Saturday, January 24, 2009

Most think it's an opportunity. That we'll be vacating this location in April. A change.

I like bamboo as the symbol
of constancy and simplicity.
I built my house deep within a grove.
Strike the bamboo
with a piece of brick.
Perhaps the sound could
awaken a passing Zen monk.
Some think it's the times. That it's time. For something big. Involving consciousness. Or the disaster before a shift.

I, for my part, feel it's January during a financial crisis, a cold night, a new administration following a criminal administration, and the collapse of false optimism lipsticked with bravado, bank accounts filled with deception.

I'm not sure consciousness is changing. I've a head cold. Everything is a twist top and chewable or fits into a teaspoon or is taken 4 times a day.

And, we're one day closer to closing these doors. With itchy eyes.

Friday, January 23, 2009

What if God is the Open?
– it is the Lord who speaks.
I will put my laws into their minds
and write them on their hearts.
Then I will be their God
and they shall be my people.
There will be no further need for neighbour to try to teach neighbour,
or brother to say to brother,
‘Learn to know the Lord.’
No, they will all know me,
the least no less than the greatest,
since I will forgive their iniquities
and never call their sins to mind.

(from Jeremiah 31: 33)
Would we continue to prefer the closed?


As hermits in the open (hito) we prefer the open origin itself.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

It's official. The certified letter stated that a man named Fred (one of the current owner/partners) is buying for himself the cape at the harbor we lease, wants to live upstairs, wants the downstairs too, and will convert the bookshop/bakery space into something yet to be determined. And so, at the end of April, when our lease expires, we will have to relinquish the premises after 13 lovely years.
Rain clears from the distant peaks
Dew glistens frostily.
Moonlight glazes the front of
My ivied hut among the pines.
How can I tell you how I am,
Right now?
A swollen brook gushes in the valley
Darkened by clouds.
- Daito (1282-1334)
Clearly something different will be emerging with meetingbrook.

Our original vision, boat and barn, might just find itself retrieved.

Anyone wish to buy us, or help us buy, the 44' Nauticat Schooner currently for sale in Slovenia?
It would be a dockside resource replacing the shop for hospitality, conversations, overnights, and retreat sails.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Central to the Buddha's teaching is the doctrine of anatman: "not-self." This does not deny that the notion of an "I" works in the everyday world. In fact, we need a solid, stable ego to function in society. However, "I" is not real in an ultimate sense. It is a "name": a fictional construct that bears no correspondence to what is really the case. Because of this disjunction all kinds of problems ensue.

Once our minds have constructed the notion of "I," it becomes our central reference point. We attach to it and identify with it totally. We attempt to advance what appears to be its interests, to defend it against real or apparent threats and menaces. And we look for ego-affirmation at every turn: confirmation that we exist and are valued. The Gordian Knot of preoccupations arising from all this absorbs us exclusively, at times to the point of obsession. This is, however, a narrow and constricted way of being. Though we cannot see it when caught in the convolutions of ego, there is something in us that is larger and deeper: a wholly other way of being.

(--John Snelling, Elements of Buddhism)
The bookshop/bakery will be closed today, Wednesday. There will be no Evening Conversation.  We're off doing other work. We'll be back tomorrow, Thursday. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

We go back to our lives.
The birds they sang
at the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don't dwell on what
has passed away
or what is yet to be.

(--from "Anthem" by Leonard Cohen)
Quiet re-emerges from its inner dwelling.
At clear dawn entering the ancient temple,
First sunlight shines high in the forest.
A bamboo path leads to a hidden spot,
A meditation chamber deep in the flowering trees.
The mountain light cheers the natures of the bird,
Reflections in pool void the hearts of men.
All nature’s sounds here grow silent,
All that remains are the notes of temple bells.

- Ch’ang Chien
Dog goes out. Pees. Comes in. Eats biscuit. Settles in under eave.
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in
(--refrain, Anthem)
The work, and art, are at origin.

Note: The bookshop/bakery will be opening at 4:00pm today, and will have Tuesday Evening Conversation.


As the festivities of Inauguration Day move toward noon swearing-in ceremony, there are a few thoughts that want to step out then get themselves out of the way.

