Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Let him have his money back.
Stop Clenching

The moment we want happiness, we start to cling to it in our mind. First, we cling to our own idea of happiness. We relate to the outside world as a source of satisfaction and look outward for the things we normally associate with happiness--accumulating wealth, success, fame or power. As soon as we become attached to any idea--happiness, success or whatever--there is already some stress. Clinging is itself a stressful state, and everything that derives from it is also stressful. For example, try to clench your hand to make a fist. As soon as you start to clench your hand, you have to use energy to keep your fingers clenched tightly. When you let go of the clenching, your hand is free again.

So it is with the mind. When it is in such a state of clenching, it can never be free. It can never experience peace or happiness, even if one has all the wealth, fame and power in the world.

(-Thynn Thynn, Living Meditation, Living Insight)
Rather, give nothing back.
“Sir,” said he “I had heard you were a hard man, reaping where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered; so I was afraid, and I went off and hid your talent in the ground. Here it is; it was yours, you have it back.” But his master answered him, “You wicked and lazy servant! So you knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered? Well then, you should have deposited my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have recovered my capital with interest. So now, take the talent from him and give it to the man who has the five talents. For to everyone who has will be given more, and he will have more than enough; but from the man who has not, even what he has will be taken away. As for this good-for-nothing servant, throw him out into the dark, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.”’
(--from Matthew 25)
Don't vote for the bailout.

If a capitalist, a king, or a god wants a return on his money experiment, let him find someone else to kowtow to him.

I'm off the bus.

I'm walking.

Friday, November 14, 2008

"When they said REPENT REPENT, I wonder what they meant." It's a Leonard Cohen lyric.
Immovable as mountains,
single-mindedly seeking true awakening,
with a mind inspired to effort
cultivate the path of concentration,
practice diligently for countless eons
with never any regression or digression.
- Avatamsaka Sutra
"There is a crack, a crack in everything
that's how the light gets in."

Another song. Another Cohen meditation.

Friday night foggy mist.

Fire in wood stove.

Comes midnight.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Alaska, Georgia, and Minnesota still await an elected senator.

William P. Young's The Shack has been read and listened to.

There's a lot to be enthusiastic about.
The moon’s appearance, a river of stars,
snow-clad pines, clouds hovering on mountain peaks.
In darkness, they glow with brightness.
In shadows, they shine with a splendid light.
Like the dreaming of a crane flying in empty space,
like the clear, still water of an autumn pool,
endless eons dissolve into nothingness,
each indistinguishable from the other.
In this illumination all striving is forgotten.
- Hung Chih Cheng Chueh (1092-1157)
An American aide worker was killed in Pakistan.

Two American soldiers were killed in Iraq.

Executive signing statements and executive privilege are being tied into a tight unraveling knot.

There's much to be wary about, much to lament.

It rains in Maine tonight.

A good conversation at the shop.

We must be vigilant.

Cynicism is afoot.

Let's change.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What do we value?
Practice is nothing other than the
capacity to arouse fearless energy.
Without this energy,
whatever practices you perform,
whatever virtuous feelings you have,
all are without substance.
Without this energy,
will you be prepared when
you come face to face with death
in your ordinary state of mind?
How then will you persevere over other hardships?
- Suzuki Shosan (1579-1655)
The furnace is gone in the house. It will fall to 25 degrees under the full white moon. Wood stove in kitchen glows through glass doors.

We spoke of animals tonight. Peter Singer's ethic of all animals are equal:
Many philosophers have proposed the principle of equal consideration of interests, in some form or other, as a basic moral principle; but, as we shall see in more detail shortly, not many of them have recognized that this principle applies to members of other species as well as to our own. Bentham was one of the few who did realize this. In a forward-looking passage, written at a time when black slaves in the British dominions were still being treated much as we now treat nonhuman animals, Bentham wrote:

The day may come when the rest of the animal creation may acquire those rights which never could have been witholden from them but by the hand of tyranny. The French have already discovered that the blackness of the skin is no reason why a human being should be abandoned without redress to the caprice of a tormentor. It may one day come to be recognized that the number of the legs, the villosity of the skin, or the termination of the os sarrum, are reasons equally insufficient for abandoning a sensitive being to the same fate. What else is it that should trace the insuperable line? Is it the faculty of reason, or perhaps the faculty of discourse? But a full-grown horse or dog is beyond comparison a more rational, as well as a more conversable animal, than an infant of a day, or a week, or even a month, old. But suppose they were otherwise, what would it avail? The question is not, Can they reason, nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?

(from ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL, By Peter Singer, from: ANIMAL RIGHTS AND HUMAN OBLIGATIONS)
The light is as midday at midnight.

That we might see.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Wind blows from northwest rippling water as tide begins to fall.

Not drawing the dichotomy between humans and nature, we are not other than nature. Thus we think about how best live in nature considering our needs, animal needs, and the rest of this planet. That's what I'm listening to as ethics philosopher Peter Singer responds to a question about a morally defensible position regarding environment, animals, and nature.

