Saturday, November 05, 2005

Make enemy and there is enemy. Thought-form becomes solid.

Luminous is this mind,
Brightly shining, but it is
Colored by the attachments
That visit it.
This unlearned people do not
Really understand,
And so do not cultivate the mind.
Luminous is this mind,
Brightly shining,
And it is free of the
Attachments that visit it.
This the noble follower
Of the Way really understands;
So for them there is
Cultivation of the mind.

- Anguttara Nikaya

Recognize suffering and suffering begins to dissolve.

We participate intimately in the movement of mind -- in the cosmogenesis of what is to follow upon current place.

Thought-forms, or "memes" (as one writer puts it) take on lives of their own.
meme (mēm) n. A unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another.
[Shortening (modeled on GENE) of mimeme, from Greek mimēma, something imitated, from mimeisthai, to imitate. See mimesis.]

The term and concept of meme (pronounced [meem] from the Greek word μνήμη for 'memory') is a neologism that first appeared in the 1976 book by Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene. Though Dawkins defined the meme as "a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation," memeticists vary in their definitions of meme.
Different definitions of the meme generally agree, very roughly, that a meme consists of some sort of a self-propagating unit of cultural evolution having a resemblance to the gene (the unit of genetics). Dawkins introduced the term after writing that evolution depended not on the particular chemical basis of genetics, but only on the existence of a self-replicating unit of transmission Ã?‚— in the case of evolution, the gene. For Dawkins, the meme exemplifies another self-replicating unit, and most importantly, one which he thought would prove useful in explaining human behavior and cultural evolution.
In casual use, the term meme often refers to any piece of information passed from one mind to another.


If we cultivate the mind -- (let life flow through life-giving thoughts; let pass and fall away life-denying thoughts) -- we participate with light finding its way through this existence.

Light will find its way through darkness -- through it, not eliminating it. It is attachment to misunderstanding that believes we eliminate and destroy darkness. When men act with such a mind, everyone suffers,

We must allow light on suffering so as to comfort those who suffer.

This morning, at dawn, first light walked with Cesco and I up path winding way through trees and brook. Yellow-brown leaves on mountain path damp from nighttime's memory are practicing stillness during quiet passage.

The mind of earth participates with each step, with four of us sitting in fire-warn cabin, with psalmic melody including in prayer our vast brother/sisterhood.

Luminous and brightly shining watchful earth, dwelling place of what is lovely and true, all that we hold sacred, God-life as it is -- we grow, tend, and nurture -- this.

This open mind.

This open heart.

Surrounding us.

Friday, November 04, 2005

The hermitage is carried within. World is monastery. The convent is a woman's walk along rooted earth and sea salt speckled stone stepping down to beach.

Found on the wall of a convent soon to be destroyed:

In haste and hurry we gather
Up our tattered robes,
And pack up our traveling bags:
Not much to take.
Sleeves brushing white clouds,
We retreat to the cave's mouth,
Carrying the moon on our shoulders,
We circle the sky's edge.
I feel such sad pity for the young cranes
Nesting on the pine tops,
And for abandoning the flowers I
Planted at the foot of the fence.
Again and again I admonish the cats and dogs
Not to hang around the homes of lay people!

- Jueqing (1537)

You see, the religious institutions have gone to ground. They have fallen into the very molecules that reverberate sound through skin and skull.

Some are sad at the grounding. Some want special uniform and special treatment to try to assure them they are special in the eyes of the people, if not in the eyes of the divine.


There was nothing I could have done --
a flurry of blackbirds burst
from the weeds at the edge of a field
and one veered out into my wheel
and went under. I had a moment
to hope he'd emerge as sometimes
they will from beneath the back
of the car and fly off,
but I saw him behind on the roadbed,
the shadowless sail of a wing
lifted vainly from the clumsy
bundle of matter he'd become.

There was nothing I could have done,
though perhaps I was distracted:
I'd been listening to news of the war,
hearing that what we'd suspected
were lies had proved to be lies,
that many were dying for those lies,
but as usual now, it wouldn't matter.
I'd been thinking of Lincoln's,
". . .You can't fool all of the people
all of the time. . ." how I once
took comfort from the hope and trust
it implied, but no longer.

I had to slow down now,
a tractor hauling a load of hay
was approaching on the narrow lane.
The farmer and I gave way and waved:
the high-piled bales swayed
menacingly over my head but held.
Out in the newly harvested fields,
already harrowed and raw,
more blackbirds, uncountable
clouds of them, rose, held
for an instant, then broke,
scattered as though by a gale.

(Poem "Blackbird" by C.K. Williams)

Hermits today move out through the world to ground where truth brooks no cover, no promise of other.

There was nothing else we could do. Not then. We didn't understand what their haste would destroy.

We have to slow down. Now. Pause to look.

Scatter from fear. Alight feathers. Say what must be said.

Abandon the vaguely assuring estrangement of lies.

Wander rooted ground truthfully, unknowingly.

Sing psalmic verses praising (absurd) kindness.

Be what religion has forgotten -- to become.

Be what is -- well.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Marquee on main street says "Strand." We strand ourselves watching Evelyn Glennie in 'Touch The Sound,' a film by Thomas Riedelsheimer

In the shade of two trees
And the hanging green of the cliffs,
One lamp for a thousand years
Broke open the dark barriers.
I too now realize that phenomena
Are nothing but a magic show
And happily grow old among the mist,
The rivers, and the stones.

- Miaozhan (1260-1308)

Her music, her life, and her spirit open for us sound and gaze. Steve D. and friends are hosting again "Cinema of the Spirit" in Rockland.

