Saturday, June 25, 2005

Poetry is insight pointing things out.

Wherever and whenever
The mind is found
Attached to anything,
Make haste to detach
Yourself from it.
When you tarry for
Any length of time
It will turn again into
Your old home town.

- Daito Kokushi (1282-1334)

Everything is gift. There is nothing to hold on to. We are asked to enjoy the ride.

Let go.

I sent an email to my internet provider. They've tried twice to break through the telephone company's own koan, "If you'd like to make a call, please hang up and try again."
Hello Patrick,
I left a message on your voice mail Thursday asking a third attempt to get DSL hooked up to my number at 50 Bayview Street in Camden.
If this attempt meets with success I'll have solved the Zen koan, "What does the third thing have to do with one and two?" (This is a very profound riddle. It solves the previously unsolved koan, "Not one, not two.")
Please dismiss my previous email that said I'll not be trying number three. Or, find me a Zen Master with only two arms, two legs, two eyes, and two ears who nods yes to three without dismissing one and two.

Let's go.
(Please visit

Friday, June 24, 2005

Here's the question: If you see something from every point of view, are you only looking at yourself?

Utter emptiness has no image,
Upright independence does not rely on anything.
Just expand and illuminate the original truth
Unconcerned by external conditions.

- Hongzhi Zhengjue (1091 -- 1157)

There's a tricky issue around seeing only yourself: you're either an egoistic narcissist, or you're simply enlightened.

When John first felt Jesus' approach, then finally saw him, he was encountering the one reality that is distributed everywhere, yet not anywhere else but where it is.

John the Baptist is the only saint in the calendar who has two feasts to himself: one, in August, to celebrate his death, and one, in June, to celebrate his birth. And this is as it should be, for as Christ himself said, John was the greatest of the sons of men.
The greatest, but also the most tragic. A prophet from before his birth, leaping in the womb to announce the coming of the incarnate God, his task was to proclaim the fulfilment of all prophecies -- and thus his own obsolescence. And he did it: with unequalled courage he spread the news that he, the greatest of all men, was the least in the kingdom of heaven. His disciples, and the devil, would have preferred him to fight, to build his sect, to defeat this upstart whom he himself had baptized, to seize his place in history. But he did not -- and so, rightly, he has his place, and he has glory in heaven.
We envy the great and the talented, and sometimes we think that they themselves are beyond envy. But when they come across someone with greater gifts, as one day most of them will, they will see for the first time what it means to feel like us. Let us pray that they, like John the Baptist, may pass that test.

Saskia shows me some pictures from New Brunswick. "I found this roll of film in the car. I thought it was something else -- but it's not."

She's right. Something is never something else. It is always and only itself.

That's something to appreciate.

This is what we come to see after long last.

Each is always and only itself.

In emptiness; utterly so.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

In the small room off dining room thirty years ago today my father died. He wasn't going to walk down the back stoop another time. Heart, they said. It broke.

Though night after night
The moon is stream-reflected,
Try to find where it has touched,
Point even to a shadow.

- Takuan (1573 - 1645)

The monk Raub's words were read at conversation tonight. Idols are what the false self is never good enough to please. The true Father says it's all right. We are accepted as the Father Itself is accepted.

My father always said "OK" those times of my life when meaning and heartbreak vied for the upper hand. His subtle acceptance accompanied me through.

Right where we are -- that's where we begin, always -- right where we are.

And if someone should erroneously say you're not good enough, do not believe them.

Say, "So what?"


Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Does a new world near?

Someone at conversation made the distinction between spirituality concerning the absolute versus ordinary deportment in social interaction. I'd rather the distinction be unmade. Spirituality cuts between the absolute and our deportment with one another. Spirituality is how each thing is itself.

Alone in mountain fastness,
Dozing by the window.
No mere talk uncovers Truth:
The fragrance of those garden plums!

- Bankei (1622 - 1693)

Something is itself when it embraces everything within and without it. The spirituality of a person and nation is of a piece. Authentic spirituality remains integral. False piety and religiosity fragments and dissembles.

In today's world it is difficult to find authentic spirituality.

It is a world in which objective fact no longer guides how we are governed. A world in which distortions and untruths are repeated over and over again until just enough Americans believe them to provide a veneer of approval for the outlandish. ("Bush Administration Subverts the Truth," by Marie Cocco. Published on Tuesday, June 21, 2005 by the Long Island, NY Newsday)

We are not "winning" anything in Iraq. Back home we are losing heart.

No mere talk can change lies into truth.

A more integral silence must walk in our midst.

Here in Maine summer solstice rounds out with full moon.

Monks unheard and hermits unseen step unhurried.

Comes near a spirituality as comes near moonlight over all.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

We are preparing a subscription letter.

Money is a kind of poetry. (Wallace Stevens)

We invite donations to support the Laura Common and Meetingbrook Harbour Retreat.

Support Meetingbrook?

Come along.