Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, November 20, 2010

We adjourn to winter zendo in bookshed/retreat next to barn for its warmth and sweetness to house our meditation and prayer practice from now through winter.
After late fall rain
The falling leaves swirl
Weightlessly; celestial scent
Covers my patched robe
A simple vacant mind
Has no place to go
Resting on the peak
I watch the clouds return.

- Han-shan Te-ch'ing (1546-1623)
I love prayer and meditation.

You’ll find me there for the winter.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fear is only the ego's doorkeeper. All fear wants us to do is carefully observe what is presenting itself.

Careful awareness of what is presenting itself is the beginning of wisdom.
Like salt in water,
Like adhesive in coloring,
It is certainly there,
But you don't see its form;
So is the monarch of mind.
Dwelling inside the body,
Going in and out the senses,
It responds freely to beings,
According to conditions,
Without hindrance, succeeding,
At all it does.

- Fu Shan-hui (487-659)
In prison today there was a presentation of a conversation entitled: "Let's just see how it goes!" This is a phrase used by Maezumi Roshi whenever a student wanted to try to accomplish something. The gathering was a forum for the emotional needs and stress related aspects of prisoner release.
Five Points for Conversation

1.
The way you feel now is how you’re going to feel.
(feel, acknowledge, free)

2.
See your way through, don’t be distracted by expectations.
(your or others; rather, focus on what you are doing)

3.
“Don’t think: Look!” (--Ludwig Wittgenstein)
(avoid explanations, rationalizations, excuses, blaming, targeting, or trying to fix.)
(Rather: look clearly and carefully, feel, and free)

4.
“Man is defined by that which disturbs him.” (--Elie Wiesel)
(be aware of what disturbs, pisses you off, makes you angry, makes you crazy.)
You are not that. Find a way to move through. Movement, not explanation.)

5.
Revelation of non-illusory reality is initially terrifying.
(while illusory existence might be comfortable, true reality is liberating)
Illusions will end.

As we become sane we will take off masks, stop telling covering stories about everything, and we will no longer fear to see what we see, hear what we hear, and become again what we truly are.

Free in and through the practice of seeing where this goes.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


The Dalai Lama says meditation will help arrive at universal ethics with peaceful calm mind.
Today I sat before the cliffs
Sat until the mist drew off
A rambling clear stream shore
A towering green ridge crest
Cloud's dawn shadows still
Moon's night light adrift
Body free of dust
Mind without a care.

- Han shan
Live free and die.

I’m having no part of it.

But all of it.

Monday, November 15, 2010

It is amazing anything that is said makes any sense. Sometimes it feels like chaos is the only thing there is.
What I teach people just
Requires you not to take
On the confusion of others.
Act when necessary,
Without further hesitation or doubt.
When students today do not attain this,
Wherein lies their sickness?
The sickness is in not
Trusting yourself.
If your inner trust is insufficient,
Then you will frantically go along
With changes in situations,
And will be influenced and
Affected by myriad objects,
Unable to be independent.
If you can stop the mentality
Of constant frantic seeking,
Then you are no different
From Zen masters and Buddhas.

- Linji (d. 866)
I prefer being...

nobody.

Which, I sense, is what I am.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I leave two pennies on red and white channel marker. Not one boat is in the outer harbor. No one passes me as I row out in the bay. I am alone. With seals. And loons.
In human life, if you feel that you have made a mistake, you don’t try to undo the past or the present, but you just accept where you are and work from there. Tremendous openness as to where you are is necessary. This also applies to the practice of meditation, for instance. A person should learn to meditate on the spot, in the given moment, rather than thinking, “. . . When I reach pension age, I’m going to retire and receive a pension, and I’m going to build my house in Hawaii or the middle of India, or maybe the Gobi Desert, and THEN I’m going to enjoy myself. I’ll live a life of solitude and then I’ll really meditate.” Things never happen that way.
(—Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Transcending Madness , From "Your Life Is Your Practice" by Glenna Olmstead)
At evening practice we listen to Pema Chodron on Maitri.
Maitri is translated in a lot of ways, maybe most commonly as love, but the way Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche translated it was unconditional friendliness and in particular unconditional friendliness to oneself. (Pema Chodron, in Shambhala Sun, )
Let's do that.

Be unconditionally friendly.

To ourselves.

In another.