Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, March 27, 2010

I light the fire at 5:30AM in anticipation of morning practice in the chapel/zendo. Rumi's story of the string of longing was a good beginning to the day following silent sitting.

The story of Christianity is changing.

A once blood-demanding God is becoming a soother of victims. Has God changed -- or are we changing?
Bamboo Hermitage
Empty inside; it's always clean.
No one will peek into its inner garden.
Only a dragon's whistle
And a phoenix's whisper break
The Zen Mind.
The bright moon on a fishing pole
Fills the river around the castle.

(--Taego Bowoo, 1301-1382, DailyZen)
I'm told there is a style of Christianity that believes only Christians will be able to enter heaven -- no other religion, no one who hasn't accepted Christ as their personal savior.

The change is timely.

It strikes me that we are in heaven -- except for those who create hellish unkindness and violent intolerance. Heaven is the acceptance of God in all God's mystery. Those who claim non-christians cannot go to heaven are speaking this from an unawareness so profound as to contribute to the creation of non-heaven.

I opt for God, heaven, Jesus, Buddha, et al -- and all who dwell therein -- along with all my brothers and sisters who, with a changing, growing awareness, allow themselves into such an open and compassionate realm of love and acceptance we've called heaven.

Of course the dogs are in heaven.

They're waiting for us to arrive there.

They want us to know that there is here with attentive presence.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Seven first-time visitors arrived for Thursday Evening Conversation. Four men from New Brunswick, Canada. You never know.
The water in the stream
Looks as if it was dyed with indigo;
The green mountain outside the door
Is never painted.
The colors of the mountain
And the sound of the water
Betray the whole,
But who will be enlightened
To No-reality here?

- Baekoon Kyunghan (1299-1375)
Snow and ice this morning. Saskia finishes her deadlines. I build palate porch at main door to bookshed. Rick finishes his cedar shingling, leaving (as we requested) the southeast wall for us to complete. Jay has one more soffit. Then the building work is done and the landscaping, book transferring, and final touches, remain.

It is a lovely building. Jay did well.

Just one thing matters. When that is seen, all is well. Until then, all is nonetheless well.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

It is the Solemnity of The Annunciation.

Would I say 'yes' if asked to embody the presence of the great creative reality of love and wisdom?

I would have to live and die in and with justice, compassion, kindness, healing, acceptance and forgiveness.

Tall order.

Can I think about it?

How long?

I'll get back to you.

"Beep..."

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Words matter. The rhetoric used in politics turns violent. It's not right. It's not right for the right to be so wrong.
If a fleeting thought conjures the whole,
How can I describe Reality in figures?
While empty moonlight
On the water shows everything,
The mirror of No Mind reflects
Only Nothingness.

- Baekoon Kyunghan (1299-1375)
The health care bill is now law.

Congressional leadership must help change the rhetoric and ease up dangerous opposition to everything. There are citizens in this country who do not understand the posturing and game playing on the part of elected political leaders, strategists, and pundits -- these citizens mistakenly think the orators believe the inciting rhetoric they issue. They don't. Not really.

It's a partisan game being played for fear-based financial gain. But the citizenry might come to think violent action needs to be taken to protect the country. Let's not become confused. Let's remember kindness.

Democracy understands that after argument and debate a decision is made based on votes and tallies. True, the rules of the process are arcane and dizzying, but the invitation is there to participate positively. It is odd behavior to be invited to the party and then to bitterly complain that you chose not to attend. Your rage and frustration rants that someone should rid us of those troublesome people responsible for holding an opinion different than ours. Then, and very frighteningly, comes heteronomous wickedness -- where after violence or criminal behavior someone claims they were only following the instructions or suggestions of others.

Non-negotiating ideology attempts to overtake and overrule democracy. When that attempt is made someone is bound to get hurt. Violence has a way of changing the subject. It becomes no longer about laws and debate, but egos, pain, and revenge. Afterwards, conciliatory comments and apologies are made. It helps if they are sincere. It's a fragile time.

Still it is hard to understand why any individual would not want what is best for all individuals. But that attitude, some will contend, is itself an ideology. Just because it appears to some to be the compassionate and caring way to behave toward all people, others might differ in their perception and sensitivities.

We can hope and work for equality. If we don't, things will either get worse or they will continue in a holding pattern. Fearful pronouncements, warning innuendo, and not so subtle invitations to inflict damage or pain do not make for a trusting, collaborative citizenry.
"A man who has been in danger,
When he comes out of it forgets his fears,
And sometimes he forgets his promises."

---- Euripides - Iphigenia in Tauris (414-12 BC)
The promise of democracy for this country was and is nice. It still could become a reality. It is based on equality, life, liberty, and (might I suggest) a communion of common longing for our deepest nature.

I'd like to see its promise replace the fear currently being sold to a lathered citizenry.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring rain drenches.

Mountain out back and across way run with water.
A wide icy river floats to far uncertainty.
The autumn rain is eternal in the mist.
You ask me about Deep South Mountain.
My heart knows it is beyond white clouds.

- Wang Wei (699-759)
I once thought it mattered what you did in life. Job. Family. Accomplishments. Recognition.

No longer.

It's how, not what.
I'd rather fill for a second the space between two raindrops as they touch earth.

Splash!

Giggling joy.

Then, no more.

Such sweet uncertainty!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Hundreds of quahogs beached by storm, broken open by seagulls, abandoned shells strewing the sand on Old Orchard Beach.

One snail, large and still at home, is tossed back into the swells.

There's no explaining who continues who departs and who wonders at the difference.
Feel healthier?

Take a walk. Drink water. Eat a banana. Turn your mind with authentic and transcending prayer. Look carefully within everything.

Here's the point: we are not other than it, than any or all of it.

I'll still die, sometime. Still, with it all, aren't we healthier?

Sunday, March 21, 2010


A vote, soon.

Tomorrow the sun will appear in its rotation around the earth. (Maybe I, like the bill's opposition, have it wrong.)

Either way, even if it rains and the earth revolves around the sun, even through rain, daylight.