Friday, September 08, 2006

The dead go to ground. The living come to middle ground.

In the mountainside meditation hut,
Just a monk's robes.
And outside windows, no one.
Birds at the stream take flight.
Yellow dusk stretching half-way
Down the mountain road,
I hear cascades in love with
Kingfisher-greens gone dark.

- Meng hao-jan (689-740 C.E.)

What else but death does the wife of 58 years want for herself after her husband dies? That's what she says. She's unconvinced, it seems, by any assuring words.
Elsewhere, in a wheelchair, the husband of a deceased woman no longer feels sad for her. He is deep within his own sorrow. Those remaining alive have as mysterious a journey as do those who die.

After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man's ears. Then he spit and touched the man's tongue. He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, "Ephphatha!" (which means, "Be opened!"). At this, the man's ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.
(from Mark 7)

Be opened.

What else is left to consider?

Consider the ground between us.


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Neil Douglas-Klotz writes that light is not at war with darkness. Darkness is what we yet don't know about divine life. Light is knowing participation.

Make no mistake about it; if you do not find it now, you will repeat the same routines for myriad eons, a thousand times over again, following and picking up on objects that attract you. We are no different from Shakyamuni Buddha. Today, in your various activities, what do you lack? The spiritual light coursing through your six senses has never been interrupted. If you can see in this way, you will simply be free of burdens all your life.
- Lin Chi (d 867?)

In Genesis, God creates light and darkness.

And the light shines through darkness.

Divine mystery being infinite will not be exhausted.

Not being grasped.

Only emptied.

Serving incarnation.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

There is no outside. No inside.

Everyone holds a luminous jewel,
All embrace a precious gem;
If you do not turn your attention
Around and look within,
You will wander from home
With a hidden treasure.

- Dogen (1200-1253)

Only gift. Only treasure.

Reflecting itself.

Beautiful moon!

Herb. Sylvia --

Light for you.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Polly tells me Herb has died.

Nicholas tells me Sylvia has died.

Empty and fleeting
My years are gone
And now, quivering and frail,
I must fade away.


Outside, silence of passing life.

In here --



"If you want to know something,
go elsewhere.
If you want to un-know everything,
then sit and listen"

- Adyashanti

Monday, September 04, 2006

Passing through, slipping through -- holding nothing.

Standing outside barn looking for string with key for lock securing canoe to rack at Hosmer Pond -- a hissing sound is heard. The sky is grey and darkening. Bald Mountain has patches of fog mist alongside. Across the way it must be rain. I tell Saskia to listen. For a length of time, only the steadily growing hissing. The sound of water on leaves grows louder as finally over barn roof the first drops fall in advance of downpour. Sliding down mountain, jumping road, climbing roofline, rejoicing on green Element -- tumbling rain!

On paths where dragons and stars wander,
Halfway up to peaks, I cross a rocky pass,
Blur into blue cliffs, perpetual confusion,
Adore idleness everywhere in green vines.
Then it's ease in blossoming forests,
Lofty talk facing bamboo islands.
Far from dust, silent, empty:
This Hen's Foot Mountain
Opening that first adept to enlightenment.

- Meng hao-jan (689-740 C.E.)

We sat by Ducktrap River earlier on rocks as water took bend with carols and chants unto itself, undoing itself, letting itself go -- turning below Whitney Retreat this Labor Day. We were re-visiting site where monastic hermitage exists only in imagination -- this piece of land with 5 houses, central conference center with contiguous 7 guest rooms.

We lay on grassy terrace with Cesco watching Lincolnville ferry slow to let schooner Mary Day make way up narrows between Islesboro and mainland.

I am thinking about university course beginning Wednesday -- how consciousness and spirituality are touched by dualism. It always surprises me how antithetic thinking and black/white reasoning dominate our responses. There is always something to oppose, someone to hate, point of view to demonize. Much fear grows when twoness stares at us.

He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the assistant and sat down. And all eyes in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to speak to them, ‘This text is being fulfilled today even as you listen’. And he won the approval of all, and they were astonished by the gracious words that came from his lips They said, ‘This is Joseph’s son, surely?’
But he replied, ‘No doubt you will quote me the saying, “Physician, heal yourself” and tell me, “We have heard all that happened in Capernaum, do the same here in your own countryside”’. And he went on, ‘I tell you solemnly, no prophet is ever accepted in his own country.
‘There were many widows in Israel, I can assure you, in Elijah’s day, when heaven remained shut for three years and six months and a great famine raged throughout the land, but Elijah was not sent to any one of these: he was sent to a widow at Zarephath, a Sidonian town. And in the prophet Elisha’s time there were many lepers in Israel, but none of these was cured, except the Syrian, Naaman.’
When they heard this everyone in the synagogue was enraged. They sprang to their feet and hustled him out of the town; and they took him up to the brow of the hill their town was built on, intending to throw him down the cliff, but he slipped through the crowd and walked away.

(Luke 4:29-30)

Good trick -- slipping through! Had Jesus achieved transparency by that time?

His was unitary vision.

It's work merely being who you are.

The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.

(from Poem: "To be of use" by Marge Piercy from Circles on the Water. Alfred A. Knopf)

In chemistry there's a unitary theory:
Unitary theory (Chem.), the modern theory that the
molecules of all complete compounds are units, whose parts
are bound together in definite structure, with mutual and
reciprocal influence on each other, and are not mere
aggregations of more or less complex groups; --
distinguished from the dualistic theory.


Real work is the koan: "Who are you?" Go ahead -- open your hands -- and answer. There's no secrets; not in koans.

The Zen master Mu-nan had only one successor. His name was Shoju. After Shoju had completed his study of Zen, Mu-nan called him into his room. "I am getting old," he said, "and as far as I know, Shoju, you are the only one who will carry on this teaching. Here is a book. It has been passed down from master to master for seven generations. I have also added many points according to my understanding. The book is very valuable, and I am giving it to you to represent your successorship."

"If the book is such an important thing, you had better keep it," Shoju replied. "I received your Zen without writing and am satisfied with it as it is."
"I know that," said Mu-nan. "Even so, this work has been carried from master to master for seven generations, so you may keep it as a symbol of having received the teaching. Here."

They happened to be talking before a brazier. The instant Shoju felt the book in his hands he thrust it into the flaming coals. He had no lust for possessions. Mu-nan, who never had been angry before, yelled: "What are you doing!" Shoju shouted back: "What are you saying!"

(Source: Zen Flesh, Zen Bones) From thread:

Later down thread someone wrote: "Let he who is without sin cast the first Koan."
(by oldman, Cartoonist in Residence)

For Christians, as for non-Christians, I suppose the first Koan asks: "If we are real as one, who makes two?"

Don't answer too quickly.

The tires on wet road splash passing.

Slip through.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

We don't pass through life. Life passes through us. We must not prevent it.

Things come. Things go. No stopping. No holding

Where there is beauty, there is ugliness.
When something is right,
Something else is wrong.
Knowledge and ignorance
Depend on each other.
It has been like this since the beginning.
How could it be otherwise now?
Wanting to chuck out one
And hold onto the other
Makes for a ridiculous comedy.
You must still deal with everything
Even when you say it's wonderful.

- Ryokan (1758-1831)

What do you say? Bring it on? Get lost?

We let life pass through. Cry with those that cry. Laugh with them that laugh.

Give no advice unasked. Cheer no one up unrequested. Just listen. Just be there.

But you must do what the word tells you, and not just listen to it and deceive yourselves. (from James 1)

The word of the Still One carries with it silent instruction.

Be still.

Know I Am.


As compassionate presence, remain with life in its wholeness.