Saturday, March 14, 2009

Do you love God?

Yes, I love God.

Tell me about God.

I can't.

Why not?

I don't know what God is.
Do away with your old habits and start fresh.
Wash away your old opinions,
And new ideas come in

- Xue Xuan (1389-1464)
The ideas once held have dissolved. Now, there is only silence. A meditative silence full of wonder.
When Death Comes
by Mary Oliver

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measles-pox;

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth
tending as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it is over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.

(Poem, When Death Comes, from New and Selected Poems by Mary Oliver, Beacon Press)
We're not tourists. This is not a test. This is life. We're meant to live it through.

Death will come.

When it does I will go.

Through it.

Friday, March 13, 2009

In conversation we do not finish each other's sentences, we complete each other.
Today I sat before the cliffs
Sat until the mist drew off
A rambling clear stream shore
A towering green ridge crest
Cloud's dawn shadows still
Moon's night light adrift
Body free of dust
Mind without a care.

- Han shan
We do not try to communicate a truth we hold, we become the truth unfolding with our words.
Anywhere: in prayer, family, front line, hospital, brothel or prison, anywhere care comes alive, God is present.
(--from p.225, in Beauty, The Invisible Embrace, by John O'Donohue, 2004)
We do not attempt to correct someone we consider to be wrong, we long to recognize the embodiment of what is good in the moment.

There's no need to dispel the darkness of ignorance surrounding us. Better to allow the light residing at center of being to move through our hands and eyes and mouth and expand the edge of clarity a little further into the periphery of loving attention.

In prison today we were part of one of those circles widening itself beyond what might have been imagined.

A brief expanding full of gratefulness wide and round.

Remembering all our brothers and sisters.

Near and far.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

It comes down to mind. Which mind are we using?
Empty yet aware, the original light shines spontaneously; tranquil yet responsive, the great function manifests. A wooden horse neighing in the wind does not walk the steps of the present moment; a clay ox emerging from the sea plows the springtime of the eon of emptiness. Understand? Where a jade man beckons, even greater marvel is on the way back.
- Hung-chih
When things get small, go large.

When noise goes loud, get silent.

Here's a secret: there is no opposite.

God has not created us; we are the hands and feet of God's becoming ascent.

Forget the things you think you know and the beliefs you think you hold.

Return to what God is becoming.

Only that which is loving faces the way.



Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Time is convenient.
I live far off in the wild
Where moss and woods
Are thick and plants perfumed
I can see mountains rain or shine
And never hear market noise
I light a few leaves in my stove to heat tea
To patch my robe I cut off a cloud
Lifetimes seldom fill a hundred years
Why suffer for profit and fame?
- Stonehouse
Let yourself be inconvenienced.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

What are you learning?

Where would you like your learning to take you? What do you wish to learn? What will you do with it?
There's no time for confused thoughts.
Practice the meaning of single-mindedness.
Buddha isn't found by searching.
Look at the characteristic of your mind.
Generally, faith is like spring mist at first.
Be brave at the vanishing point.

- Godrakpa (1170-1249)
Students are sometimes confused, thinking they are being taught by someone else, someone called professor, or teacher. Not so. Students learn that which they discover themselves.

There's no teaching, only learning. All knowledge is self-knowledge. We share (or teach) what we don't know so as to learn what we long to know about ourselves -- small self, great self, and no self. To genuinely learn, one has to let through.
No Matter, Never Mind

The Father is the Void
The Wife       Waves  
Their child is Matter.

Matter makes it with his mother
And their child is Life,
                         a daughter.

The Daughter is the Great Mother
Who, with her father/brother Matter  
                               as her lover,

Gives birth to the Mind.
                         (Poem by Gary Snyder, in Turtle Island)
I'm only here for the show.

For the letting through.

Tell me...what do you see?

And are you happy?

Monday, March 09, 2009

So many have made us what we are.
Don't seek fame or fortune,
Glory or prosperity.
Just pass this life as is,
According to circumstances.
When the breath is gone,
Who is in charge?
After the death of the body,
There is only an empty name.
When your clothes are worn,
Repair them over and over;
When you have no food,
Work to provide.
How long can a phantom-like
Body last?
Would you increase your ignorance
For the sake of its idle concerns?

- Tung-shan
We are what many are.


For now.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Words on wabi-sabi at table practice. We redesigned winter zendo. A flurry, finished by 6pm.
The Great Person from time past
Had no fixed abode,
In famed mountains hid his traces,
Grew old amid wind and frost.
From afar,
I know your white-rock hermitage,
Hidden in a haze
Of evergreen trees.
When the moon sets,
It’s mind-watching time;
Clouds arise
In your closed eyes.
Just before dawn, temple bells
Sound from neighboring peaks;
Waterfalls hang thousands of feet
In emptiness.
Moss and lichen
Cover the cliff face;
A narrow, indistinct path
Leads to you.                                                                                                                                 - Chia Tao (779-843)
Try warm simplicity. That's what one woman said at conversation practice.

Be old, weak, and imperfect.

But, throughout, be warm.

And embrace simplicity.