Saturday, July 03, 2004

We must become mystics.

We must come to seeing directly and being directly in contact with God, or the very principal fact of life, or absolute reality.

Despite the obstacles,
I pursued the great monk
The misty mountains a million layers high
He pointed to the road back home
One round moon, lantern of the sky.

- Han Shan (c 730)

Something about the sadness of not deepening and following the spark, the prophetic insight, the unbroken wholeness of authentic religion, no matter what the cultural denomination.

The mystic remains at home in touch with original source. The mystic is at home in any reality because the reality they understand is not broken into fragments of good or evil, true or false, mine or yours.

The great monk points to the road back home.

Every light guides us there.

So it is we come to see.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Hush and see.

We read and spoke about Holy Ignorance Wednesday evening. Thursday it was how, when real, we do not mind hurt. Hurt is hurt. It needs no narrative.

In the green creek, spring water is clear
At Cold Mountain, the moon’s corona is white.
Silence your understanding and,
The spirit of itself is enlightened.
View all things as the Void and,
This world is even more still

- Han Shan (c 730)

There is a hallow hollow at center of each work of art. A poem or painting tells the sacred experience of someone. That experience is non-transferable and non-duplicable. Emptiness cannot be mimed.

When the poet or artist presents their experience expressed in a work, all we can do is enter the empty whole of it and emerge with our own unique insight -- not a replica of that which created the transforming empty space.

It is the fact of it, the mere visitation to an authentic place, that evokes hush and seeing. The aesthetic becomes existential.

Those who dredge up stories of the past without insight are only filling time. Those who long for insight and wisdom are emptying now into its sensory dwelling.

There is no duplication or repetition. Each act, each breath, each aspect and instant belong to itself. This is how we learn who we are and how we become who we are.

Fog saturated harbor as evening sent sun enwrapped west.

Fog is fog as each thing is itself.

None need cumbersome narrative.

How will we know? Each is as each is.

Handsome is as handsome does.

By their fruits we'll know.

Hush and see.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

God is what is seeing through us.

We do not see God. Perhaps God does not see us. These two sentences imply distinct and separate realities, distanced and instrumental one to the other.

Is there an understanding that allows a nondual transformative interpenetrative, interconnective, isomorphic, flow of what is thorough what is?

Who would have expected that the
Self nature is fundamentally
Pure and clean?
Who would have expected that the
Self nature is fundamentally
Beyond birth and death?

- Altar Sutra

What we mean by 'nature' is the 'what-is-ness' of what is there. It has been called essence. It has been called the 'itself.'

Some feel a profound change occurring. This takes the form of a shift of perspective and perception. We are not only looking at and seeing objects. We are now beginning to realize we are being looked at and seen by objects.

Archaic Torso of Apollo

We cannot know his legendary head
with eyes like ripening fruit. And yet his torso
is still suffused with brilliance from inside,
like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned to low,

gleams in all its power. Otherwise
the curved breast could not dazzle you so, nor could
a smile run through the placid hips and thighs
to that dark center where procreation flared.

Otherwise this stone would seem defaced
beneath the translucent cascade of the shoulders
and would not glisten like a wild beast's fur:

would not, from all the borders of itself,
burst like a star: for here there is no place
that does not see you. You must change your life.

(--poem by Rainer Maria Rilke, Translated by Stephen Mitchell)

Rilke's final two lines startle. We are an interchange of seeing. Neither subject nor object we are the flow of perception and perspective through itself.

The question arises for us, -- "What is itself?"

A woman who attends conversations at Meetingbrook writes:
It is my belief that we are small energy creatures in a big energy world, and that there are hundreds or thousands of other energy forces everywhere around us. God is not energy, my dear husband M. always says and I agree with you "God just is".
To me love is energy, so are also hate, fear, and compassion or perhaps I should say, so are all of our emotions. The heart is the big energy center and we all have our free will, and therefore we are also responsible for what energies we allow to flow through our hearts. If we choose to love our selves and other people (or a cookie, ha ha) then we open our heart for the love energy so that it can fill our body and send out love to the people or things we love and care for.

...I think the problem in this society is that too many are being taught the game of deception to reach power and/or the big bucks. To blame others instead of taking responsibility for own actions. Living a safe life is to be told what to do or to following someone else’s advice. By living a life this way you avoid your own pain and emotions and you totally block out all the positive energies just outside your own heartdoor, just waiting for the invitation.
(Words from P., 29June04)

I like the phrasing, "just outside your own heartdoor, just waiting for the invitation." It resonates with her earlier, "God just is." I hear the use of the word "just" as a name of God, maybe a most important name of God.

The dictionary says "just" (from Latin jus = right or law) also means immediately, directly, only, merely, quite, very. The Sanskrit yos means welfare.

