Saturday, September 11, 2004

What if "the Lord" was translated and interpreted as "the true self of each one of us"?

One instant is eternity;
When you see through this one instant,
You see through the one who sees.

- Wu-men (1183-1260)

Would we remember who we are? Would this Self-Remembering become our primary task?

The essential point in learning Zen is to make the roots deep and the stem firm. Twenty-four hours a day, be aware of where you are and what you do. When no thoughts have arisen and nothing at all is on your mind, you merge with the boundless and become wholly empty and still. Then your actions are not interrupted by doubt and hesitation. This is called the fundamental matter right at hand. As soon as you produce any opinion or interpretation, and want to attain Zen and be a master, you have already fallen into psychological and material realms. You have become trapped by ordinary senses and perceptions, by ideas of gain and loss, by ideas of right and wrong. Half drunk and half sober, you cannot manage effectively.
- Yuan wu (1063-1135)

For generations and millennia we have lived with the sorrow of self-forgetfulness and non-recognition of neighbor.

Lamentations 5:1 - 22
O Lord, remember what has happened to us;
look on us and see our degradation.

Our inheritance has passed to aliens,
our homes to barbarians.

We are orphans, we are fatherless;
our mothers are like widows.

We drink our own water -- at a price;
we have to pay for what is our own firewood.

The yoke is on our necks; we are persecuted;
we are worked to death; no relief for us.

We hold out our hands to Egypt,
or to Assyria, just to get enough bread.

Our fathers have sinned; they are no more,
and we ourselves bear the weight of their crimes.

Slaves rule us;
no one rescues us from them.

At peril of our lives we earn our bread,
by risking the sword of the desert.

Our skin is as hot as the oven,
such is the fever of famine.

They have raped the women in Zion,
the virgins in the towns of Judah.

Princes have been hanged at their hands;
the face of the old has not been respected.

Youths have toiled at the mill;
boys have collapsed under loads of wood.

The elders have deserted the gateway;
the young men have given up their music.

Joy has vanished from our hearts;
our dancing has been turned to mourning.

The garland has fallen from our heads.
Woe to us, because we have sinned!

This is why our hearts are sick;
this is why our eyes are dim:

because Mount Zion is desolate;
jackals roam to and fro on it.

But you, O Lord, you remain for ever;
your throne endures from age to age.

You cannot mean to forget us for ever?
You cannot mean to abandon us for good?

Make us come back to you, O Lord, and we will come back.
Renew our days as in times past,

unless you have utterly rejected us,
in an anger that knows no limit.

Today is 9/11.

Is it nearing time to remember and recognize?

The true self of each one of us?

This day. This way.

Right at hand.

For this, we pray!

Friday, September 10, 2004

The war continues. Men die. Women die. Children die. The Secretary of Defense is determined to prove everyone opposed to the war wrong.

Genevieve asks the question: “What level of awareness makes us alive?”
Is it possible we have not yet come alive, that our awareness is not yet deep enough?


For the historical ache, the ache passed down
which finds its circumstance and becomes
the present ache, I offer this poem

without hope, knowing there's nothing,
not even revenge, which alleviates
a life like yours. I offer it as one

might offer his father's ashes
to the wind, a gesture
when there's nothing else to do.

Still, I must say to you:
I hate your good reasons.
I hate the hatefulness that makes you fall

in love with death, your own included.
Perhaps you're hating me now,
I who own my own house

and live in a country so muscular,
so smug, it thinks its terror is meant
only to mean well, and to protect.

Christ turned his singular cheek,
one man's holiness another's absurdity.
Like you, the rest of us obey the sting,

the surge. I'm just speaking out loud
to cancel my silence. Consider it an old impulse,
doomed to become mere words.

The first poet probably spoke to thunder
and, for a while, believed
thunder had an ear and a choice.

(Poem by Stephen Dunn)

If we mean well, if we really want to protect, we’ll have to go deeper to see how we are not yet alive, and are deadening others with our good reasons for war.

