend join in a post-final circle extension. He says his faith is what keeps him (to consternation of others) either sane or insane. His intensity bespeaks a vibrancy about positive living.

At snow-bowl an old and wizened frog refuses to budge from roadway as we walk Rokpa the Border Collie -- who suddenly notices a hop and turns when Saskia looks closely at the road sitter. We go by and leave it to its drizzly meditation.

If we saw things differently, would we live free from fear and negativity?

Maybe all does work unto good.

If we completely feel.

It is my friend Jo-Ann's birthday. Someone I love.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Rokpa wanders docks in Rockland. The Jenny Norman leans in with the wind. We walk breakwater to lighthouse.
Students today do not know the truth at all. They are like goats nosing around, taking whatever they find into their mouths. They cannot distinguish the servant from the master, the guest from the host. People like this enter the path with the wrong attitude; they cannot enter into clamorous situations, yet they call themselves genuine renunciants. In fact they are really worldlings.
- Lin Chi (d 867)
Burning stick of incense and lighted remains of tea candle before icon of Mary. A birthday bow to this kind apparition. What an exceptional gift, this birth!
Parting

My life closed twice before its close;
It yet remains to see
If immortality unveil
A third event to me

So huge, so hopeless to conceive
As these that twice befell.
Parting is all we know of heaven,
And all we need of hell.

(Poem "Parting," by Emily Dickinson. Public domain.)
There's a joy in parting found nowhere else.

Going away releases awareness of profound longing.

Soul searches for itself.

Finding.

Nothing other.

At all.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Through gate early this morning a man and woman who would marry later on the J&E Riggin schooner out of Rockland. They said they were following a Buddhist custom wherein on your wedding day you present a gift to monks in honor of the day.

Susan and Greg make music and leave their latest cd as gift to mono's (monastics of no other) at meetingbrook. Inside chapel/zendo, next to seated Buddha, a square package wrapped in tan thread is left. We arrive as they exit, greet with embrace, and quietly part to sit a while, to pray for them, to serve this lovely tradition.
Mist darkens the peaks of
A thousand mountains;
Wind sings, blows the tips
Of the beautiful trees into leaf.
The tip of the pagoda rises
Through the clouds;
Setting sunlight lingers
In the after glow.

- Minagawa Kien (1734-1807)
The bay blew hard but the sun came clear for their vows.

Such good food all day.

Cheers and love!