Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, January 22, 2011

When I arrived home from dusk row around Curtis Island the thermometer above the rear view mirror read 9 degrees. It was a calm sea and windless row. The bow moving through still water in vague similitude slicing through skim ice sliding silence all the way out and in.
You are a seeker.
Delight in the mastery
Of your hands and your feet,
Of your words and your thoughts.
Delight in meditation and in solitude.
Compose yourself, be happy.
You are a seeker.

- Buddha in the Dhammapada
Nothing much happens except oarlocks shifting in brass cylinder, circles of water moving behind double-ender on either side marking signatures of Van Fancy oars from Nova Scotia.

This morning at practice in Merton retreat we read about the groundless ground from Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist by Stephen Batchelor. The new storm doors built by Jay were installed yesterday. A nice addition.

My myth is monastic.

I live in a monastery of mountain and sea.

Each step with snowshoe, each stroke with oar, every glance of moonlight or gaze of buoy centers me in the presence of What Is Itself As God Is Itself.

Awareness is holy ground; mindfulness, holy water.

Each sound the inviting bell to meditate, to pray.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Bright moon on fresh snow.

Rokie and I snowshoe mountain trail after dark.
Since before anyone remembers
It has been clear
Shining like silver
Though the moonlight penetrates it
And the wind ruffles it
No trace of either remains
Today I would not dare
To expound the secret
Of the stream bed
But I can tell you
That the blue dragon
Is coiled there

- Muso (1275-1351)
Does 'going through' something mean there's something on the other side when you are through?

I'm unsure. I think the going through is what the motion of life is when lived with trust. Is there anyplace to get?

The wristband Rosie gave reads, "I am determined to see."

It's seeing, and only seeing, all the way through.

And 'through' is what is between us. So it is we are always approaching each other. No need to arrive. We're already on the other side of arrival. And what is there is what is here.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Snowshoeing Megunticook golf course this morning. It was 12 degrees. Now it rains and is near 40.

Coming back from rowing the bay yesterday I thought about deep intimacy with the mysterious endlessness. Others have called it knowing God. It remains a worthy human endeavor to enter the profound reality of true Being without fear or the question 'why.'
Buddhas don't save buddhas. If you use your mind to look for a buddha, you won't see the buddha. As long as you look for a buddha somewhere else, you'll never see that your own mind is the buddha. And don't use a buddha to worship a buddha. And don't use the mind to invoke a buddha. Buddhas don't recite sutras. Buddhas don't keep precepts. And buddhas don't break precepts. Buddhas don't keep or break anything. Buddhas don't do good or evil.
- Bodhidharma (d. 533)
I meet a woman in the Market Basket whose father is dying. She is with him in hospice. She says he intellectually accepts his situation, but emotionally... she's not so sure. I smile, shrug with the concern, and wonder -- Who can accept the emotion of dying?

I compose an epitaph:
bill halpin was a nobody
Who did nothing well
Now he has no body
With nothing left to tell

Thank you for the visit. There's no need to show me the way out.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Moonlight on white snow.
Among rocks and valleys
Deep in the fields of this mountain
The Dharma does not go
Up or down,
Having seen through
Old Huang-lung's mind
I plant vegetables
Around my meditation seat.

- Muso Soseki (1275-1351)
If there was nothing

more to see,

this brief glimpse

suffices.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

'Why' no longer is as interesting as it once was.

Winter solitary row. Saskia thought an inflatable life-vest might be useful. I tell her it would only make it easier for someone to lift my body out -- I'd be dead within minutes if I went overboard in the frigid water. The air was 20, the northwest winds made it considerably less. But I was snug and the circle around Curtis Island was a meditative joy.
In this small hut
Are worlds beyond number
Living here alone
I have endless company
Already I have
Attained the essence
How could I dare
To want something higher?

- Muso Soseki (1275-1351)

Merton Retreat tonight.

I don't know why...

I meditate.