Saturday, July 29, 2006

The same light illumines each face. Each face is different. The same light reflects this difference. Welcome to humanity. Welcome to existence.

When enlightened Zen masters
Set up teachings for a spiritual path,
The only concern is to clarify
The mind to arrive at its source.
It is complete in everyone,
Yet people turn away from this basic mind
Because of their illusions.

- Yuanwu

No piece of the puzzle should be wasted. No crumbs left over from feeding thousands should be wasted. Each one is absolutely necessary. The whole demands each one.

Sons of men, how long will your hearts be heavy?
Why do you seek for vain things?
Why do you run after illusions?

(from Psalm 4)

There's no accounting for discrimination. No accounting for stupidity.

Our ignorance is (oddly) forgiven.

Save the leftovers.

Redeem the puzzle-piece.

No more illusions.

Get with what is...real.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Charlie said he wasn't feeling so good. He asked if we still had conversations.

Coming, going, the waterfowl
Leaves not a trace,
Nor does it need a guide.


Kobutsu Malone sends one of his articles: "The Paradox of Freedom: Prison Dharma on the Edge -- Buddha Dharma is not Buddhist Dharma."

It ends with the words:
Lilla Watson, an Aboriginal woman activist once said:
If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time.
But if you have come because your liberation is tied up with mine,
then let us work together.

Let's do this.

One with another.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Don't say the word 'war.' It sounds like you know what it means.

Rather, say: 'These men and women, with their children were killed by bombs, bullets, and missiles in Lebanon and Israel.'


The unspoiled colors of a late summer night,
The wind howling through the loft pines -
The feel of autumn approaching;
The swaying bamboos keep resonating,
And shedding tears of dew at dawn;
Only those who exert themselves fully
Will attain the Way,
But even if you abandon all for the ancient path
of meditation,
You can never forget the meaning of sadness.

(from The Zen Poetry of Dogen, Steven Heine, p.133-134)

The word 'war' is insufficient. As though it explained anything.

War is no explanation.

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you in every way and preserve your life and your soul and your body without blemish, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1 Thessalonians 5:23, from Compline)

The Lord Jesus Christ does not understand the word 'war.' Nor should his followers.

Christ reality is more dangerous than war. It is not the absence of war -- which is just war undressed.

Christ reality is spare, unadorned, radical -- peace.

It's a shame when Christians refuse Christ reality. They want formulations about Jesus.

Meanwhile, while fundamentalists condemn anyone not mouthing their slogans, a saddened Jesus weeps with those that weep in bloodied streets where no one recognizes the new embodiment of Christ suffering our ignorance.

Spare me the triumphalistic bombast. Share with me a more real humanity -- one that begins with kindness and compassion. A humanity we shun, but a humanity embraced by Jesus.

We are not better nor more clever than God. We're meant to love.

Shut up. Go home.

Love to be unknown.

Be different. Care.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Coming through barn, wanting to run away, blue beetle turning left up Barnestown Road, cat under red van, dog stretched in front room, bird feeder fallen to ground behind two spare tires alongside tipped seed can itself empty, end of July hot and muggy, orange juice and fruit bar.

Tathata (Sanskrit) is variously translated as thusness or suchness. It is a central concept in Buddhism as well as the Hindu Upanishads; in the latter, it is used to refer to Brahman, i.e. the Absolute. One of the synonyms of the word Buddha is tathagata, which means "thus gone" or "thus come".

The thought occurs opening screen from barn to mudroom: No talk about Christ, just Christ; No talk about Buddha, just Buddha.

Put differently: Be what you long to see -- as best you can -- be loving, be kind, be awake, be wise, be compassionate, be relief of suffering.

Zen is a school of practice. As a Zen Christian, practice Christ mind and heart. As a Zen Buddhist, practice Buddha mind and heart.

An attitude of mind and heart that is zen mind/zen heart is one of no-barrier, no-separation, and no-other. It is based on the practice that as our true self is uncovered we come to see one another in true light of lovingkindness, wisdom, and compassion.

Birds chant to open air songs of hunger, attraction, communication, meditation, and sunlight. Cars roll down Barnestown flashing by front window going toward Hosmer Pond. There's nothing to do right now but observe and listen to what, and that, I am.


