Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Guest above shop tells how he'd come close to death. Had "DNR" on chart at foot of bed for several weeks. Then, suddenly, survived. He's unsure there's anything following death. He looks around to see if we're alone as he says this.

In first round of Poetry, Tea, & Literature he recites Thomas Hardy. Next he reads Jane Kenyon. Things could be otherwise. Most likely will be. For all of us. His eyes ask if I know this.
"Falsehood has an infinity of combinations, but truth has only one mode of being."
(- Jean Jacques Rousseau)
We live until we die -- that's what he says. Maybe, who knows, something else?

We have to finish a word to let the next word come. We have to stop talking to let the sound of what we say sink in, the sound of who we are find silence.

Saying goodbye after poetry.

He knows he won't be back.

His eyes fill.

He knows far away.

Friday, October 17, 2008

We read Stafford in prison today. In two places, in two conversations. He caught us with his words.

Each of us.
The universal is present
in the individual.
Just so, liberation comes
from recognizing
the subtle in the gross,
the unity in diversity,
the similarity in differences,
the truth in untruth,
the light in darkness,
the life in death.
This is real liberation.

- Nityananda (d.1961)
We try to recognize the fact.
A Ritual To Read To Each Other

If you don't know the kind of person I am
and I don't know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dyke.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant's tail,
but if one wanders the circus won't find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider--
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give--yes or no, or maybe--
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

(Poem by William Stafford)
No need to try to fool each other.

There is no other.

It's just us there in prison.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Morning crossing Park. Two soft boiled eggs, two slices of homemade bread toasted, butter and jam, some coffee, all received in the garden room of a magical house strewn with color, art, books, and cheer.
In the space of a lightning flash,
the world is built and established.
The Buddha’s words are like that lightning:
the words come out, the meaning gathers.
The Buddha is one with all sentient beings:
in the enlightened state no confusion or harm.

- Su Shih (1073)
The thing about hospitality and community is the welcome.

Returning home as stranger no longer.

As days darken earlier.

Rain mirrors the slightest light.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Two presidential candidates end their three debates. Good, it's done.
“Enlightenment” and “Nirvana”?
They are dead trees
to fasten a donkey to.
The scriptures?
They are bits of paper
to wipe mud from your face.
The four merits and the ten steps?
They are ghosts in their graves.
What can these things
have to do with you
becoming free?
- Te-shan (780-865)
Soon we'll vote.

Good, it'll be done.

Now, about becoming free...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

It doesn't matter. Not the things that occupy our minds and make us crazy with fear, anxiety, obsession, and craving .

What matters is love. And real trust.
The dharma master lives here at Mt. Chiao,
and yet, in fact, has never lived here at all.
I’ve come here to ask about the dharma,
but the dharma master sees
through me and says nothing.
It isn’t that the dharma master lacks the words,
but that I do not understand the nature of his reply.
- Su Shih (1073)
First drop of wood is stacked. Moon is full.

At Tuesday Evening Conversation we read the chapter "The Four Limitless Qualities" from Pema Chodron's The Places That Scare You. As people drift in and out from restaurant across parking lot, as Mr O arrives from Pennsylvania to stay a while upstairs, and as six of us talk and laugh through the antics of Border Collie and those he herds in our small space -- we try to unearth what matters and what doesn't in the scary times of these days.
May all beings enjoy happiness and the root of happiness.
This first line refers to maitri.

May we be free from suffering and the root of suffering.
And this second line refers to compassion.

May we never be separated from the great happiness devoid of suffering.
This refers to joy.

May we dwell in the great equanimity, free from passion, aggression and prejudice.
This refers to equanimity.
(--from Maitri, The Love That Never Dies, by Pema Chodron, at Berkeley California, Labor Day Weekend, 1997)
We admit there is some -- no, much -- we don't yet understand. This is ok. We sit together in this practice of conversation to bring together our day, our inquiry, our listening, and our willingness to be present to one another.

The things we've been taught to believe "matter" don't always. What matters tonight is this practice of interactive interdependence. Tonight we look within, look around, and look with grateful appreciation at each one stepping through a circle that is free, open, and informal.

We thank each other for coming. We thank Pema Chodron for her words. And we request that we hold in heart and mind all our brothers and sisters, near and away.

Bell rings.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Oh that Bankei!
All things are
perfectly
resolved in the
Unborn.
- Bankei (1622-1693)
Oh that Haldane!
"My suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose"
(--J.B.S. Haldane, 1892-1964)
Oh that Panikkar!
“The great challenge today is to convert the sacred bread into real bread, the liturgical peace into political peace, the worship of the Creator into reverence for the Creation, the Christian praying community into an authentic human fellowship. It is risky to celebrate the Eucharist. We may have to leave it unfinished, having gone first to give back to the poor what belongs to them.”
(- Raimundo Panikkar, from William R. Crockett, Eucharist: Symbol of Transformation, p. 263)
The moon readies for tomorrow. By barn two cord wood takes shape in moonlight. We'll finish stacking in the morning.
October 2008 full moon: October 14, 20:02 UT (15:02 CDT)
(--earthsky.org)
It is a quiet and great joy to be alive just now!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Don't go looking for anything.
Why do I talk here?
Only because you followers of Tao
go galloping around in search of the mind,
and are unable to stop it.
On the other hand,
the ancients acted in a leisurely
Way, appropriate to
circumstances as they arose.

- Lin-chi (d.867)
Just keep eyes open as you go here and there.

The mystery is that there is anything at all.

See the mystery everywhere.