Saturday, August 01, 2009

First of August. A summer's day.
A pine fragrance
Fresh from meditation
Raise the curtain
Receive the evening's cool
Exquisite, nestled in green bamboo,
The moon, wordless
Crossing the eastern wall.

- Ts'an Liao Tzu (c. 1077)
Three women go for a sail. I go to dump with recyclables and yellow bag.

A drying day. It is August.

A new beginning.

Friday, July 31, 2009

No more need for measuring.

The Indian scholar says 'Maya' (the word for illusion in Sanskrit) means measurement.

We can look forward to a world without measure -- world without end.
Dense, soundless,
Falling through azure emptiness
Swirling clouds sing and
Dance in the soft breeze.
As the recluse hums a line
In praise of hidden places
Vagrant flakes drift in and
Stain his inkstone black.

- Tzu Lan (c 890)
We are a roomful of vagrant flakes.

There are so many people better than us. Ask them!

We have to be content with merely being here.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

What are you? What is this?

This is what you are.
Letter to a Wild Monk

Other than the birds,
Who watches over you?
Lordly peaks, your neighbors.
White head held pillowed on a stone.
Grey robe ragged, but not soiled
Chestnuts pile up on your path.
Monkeys circle where you sit.
If you ever set up another Zendo,
I swear I'll be the one who sweeps the floors.

- Kuan Hsiu (832–912)
We don't want to be this. We want to be that. That is not the issue. This is the issue.
Then let the Son of God awaken from his sleep, and opening his holy eyes, return again to bless the world he made In error it began, but it will end in the reflection of his holiness. And he will sleep no more and dream of death. Then join with me today. Your glory is the light that saves the world. Do not withhold salvation longer. Look about the world, and see the suffering there. Is not your heart willing to bring your weary brothers [& sisters] rest?
They must await your own release They stay in chains till you are free. They cannot see the mercy of the world until you find it in yourself. They suffer pain until you have denied its hold on you. They die till you accept your own eternal life. You are the holy Son [Daughter] of God Himself. Remember this, and all the world is free. Remember this, and earth and Heaven are one
(--from Lesson 191, A Course in Miracles)
The whole world stays in chains till you are free.

Remember this. Remember this.

This is what you are.

What is this?

What are you?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

For hermitage update and events, visit:


The fool, clown, and hobo. Ne'er do well, failure, and dreamer.

These templates are 1st cousin to stupidity. I love family!
Staying at Bamboo Lodge

An evening sitting under
The eaves of the pines;
At night sleeping in Bamboo Lodge;
The sky so clear you'd
Say it was due to wine
Meditation so deep,
Thought I'd gone home to the hills
But Clever can't beat Stupid
And Quick won't match
Quiet Untoiling-ness!
You just can't pave the Way
That's it, the Gate of Mystery!
- Po Chu-I (772–846)
For a moment I thought I might be respectable. The moment passes. Door to outside reopens. I step through.
A Friend’s Umbrella
by Lawrence Raab
Ralph Waldo Emerson, toward the end
of his life, found the names
of familiar objects escaping him.
He wanted to say something about a window,
or a table, or a book on a table.

But the word wasn't there,
although other words could still suggest
the shape of what he meant.
Then someone, his wife perhaps,

would understand: "Yes, window! I'm sorry,
is there a draft?" He'd nod.
She'd rise. Once a friend dropped by
to visit, shook out his umbrella
in the hall, remarked upon the rain.

Later the word umbrella
vanished and became
the thing that strangers take away.

Paper, pen, table, book:
was it possible for a man to think
without them? To know
that he was thinking? We remember
that we forget, he'd written once,
before he started to forget.

Three times he was told
that Longfellow had died.

Without the past, the present
lay around him like the sea.
Or like a ship, becalmed,
upon the sea. He smiled

to think he was the captain then,
gazing off into whiteness,
waiting for the wind to rise.

(--Poem, "A Friend's Umbrella" by Lawrence Raab, from The History of Forgetting. the Penguin Group, 2009.)
There's delight in having nothing.

To lose.

Becoming the thing that strangers take away.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What do you think you own?

Exactly; nothing.
You ask why I live
Alone in the mountain forest,
And I smile and am silent
Until even my soul grows quiet:
It lives in the other world,
One that no one owns.
The peach trees blossom.
The water continues to flow
- Li Po (701–762)
We walk to pond with paddles. We glide through calm water on Hosmer Pond. We return. Nothing other than this.

Earlier in day, sitting zazen. Later, vespers.

Dog laps water from bowl.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A man with a gun is a hard man to not obey.

Even the Dalai Lama's laughter doesn't mute the arrogance of trigger and bullet.

We've a long road of compassionate courage to traverse.
See the moon's bright blaze of light,
A shining lamp, above the world
Full glistening and hanging in vast void.
That brilliant jewel,
Its brightness, through the mist.
Some people say it waxes, wanes
Their's may but mine remains
As steady as the Mani Pearl
This light knows neither day or night.
- Shih Te (c 730)
Although I'm not holy nor ambitious enough, I think about a job assisting people to surrender and transcend.

Only prayer, only the quiet gaze of mere attention, allows entry to the inner solitude of being-itself.
I felt a funeral in my brain,
And mourners, to and fro,
Kept treading, treading, till it seemed
That sense was breaking through.

And when they all were seated,
A service like a drum
Kept beating, beating, till I thought
My mind was going numb

And then I heard them lift a box,
And creak across my soul
With those same boots of lead, again.
Then space began to toll

As all the heavens were a bell,
And being, but an ear,
And I and Silence some strange Race
Wrecked, solitary, here.

(Poem by Emily Dickinson)
The Republicans still contend we have a foreigner for president.

I go numb with disappointment.

They are the Chinese to what once was Tibet.

I pray for the, I pray for our, Dalai Lama -- someone to remind us how to laugh.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I write to my senators, congress-people, and the president.
I support H.R. 676, the single-payer bill. Please help move our health care away from the pharmaceutical and insurance choke hold. Make health care real and effective for everyone, I appeal to your sense of fairness. Thanks,
I neither understand nor accept the reluctance of the American people to share equally the resources of health care with every one of our brothers and sisters in this country.

We can do better.

We will.
When the great Chinese Zen master Ta-mei was dying, his students asked him for a final helpful word. "When it comes, don't try to avoid it; when it goes, don't run after it," he said. Just then, a squirrel chattered on the roof. "There is only this, there is nothing else," said Ta-mei, and then he died.
Can we conceive of what this is? Can this be enough for us? Is there another reality more real or more wonderful than this? To know that there is only this is to, as Hui-neng put it, "see the original nature and not become confused."
( - Francis Dojun Cook, How to Raise an Ox, Wisdom Publications, Tricycle, daily Dharma)
Today, God is the quiet fog through mountain branches.

I breathe this through and through.