Saturday, March 21, 2009

If I gave you the words, would you write me a poem?

If you wrote me -- a poem -- I would be filled with words.
Mist and fog shroud out
the dust of the world.
Mountain and stream embellish
the place where I live.
At a time like this,
should I turn to scribbling poems,
the breeze and moon would surely
look down on me with scorn.
- Tami No Kurohito
When man was given dominion over things he was given naming rights. Things became what he said they were. This worked for a long time. We name it, we own it.

Lately though, names fail.

Hardly anything is what we say it to be. Why is that?

I'll tell you why: It's because the world is made of words, and the world is disappearing. Less to say about less and less.

Soon we'll have no names.

We'll probably turn out to be answers to unasked questions. We'll be silent gazes with nothing to answer to.

Do you love God? As yourself?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Don't make obstacle.

Follow the longing.

Don't let negativity turn desire into an obstacle of failed wholeness.
Evening View from Grass Hill

In love with mountains, I go out my gate,
Then lay aside the staff, rest on a pine root.
Autumn rivers border the broad fields,
Twilight haze parts me from the distant village.
As dew rises, the edges of the grove whiten;
Stars come out and tree tops grow blacker.
I can tell I’ve been sitting here a long time;
The dark moss already bears my print.
- Gensei (1623-1668)
There's a hidden wholeness that never disappears. Not as long as what is looking for it does not make it into an obstacle, an obstacle of objectified failure.

Failure is only failure.

No more no less.

Go ahead, allow yourself to fail.

Then recognize that there's nothing to be made of it.

So, don't make anything of it.

Return to the hidden wholeness unmade.

Conversations in prison and in shop allow what is there to be there -- sometimes with laughter.

Spring! It's spring!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tom will be 85 on Tuesday. He says his practice is the normal. Nothing fancy, certainly not esoteric, only the normal presentation of life.
How boring to sit idly on the floor,
Not meditating, not breaking through.
Look at the horses racing along
The Kamo River!
That's zazen!

- Daito (1282-1334)
People talked about miracles tonight. I thought it was ordinary human moments in life. Wonderful moments, not miracles.

Tom says his balance is off. His cane helps.

Winter ends tonight.

Saint Joseph -- give us guidance!

Open us to the everyday.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sometimes, even though you deal cards to yourself, you think the dealer is cheating you.
Simplicity is something that our
Fundamental nature inherently
Possesses. If we prepare in
Advance and nurture it within
Ourselves, then wherever we happen to
Be, whether in wealth and high rank,
Or poverty and low status,
In foreign lands, or in difficult
Circumstances, we deal with
Whatever situation we are in
By retaining our simplicity there.
It is not increased when we do great
Deeds or reduced when we are
Dwelling in obscurity.
Wherever we go, we are at peace,
Because we have found simplicity.

- Nie Bao (1487-1563)
You open, bet, then raise yourself.

You think you're bluffing.

You call.

Then fold.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A joyful Saint Patrick's Day!

The Hosting of the Sidhe

by: William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

      HE host is riding from Knocknarea
      And over the grave of Clooth-na-Bare;
      Caoilte tossing his burning hair,
      And Niamh calling Away, come away:
      Empty your heart of its mortal dream.
      The winds awaken, the leaves whirl round,
      Our cheeks are pale, our hair is unbound,
      Our breasts are heaving, our eyes are agleam,
      Our arms are waving, our lips are apart;
      And if any gaze on our rushing band,
      We come between him and the deed of his hand,
      We come between him and the hope of his heart.
      The host is rushing 'twixt night and day,
      And where is there hope or deed as fair?
      Caoilte tossing his burning hair,
      And Niamh calling Away, come away.
      "The Hosting of the Sidhe" is reprinted from The Wind Among the Reeds. W.B. Yeats. London: Elkin Mathews, 1899.
Green is now and soon to be everywhere.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The word 'this' is attractive. It stays close. It is particular. There's an immediacy about it.
If students really have the
Intention to seek to be sages,
Then they must seek to focus
Their attention on this.
This is the basis for becoming
A sage.

