Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, December 20, 2008

If you care, do something. If you care and don't do something, care is uncaring. If you don't care, and do something, care insinuates beyond intention. But if you don't care, and don't do something, you are no longer alive.
One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.
--Carl Jung
Practice and care are two made one.
With red leaves left after frost
That you gathered under the trees
You brew tea, call me in
A most generous thought!
We sit here not speaking;
The mountain window is still,
But pine winds from ten thousand peaks
Stir in the kettle.

- Gensei (1623-1668)
When someone dies the spirit, they say, leaves. The body is experienced as vacated. I think differently.

With death the spirit goes still and silent. It does not vacate. It doesn't move or activate or sound through. Instead, it rests. In peace. Unmoving.

Stillness is life at peace.

No wonder stillness is unrecognized.

As is God.

Tea, anyone?

Britta, Erika's devoted shepherd dog, went still today.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I'm not fond of the idea God is outside of creation. A very pleasant young man doing theological studies chatted about this notion earlier.

I'm not fond of professional sports either. There might be a connection.
It’s over, the “buddhas and patriarchs” disease
That once gripped my chest.
Now I’m just an ordinary man
With a clean slate.

- Daito (1282-1334)
I like cherry pie in the evening.

A wood stove finally hot.

And being nobody.

Finally no one.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Maybe we're looking for God in all the wrong places.

That's where God is.
I want you to be happy, always happy in the Lord; I repeat, what I want is your happiness. Let your tolerance be evident to everyone: the Lord is very near.
(--Philippians 4:4-5)
Forget being right. It's irrelevant. What's wrong is where we live. It's what Advent tries to point out. To see what's wrong is to stand alone. To act with what's compassionate and forgiving in the face of what's wrong is to sit together.
Soaring birds disappear over the distant mountains,
Leaves fall continually in the quiet garden.
Lonely autumn breezes.
An old monk in his black robe, I stand alone.

- Ryokan (1758-1831)
The old monk falls continually.

We're not dead yet. We're not born yet.

What are we?

Be evident.

Be happy.

Don't know.

Stay near.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

There's no teaching, only learning.
A few fluttering green leaves and fallen red flowers on the doorstep, if they are gathered together, become the subject matter of poetry. A mass of floating cloud and a sweep of glimmering mist before the window, if their meaning is apprehended, suggest a clue to the wisdom of Ch’an.
- Hung Ying-ming 1596
All knowledge is self-knowledge.
The Torture Report

Most Americans have long known that the horrors of Abu Ghraib were not the work of a few low-ranking sociopaths. All but President Bush’s most unquestioning supporters recognized the chain of unprincipled decisions that led to the abuse, torture and death in prisons run by the American military and intelligence services.

Now, a bipartisan report by the Senate Armed Services Committee has made what amounts to a strong case for bringing criminal charges against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld; his legal counsel, William J. Haynes; and potentially other top officials, including the former White House counsel Alberto Gonzales and David Addington, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff.

The report shows how actions by these men “led directly” to what happened at Abu Ghraib, in Afghanistan, in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and in secret C.I.A. prisons.

(--from Editorial The New York Times, Published: December 17, 2008)
The ethical life has nothing to do with knowledge, but with presencing awareness of interrconnectivity.

No one stands alone in this.

We hold it all together.

Let's put it down!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Winter zendo in front room.

A space defined by silence, sitting, scripture, and sutra.
If this life buffeted by the wind
Of a thousand sorrows
Is even more precarious than a bubble on water,
It is a miracle, after sleeping,
Breathing in, breathing out, to wake up refreshed!

(- Nagarjuna (1st c) in DailyZen)
The whole house is monastery of momentary awareness.

Until forgetting.

Which is often.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Everything fails.

It's what makes life bearable.
A Hundred Bolts of Satin
by Kay Ryan

All you
have to lose
is one
connection
and the mind
uncouples
all the way back.
It seems
to have been
a train.
There seems
to have been
a track.
The things
that you
unpack
from the
abandoned cars
cannot sustain
life: a crate of
tractor axles,
for example,
a dozen dozen
clasp knives,
a hundred
bolts of satin—
perhaps you
specialized
more than
you imagined.

(--Poem, “A Hundred Bolts of Satin” by Kay Ryan, from Say Uncle. Copyright 2000)
To fail is to not forget human existence.

As a failure, my memory is just fine.

I hone it daily.
If it is the case that man is emptied of all things, creatures, himself and god, and if god could still find a place in him to act . . . this man is not poor with the most intimate poverty. For God does not intend that should have a place for him to work in since true poverty of spirit requires that man shall be emptied of god and all his works so that if God wants to act in the soul he himself must be the place in which he acts . . . [God takes then] responsibility for his own action and [is] himself the scene of the action, for God is one who acts within himself.
(-- Meister Eckhart in Thomas Merton On Mysticism, by Raymond Bailey, pp.169-170; from his sermon "Blessed are the Poor")
An old Christmas card, undated, with your and your son's name, suddenly appeared today. Two snowmen, a young boy between them, your name and his. You were not in the picture. It was before you died. This much, at least, I know successfully.

Still.

I remember fondly failure.
Note: The shop is closed today. We're working at hermitage.
Yes, there will be Sunday Evening Practice tonight at 6pm at the hermitage.