God banish from your house
The fly, the roach, the mouse

That riots in the walls
Until the plaster falls;

Admonish from your door
The hypocrite and liar;

No shy, soft, tigrish fear
Permit upon your stair,

Nor agents of your doubt.
God drive them whistling out.

Let nothing touched with evil,
Let nothing that can shrivel

Heart's tenderest frond, intrude
Upon your still, deep blood.

Against the drip of night
God keep all windows tight,

Protect your mirrors from
Surprise, delirium,

Admit no trailing wind
Into your shuttered mind

To plume the lake of sleep
With dreams. If you must weep

God give you tears, but leave
you secrecy to grieve,

And islands for your pride,
And love to nest in your side.

(Poem: "Benediction" By Stanley Kunitz from The Collected Poems. W. W. Norton & Company.)

Harold said be the culture you wish to see. Writing from his cell 2nd tier in corner -- he is what he writes -- encouragement and sound.

Dick said, "They're really getting to you, eh?" Sure, it's true. It's like visiting relatives you didn't know were family. In the midst of suffering, practice with/in healing mind/healing heart.

Sun lays green on green.

Zen sees this stillness.

As what it is.

That it is.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

These days seem to be covered with a daze of disdain. Is it new moon? Or is the world depressing on its own?

"Earthly life is the time for bloodshed, war, and danger." That's what John Chrysostom quotes talking about James whose feast is celebrated today. Zebedee, James' father, wanted for him what he did get. But the intention shifted. From glory adorned to humility simply worn.

In my pot nothing but the wind's deep moan,
For company only a staff of wisteria vine;
Last night we chatted and laughed till all hours
The empty sky listened with a cold heart.

- Muso Soseki (1275-1351)

Some see what is there and say 'yes' -- some see and say 'no.' It is the revelation of the pattern that some connect with.

In his novel "Pattern Recognition," William Gibson writes of character Cayce, "She is only there to serve as a very specialized piece of human litmus paper."
When asked by another character, "It must be difficult...when you don't like something. Emotionally, I mean." -- Cayce responds, "It isn't about liking anything, Bernard,'s like that roll of carpet, there; it's either blue or it's not. Whether or not it's blue isn't something I have an emotional investment in." (p.13)

Sam M. said on Sunday that 'like' is the opposite of hate. Love, said Thomas Merton, has no opposite; there's only love...and the perversion of love. Ordinarily, in our dualistic thinking we'd reactively respond that hate is the opposite of love. But what if Sam is correct? What if likes/dislikes as a genre is where 'hate' looks for its other side?

From a homily on Matthew by Saint John Chrysostom, bishop, "Sharers in the suffering of Christ"
The sons of Zebedee press Christ: Promise that one may sit at your right side and the other at your left. What does he do? He wants to show them that it is not a spiritual gift for which they are asking, and that if they knew what their request involved, they would never dare make it. So he says: You do not know what you are asking, that is, what a great and splendid thing it is and how much beyond the reach even of the heavenly powers. Then he continues: Can you drink the cup which I must drink and be baptised with the baptism which I must undergo? He is saying: "You talk of sharing honours and rewards with me, but I must talk of struggle and toil. Now is not the time for rewards or the time for my glory to be revealed. Earthly life is the time for bloodshed, war and danger".
Consider how by his manner of questioning he exhorts and draws them. He does not say: "Can you face being slaughtered? Can you shed your blood?" How does he put his question? Can you drink the cup? Then he makes it attractive by adding: which I must drink, so that the prospect of sharing it with him may make them more eager. He also calls his suffering a baptism, to show that it will effect a great cleansing of the entire world. The disciples answer him: We can! Fervour makes them answer promptly, though they really do not know what they are saying but still think they will receive what they ask for.
How does Christ reply? You will indeed drink my cup and be baptised with my baptism. He is really prophesying a great blessing for them, since he is telling them: "You will be found worthy of martyrdom; you will suffer what I suffer and end your life with a violent death, thus sharing all with me. But seats at my right and left are not mine to give; they belong to those for whom the Father has prepared them." Thus, after lifting their minds to higher goals and preparing them to meet and overcome all that will make them desolate, he sets them straight on their request.
Then the other ten became angry at the two brothers. See how imperfect they all are: the two who tried to get ahead of the other ten, and the ten who were jealous of the two! But, as I said before, show them to me at a later date in their lives, and you will see that all these impulses and feelings have disappeared. Read how John, the very man who here asks for the first place, will always yield to Peter when it comes to preaching and performing miracles in the Acts of the Apostles. James, for his part, was not to live very much longer; for from the beginning he was inspired by great fervour and, setting aside all purely human goals, rose to such splendid heights that he straightway suffered martyrdom.