Walking town, living an ethical life suggests mindful appreciation of all of Being along with caring ways of behaving with and within Nature and Being. One zen teacher calls it 100% correct relationship. Responsible and respectful engagement/interaction calls forth from us a new way of being-in-the-world. Awareness invites compassion and forgiveness.

A lord asked Takuan, a Zen Teacher, to suggest how he might pass the time. He felt his days very long attending his office and sitting stiffly to receive the homage of others. Takuan wrote eight Chinese characters and gave them to the man:

Not twice this day
Inch time foot gem
This day will not come again.
Each minute is worth a priceless gem.

- Master Takuan (1573-1645)
http://deoxy.org/koan/32
It is a question of how are we to be with one another. John Rawls' theory of justice contract formulated behind a wall of ignorance suggests the rules and standards we develop will be fairer and more just if the possibility exists that it would be applied equally to us whether we were black or white, male or female, Arab or Italian, Jew or Hindu, rich or poor, very intelligent or not so intelligent.

We are capable of a just society.
A Wonderful Painting

A wonderful painting is the result of feeling in your fingers. If you have the feeling of the thickness of the ink in your brush, the painting is already there before you paint. When you dip your brush into the ink you already know the result of your drawing, or else you cannot paint. So before you do something, "being" is there, the result is there. Even though you look as if you were sitting quietly, all your activity, past and present, is included; and the result of your sitting is also already there. You are not resting at all. All the activity is included within you. That is your being. So all results of your practice are included in your sitting. This is our practice, our zazen.

-Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind
To turn our attention to what is already there within us, we participate in the creation of a wonderful society, a wonderful world within which to live in peace and justice for all.

This Veteran's Day, elsewhere in the world the 11th month, 11th day, 11th hour of the signing of the Armistice ending World War I -- we might consider ending all war.

Even the war within our minds.

The war in our hearts.

The physical wars everywhere.

But how?
...we are invited to forget ourselves on purpose, cast our awful solemnity to the winds and join in the general dance.
­(--Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation)
The Buddha said everything has Buddha nature. That's a first step. That, and then we have to solve the 1st koan:
Chao-chou's Dog
The Case
A monk asked Chao-chou, "Has the dog Buddha nature or not?" Chao-chou said, "Mu."

Wu-Men's Verse

Dog, buddha nature--
the full presentation of the whole;
with a a bit of "has" or "has not"
body is lost, life is lost.
Take your time.

Start now.

It's 11, 11, 11.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Alone on the bay. Rowing to bell buoy. Rise and fall of oars. Swell and trough of water.
Better than a hundred years of mischief
is one day spent in contemplation.
Better than a hundred years of ignorance
is one day spent in reflection.
Better than a hundred years in idleness
is one day spent in determination.
Better to live one day wondering
how all things arise and pass away.
- Buddha in the Dhammapada
Some solitude at harbor. Walking to Rockport cemetery.

Listening to The Shack, rowing and walking. Rising and falling.

Wondering about September 11th during soup and bratwurst.

The night stillness of inner harbor water.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

We are, Paul says, where God lives.
Didn’t you realise that you were God’s temple and that the Spirit of God was living among you?
(1Cor.3)
After years of dark and shadowy hissing that we are stupid but muscular sellers of cellars of fear and cynicism, we hear a clear and open sound that speaks to us as an attentive mother/father saying we are the thoughtful, loving, and just dwelling places of the light-filled holy finding its way through us into the world.
Notes on Serene Reflection

Silently and serenely one forgets all words;
clearly and vividly That appears before you.
When one realizes it, it is vast and without edges;
in Essence, one is clearly aware.
Singularly reflecting is this bright awareness,
full of wonder is this pure reflection.

- Hung Chih (1091-1157)
If we look around with simple wonder, there is a wide vista coming to be seen that has been hidden behind unkindness and deception. We are beginning, again, to see the awakening body/soul of a too long comatose country.
Arthur Miller liked to say that the essence of America was its promise. In the darkest of the dark times, in wartime and drastic economic downturns, in the crucible of witch hunts or racial strife, in the traumatic aftermath of a terror attack, that promise lights the way forward.

This week marked a renewal of America’s promise. Voters went to the polls and placed a bet on a better future, handing the power to an unlikely candidate who promised to draw people together rather than exploit their differences.

The final tally wasn’t close.

We still have two wars to deal with and an economic crisis as severe as any in decades. But we should take a moment to recognize the stunning significance of this moment in history. It’s worth a smile, a toast, a sigh, a tear.

America should be proud.

(Op-Ed Columnist, Take a Bow, America, By BOB HERBERT, Published: November 8, 2008, NYTimes)
It is time to be lovely again.

And humble.

We are ready to be what God is ready to be.

Greet one another as you are.

Step from the darkness of fears out into the open release of tears.

Come home!