Saturday, October 26, 2002

In Augusta Maine and Washington DC people gather to say "No" to President Bush's intended war with Iraq. In Minnesota a state mourns at the death of Senator Paul Wellstone, family members, workers, and pilots in plane crash yesterday as investigators prepare to sift through the site for clues as to how and why it happened. The weather turns raw and wet along the coast, a bleak statement corresponding to antipathy toward war and sorrow at death.

Before I was forty I quit my job
and came to tread the way
of saints and sages.
If I come out, it’s just
because I love the hills
and streams.
My ears are clean,
my vision’s ample.
When you ponder it,
this is true happiness.
The golden girdle girds calamity;
purple robes, pain.
Are they better than my briar
cane and cap of straw?

- Chang Yang-Hao

Who are these men and woman who give up briar cane and straw cap for purple robes of governance and power? And how can they, and we, sort through the temptations to ignorance so rife in human rational ego? How do we come to serve rather than be served? How transform the inclination to rule with benefit to some few and begin to serve with benefit to everyone?

Workers from Prock Marine are tearing out the deck pilings outside the shop. Sawn tired debris of 40 years lay on side. New full replacements stand fresh and green from mid-tide under dock. There is, always, much to replace, much to reform.

To transform is to allow what is occurring or being said by another to pass through our very form there present with another. Transformation is more difficult than replacement or reformation.

It is a day to pray for those attempting peace. It is a day to pray for those attempting to rule. For wisdom, compassion, understanding, and service.

It is a day to pray for those dying, and those who have died.

Friday, October 25, 2002

Waking this dawn, Meetingbrook mala beads in hand, the words occur:
Jesus lived his life living God.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Practice is practice

At Tuesday Evening Conversation on Buddhist Studies John C. and Saskia collaborate unknowingly on a wording of practice that fits: "Naturally -- it's not hard, and doesn't hurt -- practice."

Earlier a woman spoke of playing piano years ago. She seemed wistful when asked if she kept her hand in. "If you don't practice, you forget." (Susan F.) With prompting she realized what she'd said. Her words apply to any practice, particularly that of zazen and mindfulness.

We practice to remember -- to remember who we really are and what is the ground of our being. There is no future goal -- no goal of enlightenment or heaven. We practice sitting meditation and mindfulness to remember our ground.

When sitting there is no technique, word, breath regulation, mantra, image, or guided formula we follow. There is only sitting. There is no "subject" concentrating on some "object." There is just sitting.

Remember -- earth is earth. We arise from earth and return to earth. While sitting we sit with earth as earth.
Remember -- God is God. We are within God and return to God. While sitting we sit in this creation with this creating God.
Remember -- each one of us is each one of us. We present ourselves within the presence of each being. While sitting we sit with each presence as it is in itself.

This is what we practice, this remembrance.
If we don't practice, we forget.

Naturally, it's not hard and doesn't hurt, practice.