Saturday, October 25, 2008

Stacking wood, 4th cord, follows sitting on zafu, interspersed with kicking chewed-through soccer ball for ever hopeful Border Collie, perpetually crouched and ready,

Sitting and stacking suggest a way to practice and pray without ceasing. They involve and engage one. One at a time. One breath. One stick. One step. For Rokpa there is always and only one fetch, one run, one return.

We are invited to be the mindful and grateful servants of this one experience. Life unfolding itself.
Searching for Gathered Fragrance Temple
miles of mountains rise into clouds.
Ancient trees darken the narrow trail.
Where is that mountain temple bell?
Snowmelt crashes down on boulders,
the sun grows cold in the pines before
it drowns in the lake.
Keep your karma in good working order;
many dragons lie in wait.
- Wang Wei (701-761)
Perhaps my heart will stop. That's fine. The basement furnace starts and stops.
Attachment to the Body

180. Having accumulated suffering for no purpose
Because of my honoring and serving this body,
What use is attachment and anger
For this thing that is similar to a piece of wood?

181. Whether I am caring for my body in this way,
Or whether it is being eaten by vultures,
It has no attachment or hatred towards these things--
Why then am I so attached to it?

182. If (my body) knows no anger when derided
And no pleasure when praised,
For what reason
Am I wearing myself out like this?
(-- Shantideva, A Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life, trans. by Stephen Batchelor)
With all heart. All mind. All soul. And neighbor as self. Jesus summed it up for his interrogator. It's long odds we'll be willing to forgo our fascination with the fractured, and by allowing the whole, heal the pain of division.

If I was a betting man, I'd take these odds. Odd is regular at our shop. Odd works well coming through our door.

This self I am passing through.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Each thing is itself.
The voidness of the universe
is capable of containing all
things of various forms and shapes,
such as the sun, moon, stars,
mountains, rivers, the great earth,
springs, streams, mountain torrents,
plants, trees and woods,
good and bad people,
good and bad things,
heavens and hells,
all the great oceans.
All these are in the void.
The voidness of worldly people
is also contained in it.

- Altar Sutra
What has become dangerous in this country is the certain belief that everything is something other than what it is.
According to Richard of Saint Victor, there exist three eyes: the occulus carnis, the occulus rationis, and the occulus fidei (the eye of the body, the eye of reason, and the eye of faith). The “third eye” is the organ of the faculty that distinguishes us from other living beings by giving us access to a reality that transcends, without denying, that which captures the intelligence and the senses.
( – Raimon Panikkar)
We're coming closer to a liberating truth. The old lie is exhausted.
“The wonder of an object is that it is not a thought. A thing is first and foremost itself.”
(-- John Donahue, in Beauty)
You think?

No thing!

We transcend by not denying.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Scott said he was told: "I do only what is there, I practice the presence of God." (These were the words of a chaplain who worked with the retarded and brain injured when asked how he was able to do that work.)
Limpid ocean, clear sky,
and moon-reflecting snow;
this is the realm
without a trace of
the holy and sentient.
At the opening
of the diamond eye,
flowers of vanity fall.
The whole universe
vanishes into the realm
of extinction.

- Han-Shan Te-Ch’ing (1586)
When crucifixion was the topic at A Course in Miracles tonight, I researched from behind counter another point of view.
III. Conclusion
Taken together, the three elements of the passion narrative, the darkness that covers the land, the death of a creator figure and the tearing of the temple curtain, point towards the conclusion that the narrator saw the crucifixion as a 'chaoskampf'— one in which Jesus is apparently defeated by the forces of chaos. Alongside the death of this creator figure, one may also see in the tearing of the temple curtain at least a figurative destruction of creation. The crucifixion as depicted in the synoptic gospels therefore demonstrates the unraveling of the old created order prior to the its renewal or, better, replacement, heralded by Jesus’ resurrection. It is this theology of death, destruction and cosmic renewal (not unlike that of the Baal-Mot legend) that informs the synoptic passion narratives.

The depiction of the events surrounding the crucifixion in the Synoptic Gospels (particularly the darkness and the tearing of the temple curtain) have provoked widely varying responses from New Testament scholars. This article argues that the inclusion of these details in the narrative can be understood by reference to the 'chaoskampf' typology of the Old Testament. Here, as elsewhere in the gospels (e.g. Matt 8,23-27; Mark 4,35-41; Luke 8,22-25), Jesus is presented as a creator figure who confronts the powers of chaos. In this instance however, the powers of chaos emerge temporarily triumphant. The old creation is destroyed, paving the way for a renewal of creation with Jesus’s resurrection.

(-- from The Crucifixion as Chaoskampf: A New Reading of the Passion Narrative in the Synoptic Gospels, by Dominic RUDMAN, in Biblica 84 (2003) 102-107
When ego tries to create an alternate universe of small exclusion, something has to die to retrieve the enormity of inclusion. Chaos is entered and is shattered by wholeness. But no one knows what's to follow.

The myth is hopeful. Something arises from the devastation of chaos.

We already love one another. It simply takes practice to realize it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Not a long life.
Before I was forty I quit my job
and came to tread the way
of saints and sages.
If I come out, it’s just
because I love the hills
and streams.
My ears are clean,
my vision’s ample.
When you ponder it,
this is true happiness.
The golden girdle girds calamity;
purple robes, pain.
Are they better than my briar
cane and cap of straw?

- Chang Yang-Hao
Just life-itself.

Lived as long as it is.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

If everything is permitted, nothing must be denied.

In other words, forgiveness is the only truth, deception is illusion pretending to be real.
Your mind that each moment
shines with the light
of nondiscrimination
wherever it may be,
this is the true Samantabhadra.
Your mind that each moment
frees itself
from its shackles,
everywhere knows emancipation.
- Lin chi (d. 867)
If you've done something, own it. If you've not done something, don't pretend you did.

Be of good cheer. Samantabhadra is the embodiment or field of timeless awareness.

Don't reach out for what is not there.

You are what is here.

Engage yourself.

Encounter love.

Monday, October 20, 2008

When Lori called at dusk to remind us nine years ago her mom, my sister, died, I was surprised I'd forgotten to remember.

We sat in silence before the wood stove, a lone candle lighted. At silence's end, we chanted night prayer.
"Protect us Lord while awake, watch over us as we sleep, that awake we may keep watch with Christ, and asleep, rest in his peace."  (--Canticle, Nunc Dimittis, from Compline)
Silence continues as water boils, pasta cooks, dog and cat's food prepared, and all turns into itself as it is.

In chapel/
zendo a single candle holds the space for each and every one needing reminding through the night.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Prayer is the intuitive connective creative -- wholeness urging itself through everything feeling itself.
Growing older, I grow into the Tao
I make my home in southern mountains
and go there on a whim to wander alone.
But even in all this splendor, things remain empty.
I climb to the headwaters of the river
where clouds rise up from emptiness.
If I chance to meet another hermit in the woods,
we talk and laugh and never even think of home.

- Wang Wei

God's name is the nameless now.


Emptiness itself holds nothing.


Gives way to what is holy.