To fare well, to dwell well-being -- these are illuminations of 'just' at heartdoor, 'just' waiting for the invitation. This perception and perspective of God is a just view, one that tells us, with the poet, to change our lives.

"What's this?" -- asked Mark from back of shop when asked for comment during final circle Tuesday evening. Heather had been speaking about the space surrounding a clay handle, as example of Pessoa's words, "Nature has no inside." These visitors from Ontario, Canada just danced through their first conversation at the bookshop after an afternoon's row around the island with Sam and Susan and the celebration of our just being here.

What is this?

Just this.



Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Nine years ago today Meetingbrook Bookshop & Bakery opened.

Never ask your teachers to explain. But when your activity of mind is exhausted and your capacity for feeling comes to a dead end, if something should take place not unlike the cat springing upon the mouse or the mother hen hatching her eggs, then a great flash of livingness surges up. This is the moment when the phoenix escapes from the golden net and when the crane breaks the bars of its cage.
-- Hakuin

Phoenix and crane gratefully visit.

As visits balloons, flowers, and torte for everyone.

Our's is an intuition of gratitude.

Thomas Merton writes:
The importance of this Zen intuition of reality is, in my opinion as a Catholic, its metaphysical honesty. It refuses to make a claim to any special revelation or to a mystical light, and yet if it is followed on, in line with its own vast and open perspectives, it is certainly compatible with a revelation of inscrutable freedom, love, and grace. In point of fact, we must always remember that Zen is situated in the religious context of a Buddhism which seeks the “salvation” of all creatures by insight.
(p.254, Mystics and Zen Masters, by Thomas Merton, c.1966)

Our's is the insight of gift and grateful receptivity.

With mere reciprocity.

We begin 9th year.

Monday, June 28, 2004

I saw Fahrenheit 9/11 today.

If anyone is capable of transcending politics, there are only tears of sorrow, laughter at absurdity dressed in Orwellian phrases, and anger at the foolish arrogance perpetrated on Iraqi and American citizens.

Evening mountains
Veiled in somber mist,
One path entering
The wooded hill:
The monk has gone off,
Locking his pine door.
From a bamboo pipe
A lonely trickle of water flows.

- Ishikawa Jozan (1583-1672)

Bypass the commentary if you wish, but do not take your eyes off the faces of the men and women in the film. Do not turn attention from the anguish and grief in face and voice telling their experience.

No matter our politics, if we do not listen to one another, if we do not watch with one another, then we are vacant opinions posing naked and spewing mocking farce. There must be better ways of serving each other than serving sewage that tries to pass as noble act, confident ideology, or patriotic pride.

I recommend the documentary.

Let's learn to feel again.

Let's laugh, and cry, and be angry, and finally pray for the men, women, and children who suffer.

Let's find a way through and beyond this troubling entourage who have sidetracked sense and sanity into a dark, sullen alley.

Let's leave stupidity behind.

Let's try intelligent reflection.

And be courageous.


Sunday, June 27, 2004

Lloyd read a Fernando Pessoa line Saturday that went, "Nature has no inside." It was from a poem in the Portuguese poet's book The Keeper of Sheep. Pessoa lived 1888-1935 and wrote under four names.

The poet Fernando Pessoa...puts us on the right track when he observes in his work how the layman and the scientist look at the world and collect knowledge about it in a fundamentally different manner. A layman, argues Pessoa, notices the complexity of nature and man from the outside. The expert, on the other hand, will brush aside the exterior as a distraction from a deeper-rooted order; an order that is essentially simple and unchangeable. Pessoa, for his part, would appear to prefer to look through the eyes of the layman, for he understands Nature on the outside, as Nature has no inside: only poets will dream of this and only philosophers have something like this in mind.
(from "Public Participation In Decision-Making On Technology: A Challenge For Citizens And Experts" -- Lieve Goorden and Joke Vandenabeele, STEM (Study Centre Technology, Energy and Environment) University of Antwerp, 27-11-2002)

Does having no inside erase the outside of things? Or is it a matter of transparency? Or the mere 'fact' of a thing?

Seven at Sunday Evening Practice. Reading letter from C.S. Lewis in A Severe Mercy, by Sheldon Vanauken. Is it the unwillingness to assent to each moment of life that diverts life from us? Is the attempt to parcel and appropriate bits and fragments of life that which deadens us to the vibrancy of life passing through us on its way through and through?

"Navigare necesse est, vivere non est necesse." "To sail is necessary; to live is not necessary." (-Gnaeus Pompeius)

Destination is fictitious. The sail is the thing itself. To navigate through ever-changing sea is continual course correction. We calculate and plot, take sightings and record in log the day's movement taking place between sleep, coffee, and looking through all manner of weather. In fact, we remain exactly where we are at any instant.

Practicing one's life relinquishes the inside and abandons the outside.

Really -- what is flowing through everything with no inside and no outside?

We sail through this question with no expectation of answer.

That's our nature.