The joy of living in seclusion deepens as I grow older,Snow on the way. Harbor frozen across. The United States poises. A great uncertainty is moderated by a quiet joy.
For a new poem is born wherever I turn my eyes.
Flowers that withstood the wind
Fall of their own accord;
Thin rain left by clouds has not yet cleared.
The frail butterfly over the fence
Has left the twig where it sat,
And the silken dove has flown
From the eave to sing in the woods.
To attain a vision transcending the here and now
Is not my concern:
What I see is much too clear,
As in a mirror
- Yi Saek (1328-1396)
There's an old Zen story: a student said to Master Ichu, "Please write for me something of great wisdom." Master Ichu picked up his brush and wrote one word: "Attention." The student said, "Is that all?" The master wrote, "Attention Attention."...I bet on an open consciousness. That's what counts. Open consciousness suggests the cult of frivolity is preparing to change. However uncertain we are, the profundity of hope overrides addictive fear. Those who supply fear are vanishing from the street corners of delusion and arrogance. A broom sweeps.
For "attention" we could substitute the word "awareness." Attention or awareness is the secret of life and the heart of practice....[E]very moment in life is absolute itself. That's all there is. There is nothing other than this present moment; there is no past, there is no future; there is nothing but this. So when we don't pay attention to every little this, we miss the whole thing. And the contents of this can be anything. This can be straightening our sitting mats, chopping an onion, visiting one we don't want to visit. It doesn't matter what the contents of the moment are; each moment is absolute. That's all there is, and all there ever will be. If we could totally pay attention, we would never be upset. If we're upset, it's axiomatic that we're not paying attention.If we miss not just one moment, but one moment after another, we're in trouble.
(--Charlotte Joko Beck, Nothing Special: Living Zen)
The Gospels are full of wise sayings of Jesus that seem to be ignored, and one of the most poignant of these was in his meeting with that young man who asked over and over again, insistently, “What must I do to have eternal life?.” When, in the end, Jesus told him that if he wanted to be perfect he would have to sell all that he had and give the money to the poor, the young man went away, sorrowing; because he was very rich. What could be more of a waste than that? You tell someone what he has to do, and he is afraid to do it. And yet... 250 years later, St Antony hears the story, and does give away all that he has, and becomes the founder of monasticism. And then again, over 1,000 years later, St Francis of Assisi hears the story, and gives away his possessions (and some of his father’s) and revolutionises Christianity again.For a penny you can purchase The Catholic Worker paper.
Not all the words that we speak are forgotten, even though we cannot see their effects ourselves. Let us pray that those unknown effects may always be good ones.
(Universalis.com, on Feast of St Antony, Abbot, 251 - 356)
For a song you can see into the heart of wisdom and compassion.
For a change we can see our way clear to trust someone who asks for it.
For now, I can say "I'm glad to be here."