- Zou Shouyi (1491-1562)
If you want to know what kind of life you might best live, it is this life -- the one you have begun to live. Nothing special. Simply one foot in front of the other.
This Is All I Ask

As I approach the prime of my life
I find I have the time of my life
Learning to enjoy at my leasure
All the simple pleasure
And so I happily concede

This is all I ask
This is all I need

Beautiful girl, walk a little slower when you walk by me
Lingering sunset, stay a little longer with the lonely sea
Children everywhere, when you shoot at bad men, shoot at me
Take me to that strange enchanted land
Grownups seldom understand

Wandering rainbows, leave a bit of color for my heart to own
Stars in the sky, make my wish come true
Before the night has flown
And let the music play as long as th
ere's a song to sing
Then I will stay younger than spring
- Words and Music by Gordon Jenkins
It's not too much to ask.

There's a man comes into shop time to time. While others might tell of their skills and accomplishments, he will say he's nobody with no accomplishments, in fact, that he's probably the only one in the crowd with nothing to recommend him, someone no one recognizes. He's one of my favorite people.
I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there's a pair of us — don't tell!
They'd banish us, you know.
How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

(Poem "I'm nobody! Who are you?" by Emily Dickinson)
It's a lovely way to be.

Lost and last.

Nowhere to go.

But here.

Doing this.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Horarium for Sunday Morning: A liturgy of coffee and English muffin. Woman makes pilgrimage with Rokpa, Jane and Wallace to the wonderful land of Snow Bowl for morning exultation.

Wood sacrifices itself to old Waterford wood stove. Birds are given their daily seed. Cat wanders the premises looking for someone to devour. Resist him, ye winged communicants!

All is well.
A thousand mountains,
Wind and snow,
Stop me in my lonely tracks;
Turning my head to the western sky,
The road a dead end,
I recall the distant event of
Bodhidharma’s arrival in China
An old monkey howls from the highest peak.

- Wu Hsueh Tsu-Yuan (1226–1286)
I'll walk the four miles into town and join Jay in his quest for a suitable place to make omelets and make prolepsis of meetingbrook in a market face continuance. The sun warms. Winter is spending final week thanking mounds of snow for support given it over last three months. Winter was very successful this year: very cold, snowy, icy, and unrelenting.
I shall be standing before you there on the rock, at Horeb. You must strike the rock, and water will flow from it for the people to drink.’ This is what Moses did, in the sight of the elders of Israel. The place was named Massah and Meribah because of the grumbling of the sons of Israel and because they put the Lord to the test by saying, ‘Is the Lord with us, or not?’
(--from Exodus 17:3-7)
I like the "...or not?" What place does "not" have in the realm of presence? Buddhists smile at the question. Street slang from recent times predicated "not" at end of sardonic declarative as single word deconstruction of preceding sentiment. "I love you. Not!" Not for nothing, but perhaps it is for the balance of human preparedness that the word "not" wanders into our vocabulary at unexpected times.

These are difficult times economically. Still, we'd like to offer hospitality and warm simplicity in a place of mere contemplation, open conversation, and real service correspondence.

This should be easy, eh?

Maybe not.
Basic to a life of prayer is a childlike reverence for the immediate, concrete realities of everyday living. The wisdom of the contemplative way is to know that taking a walk, tying one's shoe, pouring boiling water into a teacup are incarnations of divine love. The universe is God's body In that it embodies the reality of his love which alone truly is and without which nothing is: You reach out and touch a single drop of water hanging from a leaf -- What are you touching really? Who is really touching it? -- the first intimations of an answer give birth to a song God sings deep within the heart. Those who hear this song know the bliss that surpasses understanding
(--from p.100, in The Awakening Call, Fostering Intimacy With God, by James Finley, 1984)
Gregg and Susan sing from their cd (Rambling Sailors) as Saskia cuts sausage, potatoes, and onions for Kraut Soup filled with sauerkraut and joy for today's Upstairs/Downstairs at the shop then Evening Practice here at hermitage.

Church is now a moveable feast of ordinary celebration. Churches, Synagogues, and Mosques have accomplished their tasks well -- readying us for a life of everydayness and gratitude for the hands and eyes and ears presenting God-in-the-world. Monasteries, Zen and Christian, have given us silence, watchfulness, listening, and wholeness of presence with stillness. Difference is no longer associated with division, wholeness embraces separation and whispers -- "Love sends no one away!" See the one you are!

What a delight to know that taking up a collection is becoming making ourselves a collection of community.

In your solitude, you are one of us.

In our practice, we are one with you.