Today At Meetingbrook

Friday, July 02, 2010

What?
Purifying our self direction,
Our emotions, and behaviors
In all endeavors, one grows
In understanding of the Way.
But our individual abilities vary
And the exalted Way has many
Different rules.
To students of Tao,
This sincere forewarning:
Only with a clear, honest spirit
Can we begin meaningful learning.
With an unsullied heart we may
Even move the immortals.
Debasing the Way,
Not even a heaven forgives us.

- Loy Ching-Yuen (1873-1960)
I honor those who serve this country more than words.

In life, in death, in themselves.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

If you would be enlightened, alight nowhere.

To find yourself in the midde of things is to be where God dwells -- between you and me -- the creating heaven of earth.

Therefore, love God yourself one another, be here-with midst.

Intermediation.

Happy Canada Day!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

One mouse showed up in the bow of the peapod. He'd been under the floorboard of the overturned boat named after Anna's grandmother, Jootje. Pine Tar and Linseed Oil. Turpentine. Bottom paint. The mouse on the keelson wondered.

We all wonder -- how do I live here? How do I get out of here? How much time have I left? Before we leave the Dodge Mountain rutted driveway we overturn the boat again. A chance to exit. To start a new life. To mourn the loss of another temporary residence.

The shade of noble trees
Spreads in all directions
Below the trees a tiny
Hut is perfectly secluded
Beyond the sound of cart
Or horse or sign of human tracks
All day behind my door
I sit alone cross-legged.

-- Han-Shan Te-Ching (1546-1623)

Anna asks us to steward Jootje, her 15'6" peapod. We load it up after sprucing her up and move it to Camden Harbor and its temporary home at the head of the harbor. Anna and Saskia go for an inaugeral row.

Genpo Roshi writes:
The Middle way excludes nothing, and becoming stuck is the only way we detour from the Path. So "don't alight anywhere" is a good motto to follow. Buddha taught another important guideline for following the Middle Way. He said, "Be a light unto yourself." When we are a light unto ourselves, we take responsibility for our practice. Instead of trusting in an authority outside of ourselves, we place our trust in our own experience. We pay attention to whatever our experience is and embrace it -- but without clinging. We don't try to hold on to it, and we don't try to push it away; we just let it be. Everything is allowed to simply come and go of its own accord. All of our thoughts, emotions, understandings, and realizations are like bubbles, arising one moment and disappearing in the next moment. Not grasping or resisting, we walk the Middle Way.
(-- p.157, ch.27, The Middle Way, in his The Path of the Human Being, Zen Teachings on the Boddhisattva Way, by Dennis Genpo Merzel)
The mouse will be telling himself that things change.

You've got to keep moving.

Monday, June 28, 2010

We stand and talk with man who has stopped treatment for brain tumor. He is cheerful. Invites us to visit him on island he keeps.

We will be stewarding a 15' Matinicus Island peapod for boatbuilder living currently in midwest. It all happened suddenly, after Sunday Evening Practice, fortuitously.

We investigate dock space at head of harbor. It looks good.
Living alone
In the shade
Of a remote mountain,
I have you for my companion
Now the storm has passed,
Moon of the winter night.

- Saigyo
At meetingbrook we live alone together. Everyone is alone, really. Relationships help, community helps. But at beginning and at end we are alone. The gift is to be alone together.

It helps generously.
No beginning,
No end.
Our mind
is born and dies:
The emptiness of emptiness!

--Ikkyu, (1394-1481)
Tomorrow is the honoring of Saints Peter and Paul. It was on 29June1996 we opened the shop at the harbor. Fourteen years later we return to the harbor with rowing peapod to attend anonymously the liturgical life of tides and their acolytes.

We told the man, thin and more unsteady now, we'll wave and stop in time to time. His smile portended delight, a prolepsis of transition slacking and ebbing, the quiet narrative of distant horn in fog and mist up and down the coast.
If at the end of our journey
There is no final
Resting place,
Then we need not fear
Losing our Way.
--Ikkyu
Rest awhile, friend.

Then, push off again.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

What does Jesus have against goodbyes?
Another said, ‘I will follow you, sir, but first let me go and say goodbye to my people at home.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Once the hand is laid on the plough, no one who looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’
(--Luke9:62)
Even on the cross he says, "There's your mum; take her home." Jesus' mother is not recorded making reply. "Ta!" and gone.
Letting Go
The spiritual journey, then, is a journey of detachment, a process of learning how to let go. All of our problems, miseries, and unhappiness are caused by fixation—latching onto things and not being able to release them. First we have to let go of fixation on material things. This does not necessarily mean jettisoning all our material possessions, but it implies that we should not look to material things for lasting happiness. Normally, our position in life, our family, our standing in the community, and so forth, are perceived to be the source of our happiness. This perspective has to be reversed, according to spiritual teachings, by relinquishing our fixation on material things.

Letting go of fixation is effectively a process of learning to be free, because every time we let go of something, we become free of it. Whatever we fixate upon limits us because fixation makes us dependent upon something other than ourselves. Each time we let go of something, we experience another level of freedom.
(--from Letting Go of Spiritual Experience, By Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche, Tricycle,
http://www.tricycle.com/node/32401?offer=dharma.
Freedom has nothing.

What's left to lose?

As I was walking past, I heard a priest in Castine tell someone he wished he could find a way of marketing and communicating that the church is more than about rules -- but is about something of deep personal value.

They were good words, I told him. He was surprised, perhaps, I overheard and passed on to him my approval of his desire.

But he can't. There is no marketing authentic individual realization of our own deepest nature.

You can't market what is not there.

What is most personal is free...

Empty.

And gone.