Christ is a mystery to me. The speculation borne out by scripture and tradition is that Jesus came into this existence to be a ramsom for the sins of humanity, to wash our sins away, to die for our sins. Then, the story goes, he rose (again) from the dead, ascended into heaven, and there awaits an endtime whence he will come (again) to judge the living and the dead. This pattern is recognizable to anyone familiar with Christianity. So is the pattern of bloodshed, war, and danger.

Let's look into the pattern to see if some deeper pattern arises. The cup Jesus must drink is his true nature. So too, he says, will James. He will be martyr. A martyr is sufferer -- one who suffers for the sake of principle, refusing to give up what is true for him or her. In this pattern you are not dying for principle, you are suffering, choosing your true nature over false idea -- the false idea being that you can be real if you affirm what is not true for you. You can't. Only true nature is real. All else is artifice, simulacrum, and substitute.

To suffer is to allow that true nature, to permit its presence, to be patient in the presence of What Is True revealing itself. This presence of mind and heart is what is often called suffering. Jesus suffers us. We suffer one another. Our presence is permitted as Christ's presence reveals itself. Or, put from a deeper pattern -- Christ's presence allows our presence to come to it's true nature alongside his. There is an interdependence that redeems us from separation and hostility, baptizes and confirms us in the very reality of the Christ.

Let's acknowledge that 'sin' might be understood as the attempt to sever us from our true nature, a separating impulse that tries to impose hostility and division. If this view works, then Jesus (whom we call Christ) arrives to embody and reveal that sin is not a necessary componant of human life, that he (by the grace of God) is completely human and completely divine in that he is able to reconcile the hostility and division within his very body and being. Christ, then, chooses -- not death, but life.

The body/mind of this earthly human existence is not the body/mind of Being Itself. That reality, some have called it the only reality, all else a fabricatiion, an artificial substitution. The reality of Being Itself (or 'God') is the deepest pattern within pattern, very ground of being at foundation of life itself. Jesus the Christ, some say, was the embodiment of that core reality. That core reality of life itself is love. Love is all there is. It has no opposite.

Our opinions, our likes and dislikes, our conditioning and our situation patterns -- all are difficulties we face as we attempt to let go of the artificial and fall with surrender into our true nature.

Zen Master Seung Sahn at an Esalen sesshin in 1975 is quoted by Sherry Ruth Anderson: "Deep in the mountains, the great temple bell is struck. The truth is just like this." Then, "Let go of your opinions, your situation, your condition," the Zen Master shouted again. "Then your mind is clear like space. And enlightened and unenlightened are empty words." (

I have long loved the words, "The truth is just like this."

About one and a half centuries after Hui-neng, Lin-chi founded the southern Ch'an line of transmission named after him. In the Lin-chi Records the treatment of truth is headed in the direction we have already anticipated. Rather than the truly-so, Lin-chi emphasizes the "true person" (chen-jen(t)); rather than Hui-neng's no-thinking, Lin-chi speaks of "no position" (wu-wei(u)). Putting these together, we find in the third chapter Lin-chi's famous reference to the "true person of no position." This term played a central role in Lin-chi's training techniques, and he often demanded of his disciples that they make manifest this true nature of the personality. In a sense, Lin-chi sees a fundamental connection between Hui-neng's "original nature" and "original face;" that is, Lin-chi makes it explicit that the truly-so is manifested in the activity of the true person. The truth is based as much in the person as it is in the tathata. The roots of Lin-chi's idea may be in chapter 6 of the Chuang-tzu: "There must first be a true person before there can be true knowledge." The "true person" is one of Chuang-tzu's common designations for the sage who acts spontaneously, responsively, and without contrivance. In this respect, we can understand Hui-neng's "no-thinking" as a state of responsive awareness in which one is not self-consciously putting one's experience into static con-ceptual frameworks. In any case, Lin-chi expressly states that the true person represents the spontaneous functioning at the basis of all human activity (3; ch. 3) and the mode in which intention and act are inseparable (yao-hsing-chi-hsing; yao-tso-chi-tso(h), 11d, ch. 10).
(from TRUTH AND ZEN, By T. P. Kasulis,

