Saturday, May 29, 2004

Sun returns. Week of rain seeps into water table.

The mind of war wanders through streets and history with alternative furtive and forlorn glances to left and right. No one asks for that mind. It is odd guest at kitchen table in scores of countries sipping coffee looking out window in silence. Like a relative battered by confusion and uncertain impulse this guest is by turns fearfully left alone and gingerly addressed by watchful householder.

All the explanations of past patriarchs about the practice of no-mind are unique. Now, I will give a synopsis of these different techniques and briefly describe ten of them.
One: attention. This means that when we are practicing, we should always cut off thoughts and guard against their arising. As soon as a thought arises we destroy it through attention. As a patriarch stated, "Do not fear the arising of thoughts; only be concerned lest your awareness of them be tardy." A gatha says, "There is no need to search for truth; you need only put all views to rest." This is the method of extinguishing delusion through attention.

- Chinul (1205)

Monday is Memorial Day in the United States.
The noun "memorial day" has 1 sense in WordNet.
1. Memorial Day, Decoration Day -- (U.S., last Monday in May; commemorates the members of the United States armed forces who were killed in war)

We pay.

We pay attention.

This paying, we are reminded, is the way to extinguish delusion.

Imagine -- only by putting all views to rest does truth appear.

The mind of war arises from kitchen table and looks through fog and confusion at visions so horrible and delusions so vivid that it cannot distinguish what is actually real from that which is sorrowful nightmare.

Perhaps touch will clarify. Go ahead. Pour another cup of coffee. Offer some toast and jam. Put hand gently on shoulder. Speak and invite a soothing simple sound of solace to touch the troubled guest and calm that mind.

Mere attention. Mother awareness.

Loving presence. Stark gift.

One and all.


Friday, May 28, 2004

Ryan in prison this morning said there is a silence below silence. Below the silence, he said, is where the dead are.

Where no face is seen no voice heard -- only disconnected dividuals. Isn't that the real punishment of prison? No face no voice no particular compassion?

Do not be concerned with who is
wise and who is stupid.
Do not discriminate the
sharp from the dull.
To practice whole-heartedly
is the true endeavor of the way.
Practice-realization is not
defiled with specialness;
it is a matter for every day.

- Dogen (1200-1253)

When we arrive to recognize faces to listen to voices to practice community with individuals, we are recipients of gift requiring no special label no special wrapping.

Ryan wondered whether Jesus, after death but before resurrection, went to the dead -- but to do...what?

Joe and Chris come in and join in after the tour-de-force of Ryan at felt-tip board schematizing the chaotic arrival and departure of word-and-symbol, appearance and disappearance of meaning and significance. His heart and center, our heart and center, the fulcrum of friction one against the other -- until resolved by compassionate presence.

After erasing willy-nilly letters from two sets of words there remains on the board the following: "The flaw...ties in...the world."

And from the book on table we read, "Again, God. Only He is everywhere and with Him everything is connected." (P. 22, G.I. GurdJieff, in Life is Real Only Then, When 'I Am')

The only real conversation is to turn with one another in being -- to continue breathing. Dropping story-line, transforming, and passing through, trust.

We are not divided when we attend with compassionate attention the one, each one, in our midst.

Faces seen, voices heard, dead raised in the prayer of open mind open heart.

Our gratitude for this gift.


Thursday, May 27, 2004

Walking foot of Ragged, at dawn, rain.

What is the inner way?

Maria said she walks over the stones on the dirt road. Tom, she said, looks under each one.

I'm with Maria.

The contemplative observes the way.

This morning, sitting in chair on screened porch with dog alongside at 5AM, rain dripping on green leaves, scent of incense coming from inside cabin.

Earlier, while walking to brook, Cesco and I step quietly. From Sally's land a white-tail deer leaps equally quietly up the mountain.

Brook tumbling under footbridge.

Observing is the way.

The way is what is.

There is no secret.

Tom says the divine allows what is near it to rest in its own loveliness. That's how the divine is recognized.

At Ragged mountain, at dusk, two dogs, two people look up. Cloud covers peak.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Have we confused comparison and compassion?

Is it the failure to live inside one’s true life that throws us out into the odd world of commerce and the religion of comparison?

Beyond the point where the rivers
End and the mountains vanish
You have kept on walking
Originally the treasure lies
Just under one’s feet
You made the mistake of thinking
That now you would be able
To retire in peace
Look: in your own hut the
Meditation mat has never been warm.

- Muso Soseki (1275-1351)

Silence resides on the mat. The noise of comparison, explanation, and accumulation crowds every square inch of the mistake we make in the way we think of the world.

It is a true statement that money is the only religion most of us worship in the world with attention and careful accounting. When religion becomes money and money becomes religion it is time to look very hard at the profession of faith in comparison that has been substituted for direct experience of the grace of compassion.

We are in an enormous hurry to produce, consume, invade, impose, trump, and possess. In our haste to compare and emerge triumphantly superior to the next person, business, country, and religion – we become artless and crude with lust and power. Poet Theodore Roethke said, "Art is the means we have of undoing the damage of haste. It's what everything else isn't."

Art is grace of compassion.

A banner hangs in chapel/zendo above MoGLIAD print (Mother of God, Light in All Darkness). It is from the ephemeral presence of Tibetan monks in this area, and displays Tibetan characters for Om Mani Padme Hum (or, Om Mani Peme Hung, Tibetan mantra of Chenrezig {Avalokiteshvara})

Thus the six syllables, om mani padme hum, mean that in dependence on the practice of a path which is an indivisible union of method and wisdom, you can transform your impure body, speech, and mind into the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha. It is said that you should not seek for Buddhahood outside of yourself; the substances for the achievement of Buddhahood are within. As Maitreya says in his Sublime Continuum of the Great Vehicle (Uttaratantra), all beings naturally have the Buddha nature in their own continuum. We have within us the seed of purity, the essence of a One Gone Thus (Tathagatagarbha), that is to be transformed and fully developed into Buddhahood.
(From a lecture given by His Holiness The Dalai Lama of Tibet at the Kalmuck Mongolian Buddhist Center, New Jersey.)

Unfortunately, not gone thus, I am far too full of the crowded and noisy self I call my own -- a reverberating hall full of opinion and chattering un-necessities.

OM MANI PADME HUM -- (Tibetan pronunciation - Om Mani Pémé Hung)-- "I invoke the transformation and purification of the six negative emotions of pride, jealousy, desire, ignorance, greed and anger into their true nature, enlightened mind." It is the mantra of compassion – Avalokiteshvara.

This transformation and purification is high priority right now.

Rainy damp weather in Maine mid-coast this morning.

I must find the mat of acceptance and surrender. There are so few breaths willing to be abandoned to compassion.

As Christian feast of descent of sacred breath approaches I look to prepare a place for it by abandoning my airless mind for the breath of compassion and wisdom.

I cannot stand in the way.

The way belongs to itself.

Absent me.