This hermitage was here first
Only then, the world.
When the world crumbles,
This hermitage will not be destroyed.
The host inside the hermitage
Is present everywhere.
The moon shines on the eternal void;
The wind whistles through
Ten thousand openings.

- Shiwu (1347)

Hermitage, for tonight, is long loving gaze into the core-and-care of "what is." Hermitage is itself the invitation to look into "what is."

Hermitage is practicing -- this alone -- with a silence that permeates both wordless emptiness and wording presence.

In the Shinto teaching of “the God-like way,” we find the following: "The heart of the person before you is a mirror. See there your own form"

Lovely the artists making for us this world lovely.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

There is a mirror we are invited to look into. What we see there, and what we do next, is effectively our meditative practice and spiritual journey.

Within the vast expanse of dust
Essentially a single suchness,
Whether vertical or horizontal,
Everything bears the seal of Vairochana.
Although the entire wave is made of water,
The wave is not the water;
Although all of the water may turn to waves,
The water is still itself.

- Zhitong (d.1124)

To be "still itself" is a profound awareness.

The name Vairochana means "He Who Is Like the Sun" or "the Radiating One." Vairochana represents either the integration of or the origin of the Dhyani Buddhas. His wisdom is the Wisdom of the Dharmadhatu. The Dharmadhatu is the Realm of Truth, in which all things exist as they really are. Vairochana's wisdom is also referred to as the All-Pervading Wisdom of the Dharmakaya. The Dharmakaya is the Body of the Law, or the absolute Buddha nature. (

The mirror takes nothing and gives us nothing back. It, too, is circumference and center of our body.

Love After Love

The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

And say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was yourself.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

(Poem by Derek Walcott)

The Shinto maxim in line with the Christian Golden Rule ("Do unto others as you would have them do unto you") is "The heart of the person before you is a mirror. See there your own form."

Peel the image.

Honor the dead.

It is their day.

All of ours.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

It is time.

Country, world, knows what must happen.

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant---
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise
As Lightening to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind---

(Poem by Emily Dickinson)

A saint seeks God.

As all souls do.

It is November.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Morning walk across northeast side of Ragged Mountain. Earth is soft moist on trail.

You ask me why I live
In jade mountains.
I smile, unanswering.
My heart is calm.
Peach petals floating on the water,
Never come back.
There is a heaven and earth
Beyond the crowded town below.

- Li Bai (701-762)

On mountain, yellow leaves snuggle against broken branches diverting water in crooked streams. Leaves have detached from trees and fallen to earth where they can roll where brisk winds take them -- a new freedom that only follows loss

Your son, my lord, has paid a soldiers debt.
He only lived but till he was a man,
The which no sooner had his prowess confirm'd
In the unshrinking station where he fought,
But like a man he died.

(--from Act 5, Scene 9, Macbeth, by William Shakespeare)

War is the deficiency of human reason to honestly engage the differences rife in our common experience of existence in this contemporary world. There's nothing honorable in war -- except the way men and women, trusting their superiors, place their lives on battle lines and varied stretches of deadly dangerous geography. Iraq is one of those places. One could, if pressed, respect the hearts and minds of everyone engaged in the war -- soldiers, civilians, and people of every stripe and strife. Each acts for some reason felt to be adequate to the act.

War horrifies me. The deficiency we encounter when some cry "War!" is the frightening triumph of ideology over human reason. I do not wish to entertain the cases where force is necessary and immediate. I speak of times when such action is not necessary, not wise, and not for the common good. At this point of human history we know the horrors of war -- we know when necessity demands response, and we know the futility of unfocused engagement. It is hard to imagine sane men and women initiating a war for purposes they cannot articulate, using strategies they cannot justify, and whose duration they consider to be never-ending and never-satisfying.

Men who proclaim themselves knowers of God's special advice are hard so-called "teachers" and "favored channels" to tolorate. So many want to be "daddy" and "master."

You, however, must not allow yourselves to be called Rabbi, since you have only one master, and you are all brothers [and sisters]. You must call no one on earth your father, since you have only one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor must you allow yourselves to be called teachers, for you have only one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you must be your servant. Anyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and anyone who humbles himself will be exalted.
(Matthew 23:10 - 12)

When a woman last evening told of the behavior of her family when she was a young girl, it occurred to me that the man and woman she described were not her "family" -- but were sorrowful patterns of destructive behavior stuck in habitual conditioning. Her real "family," it was countered, were all the things and all the beings that she treated, and that treated her, with love and respect, serving one another with attention and compassion. This notion of family is put squarely within the creative capability and constructive energy of herself. Corrosive attachments to something are not the thing itself. Enliven the thing itself, the vital shoot of our vital authentic being, and that which is unnecessary has nothing to cling to. What falls away is not true family. True family resides lovely within.

We can't want a "not." Not to remember, not to feel, not to experience, or not to repeat what was done to us -- these are wanting nots.

We can only long for a "yes" -- something that is itself, unconditioned and self-organizing -- and this longing resides deep within us. No one can tell us what we want. What is "yes" is an affirmation of what is most true -- looking at it, seeing it, and allowing it to drop into and through our being. As it passes through, we experience a moment of grace. We are free within what is itself. What is not itself falls away.

Be wary of any and all "selling" jobs.

It is the insanity of our times that some continue to call upon God, Jesus, Mohammad -- or any other named or believed-in god or personage -- to sell, justify or back their foray into war. The deviousness of invoking "God" or "country" in order to stir up passion for killing and destroying -- is, at this point of history, the depth of impiety and danger.

Forget the "war" on terror. It wants a "not."

Remember to serve one another with humility.

Such remembrance longs to be who we are.

A calm heart sees heaven, sees earth.

Each within another.

A loving, lovely sight.