Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Stacking wood by moonlight. Rowing to bell buoy #2 in middle afternoon. Sitting zazen in morning.
Nature may be compared to a vast ocean. Thousands and millions of changes are taking place in it. Crocodiles and fish are essentially of the same substance as the water in which they live. People are crowded together with the myriad other things in the Great Changingness, and their nature is one with that of all other natural things. Knowing that I am of the same nature as all other natural things, I know that there is really no separate self, no separate personality, no absolute death and no absolute life.
- T'ien T'ung-Hsu (8th c.)
It is the ordinary that sustains us.

No need for miracles.

Just someone being born.

Just someone dying.

Just life between.

Friday, December 17, 2010

In prison today three men took the 14 precepts. I said yes to each one from my chair in the back of the room. Indirection suits me.
If you miss the mark even by a strand of hair,
You are as distant as heaven from earth.
If the slightest discrimination occurs,
You will be lost in confusion.
You could be proud of your understanding;
Have abundant realization, or acquire
Outstanding wisdom and attain the way
By clarifying the mind. Still, if you
Are wandering about in your head,
You may miss the vital path of letting your body leap.

- Dogen (1200-1253)
Maggie turned 90 today. Gertrude read the same poem twice and recited her quote twice. She's 91.

Prison and nursing home. Both, gifts.

Tonight we finish Anam Cara for the second time and complete our four year Friday night with John O'Donohue's three books.

We've got to listen to one another.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Gravel in dooryard grips tightly recently sodden earth now frozen hard.

Why live an open life, unfettered by concealing fear and resentful, revenging rage?

Because we are beings of the open who’ve mistakenly been hiding from who and what we are.

Denial attracts oppositional accusatory energy, blocking forward movement, makes barriers, imprisons, and isolates.

Acceptance allows what is real to be what it is, and frees motion within and without us to be a vibrant stillness that is continuous and diaphanous.
Dewdrops,
let me cleanse
in your brief,
sweet waters
these dark hands of life.

- Basho (1644-1694)

Ethics is concerned to free individuals and communities to a set of actions that are transparent and moving toward healthy, truthful, and liberating presence.

Teaching, especially ethics, is a humbling and uncertain activity.

So it is the semester ends.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cold night. They're making snow on the mountain. Last class for the semester, over.
Coming or going,
Day or night,
You must just strive to
Face the incomprehensible.

- Daito (1282-1334)
Just presence. Only presence.

Is all.

That.

Matters.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

If you love
God you
will be
kind.

If you know
kindness you
see with God
everything.

Be this
seeing
kind.

Monday, December 13, 2010


You speak, I listen. I speak, you listen. Then we confer.

It takes work. But the opposite of this art is cultivation of dissuasion and aversion.
Dialogue is important for Panikkar but not purely mechanical or informative dialogue but rather what he calls “dialogical dialogue” which leads to recognizing difference but also to what we have in common, which in the end produces mutual fecondation. Dialogue is not a luxury for mankind, it is something absolutely necessary and inter-religious dialogue plays an important role. By this Panikkar does not mean an abstract theoretical dialogue, a dialogue about beliefs, he means a deep-reaching human dialogue in which one seeks the collaboration of the other for mutual realization since wisdom consists in being able to listen. Religion is not an experiment for him, it is an experience, an experience of life through which one is part of the cosmic adventure, with neither worry nor anxiety. This, for example, leads him to put forward the notion of “identity”. He was once asked during an interview: “Where do you find your identity?” His answer was:” By losing it rather than looking for it: by not wanting to hold onto an identity which has not yet been fulfilled and therefore is impossible to find in the past because it would only be a copy of something old. Life is a risk; adventure is radical innovation; creation comes about day after day, it is something absolutely new and unforeseeable”.
(-- from Laudatio of Raimon Panikkar Alemany, during the solemn academic ceremony of his investiture as Doctor Honoris Causa of the University of Girona. Presented by Prof. Josep-Maria Terricabras, sponsor of the new Doctor.)
This is what a vocation is: to listen, and by listening to call out from concealment that which longs for communion, commonality, and commensurability.

There are so many brothers and sisters waiting for us to pray with them.

Are you listening?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I'm not waiting for Jesus to be born. I'm not waiting for his resurrection. I'm not waiting for the second coming.

What then? It is Advent. What am I doing?
The real way circulates everywhere;
How could it require
Practice or enlightenment?
The essential teaching is fully available;
How could effort be necessary?
Furthermore, the entire mirror is
Free of dust; why take steps to polish it?
Nothing is separate from this
Very place; why journey away?

- Dogen (1200-1253)
I'm dwelling in this very place.

Here is birth. Here is resurrection. Here the eternal return.

There's nothing to wait for this Advent.

Become what you are.

Be yourself!

Soon to realize:

Hodie.

Christus est.

Natus.