Saturday, July 23, 2005

When too many words are spoken, quiet slips in undetected. .

In my youth I put aside my studies
And I aspired to be a saint.
Living austerely as a mendicant monk,
I wandered here and there for many springs.
Finally I returned home to settle under a craggy peak.
I live peacefully in a grass hut,
Listening to the birds for music.
Clouds are my best neighbors.
Below a pure spring where I refresh body and mind;
Above, towering pines and oaks that provide shade and brushwood.
Free, so free, day after day --
I never want to leave!

-- Ryokan

Dusk explains nothing.

Let's rest there.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Ryokan's leaves are gone; ours are full fresh green. It's the path that remains itself.

A single path through a dense forest,
Mountains peek out from between the floating mist.
Not yet autumn, the leaves have already disappeared,
And without rain, the rocks are always dark.
I gather mushrooms in a basket
And draw spring water into a jar.
Except for a stray traveler,
No one finds the way here.

- Ryokan

In prison I tutor basic reading skills in Saskia's classroom,. Robert looks at the letters "c,o,o,k" and says "chef." His mind leaps beyond phonic recognition. I tell him to first trust his eyes, trust his ears.

Sando at home bolts during thunderclaps before we arrived. She came back tired and deranged along Barnestown road. There are certain things we cannot hear and remain sane.

We practice stray spirituality. It is by doubtful indirection we stumble upon what is called "here."

By miraculous, paradoxical, and generous idiorhythmic grace -- no one finds the way here.

Become no one.

Find way.


Thursday, July 21, 2005

Opinions, often, are chains.

On Larry King Live a prosecutor from Boston tried to cast doubt on the case of a man released from prison after eight years of a death sentence conviction for rape and murder of a nine year old girl. DNA testing in this instance -- the first case of reversal -- had been used to exonerate him and to convict someone else who admitted committing the crime. The released man was pardoned by the Governor.

On the show during a panel, nevertheless, the prosecutor -- representing the view that DNA results say nothing about innocence -- did her best to implicate the released man by means of innuendo and retrieval of information she recalled of the case -- a case from another state, a case she had nothing to do with.

Happiness was not freedom from chains but release from chains. Chains were an indispensable part of happiness! (p.23 in The Discovery of Heaven, by Harry Mulisch)

For the man released from prison, the chains rattle against metal and concrete. He hears them in her voice.

She said one thing true -- she doesn't know if the released man is innocent of the crime. Nor does Larry King; nor do I; nor does anybody not there.

The chains are indispensable.

Happiness is an inner fact.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Sometimes people are too insistent on their opinions. We crowd each other this way.

Grant me the ability to be alone,
May it be my custom to go outdoors each day
among the trees and grasses
among all growing things
and there may I be alone,
and enter into prayer
to talk with the one
that I belong to.

- Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav

Zen masters say don't seek truth, just drop opinions.

Riverbanks lined with
green willows, fragrant grasses:
A place not sacred?

( - Zen saying)

Refreshing breeze comes in kitchen window.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Maybe Bob is wrong. He says there are two kinds of people in the world: them that say there are two kinds of people in the world; and them that don't.

I say there are only two people in the world: the one who is here; and the one who isn't.

Love Like Salt

It lies in our hands in crystals
too intricate to decipher

It goes into the skillet
without being given a second thought

It spills on the floor so fine
we step all over it

We carry a pinch behind each eyeball

It breaks out on our foreheads

We store it inside our bodies
in secret wineskins

At supper, we pass it around the table
talking of holidays and the sea.

(poem from "Alive Together: New and Selected Poems" (LSU Press, 1996) by Lisel Mueller.)

The one who loves is always here. The one who doesn't is seldom present anywhere.

This is why I sometimes worry about where I am. When absent I am nowhere. When present I am not here.

This is why I think about God.

Like salt, God is love. In the flavoring -- God dissolves into wherever here is.

I'll consider this.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

We have a vocation when we are responsive to what is calling our name.

When you look, it is formless;
When you call, it echoes.
It is the great Dharma commander,
Transmitting the sutras
Through precepts of mind.

As saltiness in water,
Transparency in color,
Surely it is there,
But its form is invisible;
The Mind King is also thus,
Residing in the body.

- Master Fu (497-569)

Many things call. True. But. What-Is, alone, knows our name.

When we listen carefully, our work and our life are one thing -- when we respond faithfully to what is calling our name.

We prepare well by residing well within our body.