Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Be what God is; be grateful.
Be happy at all times; pray constantly; and for all things give thanks to God, because this is what God expects you to do in Christ Jesus.
(1 Thessalonians 5:16)
Advent invites gratitude.

Because God is.

What?

You.

Become.

With gratefulness.

Friday, December 12, 2008

News: American cars are dead and their auto workers are making too much (say some Senators) at 71 dollars an hour. Ok. Elsewhere a professional baseball pitcher's 16.5 million a year for 9 months work, or 1.8 million a month or 7 starts a month at 262,000 for every 3 hours on the mound. Another fellow gets 23 million a year for 9 months work. These kings of baseball are good to go. One guy's $425,000 dollars for three hours work every 5 days has become an obscenity that can be justified only by truly disconnected minds. (If my math is off, it's not by much. If my mind is off, it's off by a mile.)
The Yankees and Burnett agreed to terms on a five-year, $82.5 million contract, the team’s second major strike on the free agent pitching market this week. After reaching a seven-year, $161 million agreement with C.C Sabathia on Wednesday, the Yankees bolstered their rotation again. (--Burnett and Yankees Reach 5-Year Deal TYLER KEPNER, NYTimes, Published: December 12, 2008)
A connected mind is no-mind. It arrives. It attends. It abrogates itself.
When the wind blows through the scattered bamboos, they do not hold its sound after it has gone. When the wild geese fly over a cold lake, it does not retain their shadows after they have passed. So the mind of the superior person begins to work only when an event occurs; and it becomes a void again when the matter ends.
- Hung Ying-ming 1596
Sports and politics are no longer interesting. Their time is up. The throne is abandoned. An earth too soon forgotten is rising from obscurity to place itself before our numbed mind.
Returning to Earth

I'm getting very old. If I were a mutt
in dog years I'd be seven, not stray so far.
I am large. Tarpon my age are often large
but they are inescapably fish. A porpoise
my age was the King of New Guinea in 1343.
Perhaps I am the king of my dogs, cats, horses
but I have dropped any notion of explaining
to them why I read so much. To be mysterious
is a prerogative of kingship. I discovered
lately that my subjects do not live a life,
but are life itself. They do not recognize
the pain of the schizophrenia of kingship.
To them I am pretty much a fellow creature.

(--Poem, "Returning To Earth" by Jim Harrison.)
The time for silly games is past.

Let's drop the bat and the battering.

We are one another. Will we share what we know to be necessary for one and all? We are one another.

Everybody knows that.

And knowing this truth through and through -- sooner or later.

We acquiesce.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ice storm thickens all surfaces. Feet slide along sidewalk. Staying put for night.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Thomas Merton died 40 years ago today. In his honor we pronounce for the 11th time our monastic promises.
Looking for Buddha
Trying to find a Buddha or enlightenment is like trying to grab space. Space has a name but no form. It's not something you can pick up or put down. And you certainly can't grab it. Beyond this mind you'll never see a Buddha. The Buddha is a product of your mind. Why look for a Buddha beyond this mind?

(-- The Zen teachings of Bodhidharma)
As monastics we promise contemplation, conversation, and correspondence. We say them in public.
I live on Earth at present, and I don't know what I am. I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing -- a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process -- an integral function of the universe.
(--Buckminster Fuller, from his book, Seem To Be a Verb)
We word our unknowing.

Happy to be so doing.

Integrally functioning.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Finally coming to a place where one is at home.

Where belonging has been difficult to grasp.
I have lived for more than fifty years,
Floating in the sea of birth and death
There is nothing to grasp.

- Shin’etsu (1639-1696)
Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin (1474 - 1548) met the Aztec Mother who wanted a church built on the spot she appeared. With persuasion of cloak and flowers the Bishop relented. Juan "left everything and devoted himself to the care of the sanctuary and the reception of pilgrims until his death in 1548." (--Universalis.com)

If I were a saint I would do the same.
McClures Beach

Here at the end of the world,
or so it seems to a traveller
in this country,

where the sun buffs the sea silver
in the late afternoon,
and water drips from the high clay banks,

having come as far as it can
from the upland meadows
where tule elk graze,

even here at this end of the world
where two turkey vultures in the sand
empty the white rib cage of a dead seal,

even here where the water is dripping
into the sand, poppies blossom,
yellow and orange,

and the land is bright with wildflowers,
as if to surprise each new visitor
who comes to the end of the world.

(--Poem, McClures Beach, by Sidney Hall Jr.)
I feel I've come to the end of the world. I don't want to build a church -- at least, no one has asked me to. I want to step into the sanctuary of the monastery of the world without distinctions about what is church and what is world. I wish to bow to Mother and thank her for the rain, the snow, the flowers, and the mountain.