I suspect in Jesus the Christ, a true person, intention and act are inseparable. Christ nature is what we call true nature. So is Buddha nature. So is your and my very body/mind when we act spontaneously, responsively, and without contrivance.

I am not fond of fear, of punishment, nor am I fond of the judging and condemnation so rampant in the culture of religious people. Their pattern of humorless disdain and dislike, segregating, denouncing, shunning, and dismissing feels to be a surface pattern based on ego and likes/dislikes.

If there were any true Christians, true Buddhists, true Jews, true Muslims, true Hindus, true Pagans, true Agnostics, or true Atheists -- I suspect they dwell in a deeper pattern wherein true nature, true self, true no-self, and true God dwell in common company.

The world is depressing on its own.

We have a great need for one another's inspiration to dwell together in the community of What Is True.

We will know we are true by our love and hospitality.

Keep careful watch.

Toll the bell. Telltale the true when seen or felt.

See what is just like this.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Just a little absurd. That's what we cannot help being. All the words about God, country, and the coming tribulation.

Somewhere deep within each one of us, Christ Jesus resides in stillness and silence. For Buddhists it is enlightenment that awaits our realization of it. Either way, so much depends on our waking up, being born and reborning being -- and for some -- again attempting and again beginning.

Supreme enlightenment is not for oneself,
Not for others, not for fame, not for gain.
To nevertheless seek unexcelled
Supreme enlightenment wholeheartedly
And singlemindedly,
Persevering without regressing,
Is called "awakening the mind for enlightenment."

- Dogen (1200-1253)

I look for my home, my cell, my room, my solitude. The cultivated hostilities of radical fundamentalists and sophisticated power-brokers equally sicken. The religious fascists are as disappointing as the cynical nihilists.

You do look, my son, in a mov'd sort,
As if you were dismay'd: be cheerful, sir:
Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.--Sir, I am vex'd:
Bear with my weakness; my old brain is troubled.
Be not disturb'd with my infirmity.
If you be pleas'd, retire into my cell
And there repose: a turn or two I'll walk,
To still my beating mind.

(from The Tempest -- Act IV, Scene 1, by William Shakespeare)

Someone dreams us. It becomes nightmarish. Our center has fallen through into unsmiling certitude and coded phrases intent on sorry superiority.

The notion that the world is meaningless, derived from an essay, "The Myth of Sisyphus," by Albert Camus, which suggests that man has an unquenchable desire to understand but that the world is eternally unknowable. The resulting conflict puts man in an "absurd" position, like Sisyphus, who, according to Greek myth, was condemned for eternity to push a rock up a mountain, only to have it always fall back down before it reached the top.

Sisyphus, Camus concluded, must be assumed as being happy.

In Philosophy, The Absurd refers to humans who continue to live their lives, despite knowledge that their lives are utterly pointless.

What's the point? A God-Creator who, many believe, ordered the death of his son? Or the robotic believers who have never felt the emptiness of their posturing platitudes?

I'll tell you the point --
We are poor passing facts
warned by that to give
each figure in the photograph
his living name.

(from poem "Epilogue" by Robert Lowell)

Ah, yes, one's living name!

Presence itself as it is.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Let's look here.

Now in Christ Jesus, you that used to be so far apart from us have been brought very close, by the blood of Christ. For he is the peace between us, and has made the two into one and broken down the barrier which used to keep them apart, actually destroying in his own person the hostility caused by the rules and decrees of the Law. This was to create one single New Man in himself out of the two of them and by restoring peace through the cross, to unite them both in a single Body and reconcile them with God; In his own person he killed the hostility. Later he came to bring the good news of peace, peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near at hand. Through him, both of us have in the one Spirit our way to come to the Father.
Ephesians 2:13 - 18

Let's listen now.