Saturday, January 03, 2015

the earth; keeps

Spinning around.
The following is adapted from a talk Myogen Steve Stücky gave at San Francisco Zen Center, where he served as abbot. Stucky passed away from cancer one year ago, the morning prior to New Year’s Day 2014. —Eds.Tricycle Magazine
To what shall
I liken the world?
Moonlight, reflected
In dewdrops,
Shaken from a crane's bill.
—Dogen, Zen Master 
Buddhist practice is a wonderful, very important expression of people's interest in something that goes beyond their own self-interest. It is a profound practice, a lineage practice. We actually have the capacity, and, in a sense, each of us has the responsibility—whether we know it or not or like it or not—to understand it. Study it. Practice it. Make it available to others. And in that way, this lineage can continue to be sustained and evolve and develop and be helpful. This has been the most important thing: to do this practice. I propose to each of you, if you can find something better, then do that. But whatever it is, make it the most profound expression of your life. 
(--from, To the Last MomentFacing a terminal diagnosis, a Zen teacher reflects on what he'll leave behind.   by Myogen Steve Stücky)
 Morning light.

Joyful sound. 

Friday, January 02, 2015

hey good; looking

Peace isn't difficult.

What's difficult is trying to find someone awake to recognize it.

As it wanders in our midst within our gaze alongside our ordinary lives.

in a word

He said God is "the deep-down basic whatever there is." (Alan Watts)

So, I ask you:

Q. In a word...Will you tell me what prayer is?

A. Yes!

Thursday, January 01, 2015


The old brothers in their zucchettis lived in a different realm. There was an impish humility as they labored at tasks deflecting attention.

Mary, the Holy Mother of God, a 1Jan feast, calls them back to mind.
What is it to call this young Jewish woman Miriam, מרים, by this title? 
Perhaps it is, among other things, a reminder that attention to anything is to mother that occasion, that incidence, that surrounding. 

And if there is only God, then to mother anything with mere attention is to mother God.

A brown zucchetto accompanies me in meditation and prayer. Like a newborn infant’s skullcap, it gives warmth and security to that place length meets emptiness, height meets no-longer-oneself.

It is a connective humility of prayerfulness, a reminder we are here for one-another. 

It reminds that what happens under the solideo is what is taking place above it -- that the world is both a receiving and a creating -- an originating and a forgetting interbeing where mind and body come to be and fall away in the interplay of matter, form, and emptiness.

Monastics, all.

An unabasing humility of being child, being mother, being world.

Santa Maria, 
Ora pro nobis!
Creatio mundi 

...   ...   ...

Notes: from  Miriam meaning | Miriam etymology __ Abarim Publications
Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads Their Rebellion. NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Obstinacy, Stubbornness. 
To a creative audience, the first part of the name Miriam could also be regarded as related to the verb מרר (marar), meaning to be bitter or to be strong: 
And the second part of the name Miriam holds some resemblance to the word ים (yam) meaning sea:Hence, the name Miriam also means Bitter Waters or Waters Of Strength. 
Jerome (4th century AD) suggested relations with the word מאור(ma'or), meaning star, from the verb אור ('or), to be light or shine. Combined with the word ימ (yam), sea, the name Miriam would translate to Stella Maris (star of the sea), but that strikes as a very free interpretation. 
Here at Abarim Publications we like to believe that these names have to do with מר (mor), meaning myrrh 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

not divided

Listen up.
The real reason why human life can be so utterly exasperating and frustrating is not because there are facts called death, pain, fear, or hunger. The madness of the thing is that when such facts are present, we circle, buzz, writhe, and whirl, trying to get the “I” out of the experience. We pretend that we are amoebas, and try to protect ourselves from life by splitting in two. Sanity, wholeness, and integration lie in the realization that we are not divided, that man and his present experience are one, and that no separate “I” or mind can be found.To understand music, you must listen to it. But so long as you are thinking, “I am listening to this music,” you are not listening. 
(--from, The Wisdom of Insecurity" by Alan Watts)
As Wednesday becomes Thursday.
As 31 becomes 1.
As 14 becomes 15.
Become the hearing of listening.

cold night, firewood

Bangor Daily News after stoking wood stove at 3:30am. The many ways we encounter or cause suffering. Honoring our humanity, practicing compassion. Breathing in, breathing out. The silence of prayer.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

what is between; the word, “happy”

We say,  “I remember the time.” It’s a trick phrase. One the mind creates to soothe the worry that everything is right now, right here, all at once. It is a useful expedience.
One in All
All in One—
If only this is realized,
No more worry about your not being perfect!    
                                                         - Sosan Ganchi Zenji, "Shin Jin Mei
Yesterday, remembering Thomas Becket, I thought of T.S. Eliot’s “Murder in the Cathedral.” Which threw me to “Burnt Norton.” Hence, to Morris Weitz:
We must start with the temporal, the ever-changing experience; and come to see its dependence upon the Timeless: 
                                Time past and time future
Allow but a little consciousness.
To be conscious is not to be in time
But only in time can the moment in the rose-garden,
The moment in the arbour where the rain beat,
The moment in the draughty church at smokefall
Be remembered; involved with past and future.
Only through time time is conquered.
In the final movement of 'Burnt Norton', the distinction between the Timeless and the temporal becomes the distinction between The Word and words. Words lie, but it is only through words that we can conquer them, to express the truth which is The Word. And what we want to say we cannot say because words are always changing, being in the flux; but even with words we can suggest The Word: That God, Who is the Final
Cause, did initiate the first event and does determine the last event:
Desire itself is movement
Not in itself desirable;
Love is itself unmoving,
Only the cause and end of movement,
Timeless, and undesiring
Except in the aspect of time
Caught in the form of limitation
Between un-being and being.
The movement and the poem end with a concrete and visual return to the rose-garden with their contrast between the inadequate affirmation of the sole reality of the flux and the true recognition that there is something more, the Eternal, echoing in the laughter of the children. How ridiculous, then, the sole acceptance of 'the waste sad time Stretching before and after'. 
--Morris Weitz, from “T.S. Eliot: Time as a Mode of Salvation." Sewanee Review (1952).
2014 has a single day remaining. 2015 happens in a fraction of a second measured by an atomic clock.

Q: What happens in the interval between ‘before’ and 'after'?

A: The poem.
Hubble photo
The poem is un-being written, whose first word arrives as being . . . ‘happy'.

The between gives birth to what is ‘new'.

Some call it a 'year’.

no; getting away from it






Monday, December 29, 2014

while sitting with quakers

dios sola; ora sola

(god alone; only now)

Sunday, December 28, 2014

what role as actor do you long to disappear into?

I think Stephen would understand. So too John. As also the Holy Innocents. It is awareness itself of family.
your brightness is my darkness 
"Your brightness is my darkness.
I know nothing of You and, by myself,
I cannot even imagine how to go about knowing You.
If I imagine You, I am mistaken.
If I understand You, I am deluded.
If I am conscious and certain I know You, I am crazy.
The darkness is enough."
(—Thomas Merton, prayer before midnight mass at Christmas, 1941)
(--from louie, louie website)
"Night holds no terrors for me sleeping under God's wings."(Antiphon, compline)

Awareness itself knows nothing other.