Saturday, November 10, 2007

Stacking wood early morning, 28 degrees, back and forth across dooryard from dump-pile to palettes just outside barn. Old dog stands in middle. He meanders as I cross to and fro. Each return trip I stop to massage his back, neck, legs, ears. It is a pattern of sweet repetition. Saskia has gone to home undertaking workshop at merrymeeting. I do hospice wood stacking
When we reach the ultimate
Stillness, we joyfully become
Aware that this mind of ours
Is empty, without any things,
And extends infinitely in all
Directions. It is something
Like the eternal sky,
In which clouds and wind circulate
Without stopping or reaching an end.
It is something like the vast ocean,
Where fish and dragons undergo
Transformations without gaps
Or interruptions.
It has no inside or outside that can
Be pointed to, no motion or
Stillness that can be separated.
From ancient to modern, it all forms
A single whole.
As the saying goes, it is nowhere
And everywhere.

- Luo Hongxian (1504-1564)
It feels distinctively November. Cold wind blows north north-east. Water is dark gray in bay. Dock floats are out. Patio furniture, whisked to cedar garden before remnants of hurricane Noel last week, have been trucked by Jim out to hermitage. Everyone is somewhere else today.

Woman buys Eliade's Shamanism. Sam planes swollen screen door. Theresa readies for open house at Wellness Center. I move used classical cds to consolidation boxes. Use old box for teas, hanging it from beam by refrigerator. Count change from blue teapot and put $40 dollars rent donation coins into cash register.

I don't know much.

There is only this.

I have no idea about next or before.

Only what is between, only (as Meister Eckhart said): Life without the reason why.

Can't figure: world without end; war without end.

The joy of each stick of wood (placed and) perfectly itself.

Seems my practice.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Mind is not slowed by material substance, air resistance, or gravity. Mind is clear and unobstructed. Consciousness is faster than light.
What truth am I talking about? I am talking about truth of the ground of mind, which can enter into the ordinary and the sacred, into the pure and the polluted, into the absolute and the conventional, and yet is not the absolute, conventional, ordinary, and sacred, but is able to give names to all the absolute, conventional, ordinary, and sacred. Someone who has realized this cannot be labeled by the absolute or the conventional, by the ordinary or sacred. If you can grasp it, then use it, without labeling it any more. This is called the mystic teaching.
- Lin Chi (d 867?)
Mind enters the between of what is. Put another way, mind is what is between everything. Thus, mind is not separated from what we consider the far edges of this and that. Mind nears. And clear mind is the absolute near-side. With what we call the absolute near-side, no outside exists. No inside contrasts with what we call outside.

Only mind. Only consciousness. Only awareness.

We might be out of our mind.

Still, there is no outside of mind.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

There's no knowing.
Look at how our heads and feet
Are capped and shod without a second thought.
It is like the man who had a long beard,
But did not anguish at its length
Until one day someone asked him
How he arranged it when he went to bed.
First he put it inside, then outside the coverlet,
The whole night he spent looking for the best position.
And tossed and turned until the dawn of day.
In the end he wanted only to chop it off!
Although this fable is light and humorous,
Still it contains a much deeper meaning.
When I asked the dharma master about this,
He gave a smile and nodded his assent.

- Su Shih (1073)
There's only showing up.

Practice saying: Here I am!

Consider it a prayer.

Do so without purpose, without end.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

We think it is time to begin digging into earth back up by brook alongside stone angel.
A thousand clouds among a myriad streams
And in their midst a person at his ease.
By day he wanders through the dark green hills,
At night goes home to sleep beneath the cliffs.
Swiftly the changing seasons pass him by,
Tranquil, undefiled, no earthly ties.
Such pleasures! – and on what do they rely?
On a quiet calm, like autumn river water.
- Han shan
Oak leaves on ground. Water running strong under footbridge. Old dog slows.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

When this mind is clear and bright
And is not covered over,
Then you are not very different
From the sages.
If you allow no wavering
From this clarity, and do not
Let it change,
And do not cling to it,
And do not neglect it:
This is learning.
Just protect it all the time

- Luo Hongxian (1504-1564)
Let's count.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Terrorism is now necessary for our economy. It helps keep the dollar weak. Defense contractors are a comfortable and secure industry. Legislative branch defends the unlimited requests of the executive branch of government for war funds and power. The judicial branch has purchased a new rubber stamp.
Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t'was his intent
To blow up King and Parli'ment.

(--Part of traditional rhyme.)
Guy Fawkes Night (more commonly known as Bonfire Night and sometimes Fireworks Night) is an annual celebration on the evening of the 5th of November. It celebrates the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot of the 5th of November 1605 in which a number of Roman Catholic conspirators, including Guy Fawkes, attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament.
(--from Wikipedia)
We are allowed to torture -- but only anyone defying the Executive Branch.

We are allowed to lie -- but only if it is to promote freedom and justice.

We are allowed to pout -- after all, bad people tried to knock down every building in our favorite cities.
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?)
I'm willing to end terrorism. I'll do it right now. "I end terrorism." There, it is over for me. I will not now, nor ever in my past or future, be a terrorist.

I'll be a contemplative hermit.

And cry for civilization as I sit in silence then chant psalms or sutras.
How delightful is your dwelling-place, Lord of hosts!
My soul is weak with longing for the courts of your palace.
My heart and my body rejoice in the living God.
Even the sparrow finds itself a home,
the swallow a nest to raise her young –
in your altars, O Lord,
Lord of strength, my king and my God.
Blessed are they who dwell in your house:
they will praise you for ever.

(--from Psalm 84)
Let's say there is "God."

What would we do as God does?

Now that terrorism is not our favorite fear, will we try to return our fear to God?

God wants no fear.

What do we want?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

There's no need to tell anyone about Christ.
A man of the Way comes
rapping at my brushwood gate
and wants to discuss the
essentials of Zen experience.
Don’t take it wrong
if this mountain monk’s
too lazy to open his mouth:
late spring warblers are
singing their hearts out,
a village of drifting petals.

- Jakushitsu (1290 –1367)
Silence is the language of God.

The word you are listening for is still within you.