Saturday, January 03, 2009

We ground our lives in our Catholic-Christian contemplative prayer and our Zen Buddhist meditative practice -- as well as the engaged service that flows from both of these practices and traditions. These two are not two for us. Nor are they one. They are each themselves and we visit them as themselves. They are kind to each other. They respect each other. They dwell comfortably in practice and dialogue with each other and with us.
Becoming a Buddha
There is a simple way to become a Buddha: When you refrain from unwholesome action, are not attached to birth and death, and are compassionate toward all sentient beings, respectful to seniors and kind to juniors, not excluding or desiring anything, with no designing thoughts or worries, you will be called a buddha. Do not seek anything else.
(--Zen Master Dogen, Moon in a Dewdrop, edited by Kazuaki Tanahashi)
We do not seek anything else other. We daily try try try this practice.
Reading: St. Augustine's Tractates on St. John. The Twin Commandments on Love
The Lord himself came, the Teacher of love, full of love, shortening the word upon the earth, as it was foretold that he would do. He showed that from the two precepts of love depend the whole of the Law and the prophets.
What are these two commandments? Join me, my brethren, in recollecting them. They ought to be thoroughly familiar to you and not just come into your mind when we recite them: they ought never to be blotted out from your hearts. Always and everywhere, bear in mind that you must love God and your neighbour, love "God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind; and love your neighbour as you would love yourself."
We must always ponder these words, meditate them, hold them in our minds, practise them and bring them to fruition. As far as teaching is concerned, the love of God comes first; but as far as doing is concerned, the love of our neighbour comes first. Whoever sets out to teach you these two commandments of love must not commend your neighbour to you first, and then God, but God first and then your neighbour. (--Augustine)
In front room at dawn practice dog and cat lay nose to nose between two zafus holding stillness atop.
Augustine continues:
You, on the other hand, do not yet see God, but loving your neighbour will bring you that sight. By loving your neighbour you purify your eyes so that they are ready to see God, as John clearly says: "If you do not love your brother, whom you see, how can you love God, whom you do not see?"

You are told “Love God”. If you say to me “Show me whom I should love”, what can I say except what John says? "No man has ever seen God." But you must not think yourself wholly unsuited to seeing God: "God is love, says John, and whoever dwells in love dwells in God." So love whoever is nearest to you and look inside you to see where that love is coming from: thus, as far as you are capable, you will see God.
So start to love your neighbour. "Share your bread with the hungry, bring the homeless pauper into your house. Clothe the naked, and do not despise the servants of your kin."
What will you get from doing all this? "Your light will break forth like the dawn." Your light is your God, your dawn, because he will come to you to end the night of this world — he who, himself, neither rises nor sets but is eternal.
By loving your neighbour, by having care for your neighbour, you are travelling on a journey. Where are you journeying, except to the Lord God, whom we must love with all our heart and all our soul and all our mind? We have not yet reached the Lord, but our neighbour is with us already. So support your neighbour, who is travelling with you, so that you may reach him with whom you long to dwell.
(--Augustine, from Office of Readings, Sat 3Jan09)
God and neighbor -- traveling as we do with each: not two, not one -- this is our practice.
This Saturday morning sitting, walking, reading (Lectio Divina), and offering prayer for all our brothers and sisters in union with not two, not one, but three as each in all.

Sipping coffee, opting fo(u)r union, sun slanting into this room full of open space.

We capitulate.

Friday, January 02, 2009

There's a cherry pie baking in oven.



Too much rain 
loosens trees. 
In the hills giant oaks 
fall upon their knees. 
You can touch parts 
you have no right to— 
places only birds 
should fly to.

Kay Ryan, “Crown” from Say Uncle. Copyright © 2000
Now it sits on metal counter, cooling.

Too hot to eat before bed.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Tea and English muffin, New Years tradition, following 1st dawn meditation of the year, morning sitting/walking/chanting meditation, taken with zazen Rinzai guest in Wohnkuche ('dwelling-kitchen') this +1 degree F morning, beginning again. We're usually happy to smile and bow greeting and goodbye wordlessly -- but Saskia holds to the tea tradition and we chat about Pennsylvania and Maine practice and laugh at our foolishness.
I’ve left the world far behind,
My robe is covered with moss;
A small bundle of firewood burns,
Brightening the night.

- Ryokan (1758-1831)
Bald Mountain sits in morning practice outside my window.
The Kingfisher
by Mary Oliver

The kingfisher rises out of the black wave
like a blue flower, in his beak
he carries a silver leaf. I think this is
the prettiest world--so long as you don't mind
a little dying, how could there be a day in your
whole life
that doesn't have its splash of happiness?
There are more fish than there are leaves
on a thousand trees, and anyway the kingfisher
wasn't born to think about it, or anything else.
When the wave snaps shut over his blue head, the
remains water--hunger is the only story
he has ever heard in his life that he could
I don't say he's right. Neither
do I say he's wrong. Religiously he swallows the
silver leaf
with its broken red river, and with a rough and
easy cry
I couldn't rouse out of my thoughtful body
if my life depended on it, he swings back
over the bright sea to do the same thing, to do it
(as I long to do something, anything) perfectly.
(poem, Kingfisher, by Mary Oliver)
We embark to swallow morning Eucharist of silence, word, Rockland Cafe breakfast, walking woods to beach at Birch Point State Park, and sharing bread of companionship.

Start again!

A good anthem.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What new year? Today is Wednesday. Tomorrow, Thursday. Place remains the same. Space continues to extend.
The Dalai Lama's Nobel Prize Lecture

In conclusion, let me share with you a short prayer which gives me great inspiration and determination:

For as long as space endures,
and for as long as living beings remain,
until then may I, too, abide
to dispel the misery of the world.

(--The Dalai Lama, "Nobel Peace Prize Lecture," in The Dalai Lama: A Policy of Kindness, edited by Sidney Piburn)
What place will hermitage be in? What space will practice and service occupy? Questions for an idle mind. So it is mine is.

One, two, three. With so much disparity about, I'm fo(u)r union.
The four seasons don’t ever stop to rest
The years come and the years go
The ten thousand things
Succeed themselves endlessly
But the universe itself does not die or decay
The east is bright and the west is dark
Flowers fall and flowers bloom again
Only the travelers to the Yellow Springs
Go shrouded in mystery and don’t return

- Han-shan
When there is no where to go, where is there to return from?

It's beyond me.

So, I'll sit dawn.

As soon as it and angels arrive!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Spirit of God surrounds and insinuates itself everywhere.

For this, gratitude!

For this, humble and simple awareness of love!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Replete Isness, this.

The phrase came up during conversation at hermitage. No need for something other, making object, or two. Only the fullness of this as is. Experience isn't as important as the motion of stillness excluding nothing.
We just sit in the midst of this contradiction where, although we aim, we can never perceive hitting the mark. We just sit in the midst of this contradiction that is absolutely ridiculous when we think about it with our small mind. In our zazen, it is precisely at the point where our small, foolish self remains unsatisfied, or completely bewildered, that immeasurable natural life beyond the thoughts of that self functions. It is precisely at the point where we become completely lost that life operates and the power of Buddha is actualized.
- Kosho Uchiyama (1912 -1999)
Even with eyes closed.

We have to see it first.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

What we are doing.

Is the subject.

Of meditation.
Clouds and rain
Shroud the gateless gate;
Frost and snow
Veil the winding road.
With contemplation and
Subtlety of spirit
We discover Tao
And the secret of the Way
Grows within us.

- Loy Ching-Yuen (1873-1960)
Practice this evening.

Was the subject.


What we are.