To smile to each new visitor. As Juan must have.

Silently, in his eyes, saying: This is where we belong!

Monday, December 08, 2008

What is within is what is withing. What is withing is what is within.

Night spends itself. We are beneficiaries. Behind the hills across the road last dreams begin to turn to dawn.
Seeing the Buddha

At the time of the Buddha there was a monk who was so infatuated with the Buddha that he followed him around like a puppy dog. Wherever the Buddha went, this monk went too. One day the monk became very ill and had to stay in bed. As he was lying in bed he started crying. When the other monks came to see him . . . he said, "I am crying because, being ill, I can't see the Buddha."

Upon learning this, the Buddha immediately came to visit the sick monk, who brightened up and looked happy again. Then the Buddha said to him, "Whoever sees me, sees the dhamma; whoever sees the dhamma, sees me."

Whoever sees a Buddha, sees nothing but enlightenment, which is the essence of the dhamma. Whoever can see the dhamma within, sees the Buddha, equaling enlightenment. The greatest jewel is recognizing the dhamma in oneself and not being attached to any one person, even the Buddha, who only wants to be our guide. When true confidence arises in the dhamma, it gives great impetus to the practice.

(---Ayya Khema, When the Iron Eagle Flies)
With dawn, perhaps, we'll see what is within dawn.
V. Tota pulchra es, Maria. V. Thou art all fair, O Mary.
R. Tota pulchra es, Maria. R. Thou art all fair, O Mary.
V. Et macula originalis non est in te. V. And the original stain is not in thee.
R. Et macula originalis non est in te. R. And the original stain is not in thee.
V. Tu gloria Ierusalem. V. Thou art the glory of Jerusalem.
R. Tu laetitia Israel. R. Thou, the joy of Israel.
V. Tu honorificentia populi nostri. V. Thou art the honor of our people.
R. Tu advocata peccatorum. R. Thou art the advocate of sinners.
V. O Maria. V. O Mary.
R. O Maria. R. O Mary.
V. Virgo prudentissima. V. Virgin most prudent.
R. Mater clementissima. R. Mother most tender.
V. Ora pro nobis. V. Pray for us,
R. Intercede pro nobis ad Dominum Iesum Christum. R. Intercede for us with Jesus Christ our Lord .
V. In conceptione tua, Immaculata fuisti. V. In thy conception, Holy Virgin, thou wast immaculate.
R. Ora pro nobis Patrem cuius Filium peperisti. R. Pray for us to the Father, Whose Son thou didst bring forth.
V. Domina, protege orationem meam. V. O Lady! aid my prayer,
R. Et clamor meus ad te veniat. R. And let my cry come unto thee.
Oremus Let us pray

(--From "My Prayer Book", Fr. Lasance, 1908, pp 554-556. http://www.preces-latinae.org/thesaurus/BVM/TotaPulchra.html)
Within ourselves, perhaps, we'll hear what is within ourselves.

So may it be with us; so may it be within us.

Withing within.
Within withing.

Machias today.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

History is written with facts that have changed names and bear no resemblance to what used to be called truth or reality.

Today, delusion masquerades as historical record.
At one point, Mr. Bush was asked if he wanted any do-overs. “The biggest regret of the presidency has to have been the intelligence failure in Iraq,” he said. “A lot of people put their reputations on the line and said the weapons of mass destruction” were cause for war.
(Editorial, The Deluder in Chief, Published: December 7, 2008, NYTimes)
It is impressive that Mr. Bush will rewrite history without anyone blinking. He's that good.
Buddha as Physician

Buddhism is neither pessimistic nor optimistic. If anything at all, it is realistic, for it takes a realistic view of life and of the world. It looks at things objectively. It does not falsely lull you into living in a fool's paradise, nor does it frighten and agonize you with all kinds of imaginary fears and sins. It tells you exactly and objectively what you are and what the world around you is, and shows you the way to perfect freedom, peace, tranquility and happiness.

One physician may gravely exaggerate an illness and give up hope altogether. Another may ignorantly declare that there is no illness and that no treatment is necessary, thus deceiving the patient with false consolation. You may call the first one pessimistic and the second optimistic. Both are equally dangerous. But a third physician diagnoses the symptoms correctly, understands the cause and the nature of the illness, sees clearly that it can be cured and courageously administers a course of treatment, thus saving his patient. The Buddha is like the last physician. He is the wise and scientific doctor for the ills of the world.

(--Walpola Rahula, What the Buddha Taught, from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book)
It's been a difficult 8 years. The illness is deep.

Time to stop and think. How did we allow such disease? Such suffering?

On eve of Buddha's Enlightenment Day and Mary's Barrierless Coming-To-Existence, I can only be grateful for the invitation to see clearly through the deceit of delusion.

Happy to be invited.