We resist war by serving the dying. In the faces of those emerging from death – those coming alive with awareness of truth and love – we see ourselves through the delusion of war.

He said to him, 'My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.'" (Luke 15:32)

We are coming through a terrible time. We’ve been lost. We thought war was a way to spawn freedom; when all that was wanted was justice. We thought force and power were ways to impose our culture and way of life; when the real desire of each human being is simply to love and be loved as the only way life is full of grace.

September is a new year.

Let’s awaken and come alive.

Finish war.

Try speaking to thunder.

Honor the choice to listen to and hear one another.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Mary was born. The sea was begun. Whatever it is -- mother's life is also itself mothered.

Or, as Rahda said tonight, "There is an awareness at which aliveness occurs."

He changed whatever was burdensome, servile and oppressive not what is light and liberating, so that we should be enslaved no longer under the elemental spirits of the world, as the Apostle says, nor held fast as bondservants under the letter of the law.
This is the highest, all-embracing benefit that Christ has bestowed on us. This is the revelation of the mystery, this is the emptying out of the divine nature, the union of God and man, and the deification of the manhood that was assumed. This radiant and manifest coming of God to men most certainly needed a joyful prelude to introduce the great gift of salvation to us. The present festival, the birth of the Mother of God, is the prelude, while the final act is the fore-ordained union of the Word with flesh. Today the Virgin is born, tended and formed and prepared for her role as Mother of God, who is the universal King of the ages.

(-- From a discourse by Saint Andrew of Crete)

Is awareness aliveness? Are we dead when absent awareness? Is this what Jesus was saying with, "Let the dead bury the dead"? Is that what Krishna was telling Arjuna? (Rahda asked this in circle tonight.)

Robert thinks beyond-thinking is the creative. Sandra has happily consumed memory. Michael looks forward to January and February's nothingness. The Buddha's final saying --"From now on, [we're] on our own," begins to come alive.

There is much to celebrate in this creative mother.

Awareness mothers what is alive!

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

After the woman's brain stopped, her body finally stopped. Two phone calls told us today. Sandy died in her home this afternoon.

Mind has no color,
Is neither long nor short,
Doesn’t appear or disappear;
It is free from both purity and impurity;
It was never born and can never die;
It is utterly serene.
This is the form of our
Original mind,
Which is also our original body.

- Hui-hai (8th cent)

So much of what we call life is a leaving of home, wandering, and then returning home. We've come to name these processes birth, life, and death. These names, for many among us, seem to suffice.

In the Noh plays and the old legends performed in the Kabuki theatre, the most striking and most significant passages are those where nothing is spoken at all, and the actor has to express everything wordlessly from within, by the most economical and yet concentrated mime and gestures.
(-- Gustie L. Herrigel, Zen in the Art of Flower Arrangement, p.288 in The World of Zen, ed. Nancy Wilson Ross)

'Wordlessly from within!' Such words make a sacred ground for rest and respect.

Among the great things which are to be found among us, the Being of Nothingness is the greatest.
(-- Leonard Da Vinci, Dairies and Notes; Ross)

We might as well love dust and dirt. The phenomenal -- the play of human existence.

We'll return to earth on our way through familiar ground.

Making of ourselves a light -- (as the poet's final instruction suggests.) From now on -- on our own.

Everything -- yes, everything -- for giving.

Everything become itself.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Don't look back? Don't look ahead?

The Way is arrived at by enlightenment. The first priority is to establish resolve-it is no small matter to step directly from the bondage of the ordinary person into transcendent experience of the realm of sages. It requires that your mind be firm as steel to cut off the flow of birth and death, accept your original real nature, not see anything at all as existing inside or outside yourself, so all actions and endeavors emerge from the fundamental.
- Yuan wu (1063-1135)

Where look?

"The more real things get, the more like myths they become. There have always been myths, but the myths of earlier times were, I’m convinced, bad ones, because they made people sick. So certainly, if we can tell evil stories to make people sick, we can also tell good myths that make them well."(Rainer Werner Fassbinder, German filmmaker)

Look here?