Saturday, September 30, 2006

There is artifice in this American administration.

Kuei-shan asked Yun-yen
"What is the seat of enlightenment?"
Yun-yen said,
"Freedom from artificiality."

- Kuei-shan (771-854)

It is a seat of shadows.

We need to seek atonement.

Teshuvah -- return to sender.

Friday, September 29, 2006

In "Harakiri" (1962), the Japanese film directed by Masaki Kobayashi, there is a quote by Confucius something to the effect, "If you do not know the heart of words, you do not know the heart of man."

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?)

Speaking in prison with a man this afternoon, the insight that no belief is necessary. Only vital openness to revelation of this unfolding moment is. The presentation of the One we call God -- grateful invitation and hospitality of Christ Reality.

Light is within awareness even as darkness surrounds soul.

We visit one another because there is nothing else to do.

Each visit a revelation.

Thanks for stopping.


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Listening to opinions and judgments of others. Not much helpful.

Listening to wisdom and compassion of others. Very helpful.

After awakening, it is necessary to always observe and examine yourself. When errant thoughts suddenly arise, do not go along with them at all; reduce them, until you reach the point of noncontrivance, which alone is the ultimate end. This is the ox-herding practice carried on by all illuminates after their enlightenment. Even though there is subsequent cultivation, they have already realized sudden enlightenment.
- Master Chinul (1158-1210)

At conversation this evening Jack said: "Forgiveness is letting go of judgment." We began a reading and study of A Course in Miracles.

The phrase "Being defenseless" resonates.

Opinions and judgments do not know what they are saying.

Wisdom and compassion is not-knowing itself.

Not-knowing itself is a realization of sudden forgiveness.

An enlightened person is a forgiving itself.

There is too much certainty in tight formulations in our world today.

We invite poets to open and loosen -- to embody the way through with us.

W.H. Auden said that "Poetry makes nothing happen."

By listening.

Itself forgiving.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Once, it seems, I was not here.

Look into the sphere of birthless mind!
Let dawn the enjoyment of ceaseless play!
When free of hope and fear, thatÂ?s the result.
Why speak of birth and death?
Come to the natural, unmodified state!

- Milarepa

Soon, I suspect, I won't be here.

What has changed?

If you ask me -- nothing.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Years ago at "Maybe Zen, Maybe Not" -- Tuesday Evening Conversation -- Richard asked for a recipe of how to effect change. Tonight he asked for a shopping list. Perhaps in a few years he will ask about prerequisite hunger.

For those who have no mental vigilance,
Though they may hear the teachings,
Ponder them or meditate,
With minds like seeping water
From a leaking jug,
Their learning will not settle in their memories.

- Santideva

To Richard, I'm all wet. He's right. (Maybe correct too!) We have been battling for years. Tonight we draw even; almost. He says he tips scale at one pound lighter than I do. It's a battle of morning digital readouts. We advance lighter. We encourage one another. I tell him his scale is screwy.

The Buddhist challenge to conventional Western notions of spirituality illuminates the way we set flesh and spirit at war with each other. In Buddhism there is no original sin. Although noticing how we express our sexuality can certainly lead to an awareness of right conduct, the flesh is not regarded as representing a corruption or punishment of any kind, nor as an obstacle to the attainment of enlightenment. The root of human suffering is not sin, but our confusion about ego. We suffer because we believe in the existence of an individual self. This belief splits the world into "I" and "other."
--Stephen Butterfield, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Vol. I, #4

Even if the ego is dismantled there is still the task of seeing one another through.

So it is we practice and converse.

His mother and his brothers came looking for him, but they could not get to him because of the crowd. He was told, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside and want to see you." But he said in answer, "My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and put it into practice".
-- Luke 8:19 - 21

We're listening. Trying to resonate "family." So many barriers to let fall!

Diaphanous words demand clear sight.

Tonight, as always, is a good start.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Constitution of the United States is inconvenient. Some in the current administration would rather not be inconvenienced.

Cesco and I walk Ragged. Early morning and late afternoon. I sit up beyond footbridge by brook reading about structures of consciousness. September curiosity.

Sitting in the Mountains

Rock slab seat
Legs folded
Sitting alone
Not loathing noise
Not savoring silence
The carefree clouds concur.

- Jakushitsu (1290 -- 1367)

Piece by piece day falls away. I fall away. This country falls away. It is autumn. Fall itself gives way.

There's a huge rift occurring. Those who object to the deceit promulgated as patriotic fear-raising are uncertain what to do. Their trust falls away. Their respect for men wielding mendacity falls away. It remains to be seen who will pick up the pieces of this nation once the shredding of Constitution and decency has strewn ground with blood and meaningless slips of discarded principle.

Pieces on the ground. Broken spirit, broken trust.

Poet gives word to us:
"Ring the bells that still can ring / Forget your perfect offering / There is a crack in everything / That's how the light gets in." (from "Anthem" song by Leonard Cohen)


Will light shine through to brighten darkness cast by shadowy men?


A solitude of strength.

Shine through.

Our broken heart.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Susan performs 21st day ritual of Buddhist prayer for the deceased. Rain falls. Mice hide out. Mist shields Bald. The day is silence under splashing tires passing.

This dharma is such that
It cannot be attained by groping
Or searching about.
In the realm of seeing,
Knowledge perishes.
At the moment of attaining,
Mind is surpassed.

- Dogen

Reading Joan Didion"s piece in New York Review of Books on Cheney. Not much about him to trust. Politics is the swill of the swell.

I stay close to zendo. After sunset. Light fades. Reading about Roshi Robert Kennedy SJ at table.

"There are many different expressions of Catholicism," Kennedy explains slowly, carefully. "One expression that meant a lot to me was the apophatic tradition of the Greek Fathers [contemplative priests of the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries]. The apophatic tradition is part of our Catholic tradition, even though it is not often expressed in church on Sunday. It says that God is completely ineffable, beyond all words, beyond all theology. We have domesticated God. Most Catholics need a devotional Catholicism, just as most Buddhists need a devotional Buddhism. Zen is different. Zen is the apophatic way."
(from "God Is In the Zendo" Fall 2005 in Tricycle, By Robert Hirschfield)

The world of power and wealth is a real illusion. The real world is as ineffable as is God as is Zen. The illusory world feels more real than the one that is real. Hence, we are chagrined.

"After Zen, I saw everything in a new light. Up until that time, I was trying to build a relationship with Jesus. Then, there was a shift from relationship to identity. I am Jesus! Right now! With all my limitations! It's such a radical statement within Catholicism because many Catholics follow the analogy of relationship. Not that that's wrong, or in any way inferior to identity. It's just a different approach. For me, it's not a question of knowing Christ, or loving Christ as someone outside myself. 'Who is Christ?' leads me back to the question, 'Who am I?'" With Maezumi Roshi, one of the koans he studied was "Who is the Buddha?" One day, in dokusan [a private interview with a Zen teacher] he said to Maezumi, "You are the Buddha!" Maezumi slapped him hard and said, "You too!"
"Now I wish he'd slapped me more. I'd have seen more."

(Hershfield, Tricycle)

Our identity crisis is our not recognizing our identity.

Relationship is not the answer. We are shouted at by wanting. Bodies are where want resides. Mind keeps track of wants. One task is to see through both.

Who is Christ? Who is Buddha?

Nothing to attain.

Empty yourself.