Walking the golf course in Rockport this morning with Rokpa, sun glistening innumerable sparkling gems of snow-light nestled in fresh snowfall suggesting the incomprehensible vastness of space beyond galaxy, infinity beyond incalculable dizzying expanse, while earphones play Maine Public Broadcasting morning classical pieces -- "America the Beautiful" -- the following occurred to me.

Today is a beautiful day! America is a beautiful country. As the transition from one administration to another takes place the joy is palpable.

And yet, something must be acknowledged. The beauty of America is like the particular beauty of each person dwelling both herein and elsewhere. For the past 8 years the beautiful America feels like it has been in an abusive marriage, a domestic violent relationship, one where beatings, lies, infidelities to constituting promises, and turning out under constraining obedience to prostitute itself for the odd sense of revenge and ideological arrogance of fear-addicted powerful men.

That relationship comes to an end. The scars, tears, and ugly concessions that took place are about to be comforted, consoled, and mended. It is a time gone by that cannot be allowed to happen again. The beauty of individuals, like the beauty of a country -- whatever abuse they've suffered -- is not diminished by those who arrive seeing with wisdom and compassion.

This is a time for wisdom and compassion.

There. It has been said. And, for now, put on a back burner. But never to be forgotten, no matter how sincere the forgiveness -- it is not to be forgotten.

What joy there is in this day must be used to heal the individuals, herein and worldwide; heal this great land and country wherein we dwell.

Procedamus in pace! Let's go forward in peace!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Barack Obama becomes the 44th president of this country, Tuesday, 20Jan.2009. 

John O'Donohue's words prepare for it: 
For a Leader

May you have the grace and wisdom
To act kindly, learning
To distinguish between what is
Personal and what is not.

May you be hospitable to criticism.

May you never put yourself at the center of things.

May you act not from arrogance but out of service.

May you work on yourself,
Building up and refining the ways of your mind.

May those who work for you know
You see and respect them.

May you learn to cultivate the art of presence
In order to engage with those who meet you.

When someone fails or disappoints you
May the graciousness with which you engage
be their stairway to renewal and refinement.

May you treasure the gifts of the mind
Through reading and creative thinking
So that you continue as a servant of the frontier
Where the new will draw its enrichment from the old,
And you never become a functionary.

May you know the wisdom of deep listening,
The healing of wholesome words,
The encouragement of the appreciative gaze,
The decorum of held dignity,
The springtime edge of the bleak question.

May you have a mind that loves frontiers
So that you can evoke the bright fields
That lie beyond the view of the regular eye.

May you have good friends
to mirror your blind spots.

May leadership be for you
A true adventure of growth.

(--pp.151-152, Blessing, "For a Leader," by John O'Donohue, from To Bless The Space Between Us, c.2008)
It is a day for delight and gratitude.

And so it is and will be!

Please, God!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I asked God for nothing. I received nothing. I am grateful.
Some speak of ancestral emptiness
A nothing that is yet an infinity
Smallest hint of a germ of a blossom
Yet, the whole world subject to its call

Fish swim and animals leap with it
Men and women are fed and clothed by it
Strange, indeed, its transmutations
One breath swallowing up five colors

- Shih-shu (17th century)
We think we want something. We don't. What we really want is God. Nothing extraordinary.
You Must Be Present to Win --
There is a sign outside a casino in Las Vegas that says, "You must be present to win." The same is true in meditation. If we want to see the nature of our lives, we must actually be present, aware, awake. Developing samadhi [concentration] is much like polishing a lens. If we are looking to see the cells and workings of the body with a lens that has not been ground sufficiently, we will not see clearly. In order to penetrate the nature of the mind and body, we must collect and concentrate our resources and observe with a steady, silent mind. This is exactly what the Buddha did: he sat, concentrated his mind, and looked within. To become a yogi, an explorer of the heart and mind, we must develop this capacity as well.
(--Jack Kornfield, Seeking the Heart of Wisdom)
God was nothing I expected.

I looked around.





Note: This lovely snow! Shop is open. But no practice at hermitage tonight. Stay home and snug!