Saturday, August 22, 2009

In prison yesterday one man wanted the new inmate to understand being Buddhist didn't mean being passive in the face of someone putting their hands on you or getting in your face.

He no longer has to beat a man beyond sense, he said, since he began his practice. Sometimes, just enough exertion to let him know where not to go. There are, I suspect, listening, expedient benefits to practice.
Make it out of clay or wood or silk
Paint it blue or green and gild it with gold
But if you think a Buddha looks like this
The Goddess of Mercy will die from laughter.
- Tao-ch’uan (12th c)
Don't worry how a Buddha looks. Don't worry how you look. Just look out. Just look in.

On cushion the other day I remember thinking that truth reveals here and now what is as it is. Truth might not cure what goes wrong in prison or in life. Truth does help me to care.
The Way Things Work

is by admitting
or opening away.
This is the simplest form
of current: Blue
moving through blue;
blue through purple;
the objects of desire
opening upon themselves
without us; the objects of faith.
The way things work
is by solution,
resistance lessened or
increased and taken
advantage of.
The way things work
is that we finally believe
they are there,
common and able
to illustrate themselves.
Wheel, kinetic flow,
rising and falling water,
ingots, levers and keys,
I believe in you,
cylinder lock, pully,
lifting tackle and
crane lift your small head--
I believe in you--
your head is the horizon to
my hand. I believe
forever in the hooks.
The way things work
is that eventually
something catches.
(--Poem by Jorie Graham)
"Is there a heaven? Do you think you will get to heaven? "-- someone asked the intern hospital chaplain.

"There is." -- she wondered thoughtfully, contemplating how to answer honestly from her own wandering faith.

For me, her response was already sounding through her in the very fact of her being there with the questioner:

I am.




With you.

Friday, August 21, 2009

I've been thinking about showing up in my life.
A recluse planned to spend the night in my shack
I unbarred the gate and faced the night sky
Beneath the fall moon he played somewhere else
All night below the pines I listened to the wind
- Chia Tao (779-843)
But I've gotten lost.

Am no


here to be


Thursday, August 20, 2009

What means should be used to allow truth to reveal itself?

Any means possible?
"Upaya," (Sanskrit for "Expedient Means"), refers to something which goes or brings you up to something (i.e., a goal). The term is often used with kaushalya, ("cleverness"); upaya-kaushalya means roughly "skill in means". Upaya-kaushalya is a concept which emphasizes that practitioners may use their own specific methods or techniques in order to cease suffering and introduce others to the dharma. The implication is that even if a technique, view, etc., is not ultimately "true" in the highest sense, it may still be an expedient practice to perform or view to hold; i.e., it may bring the practitioner closer to true realization anyway. The exercise of skill to which it refers, the ability to adapt one's message to the audience, is of enormous importance in the Pali Canon.
To make things convenient (for somebody); do (somebody) a favor". (An edited version, from Wikipedia)
An article in the New York Times tells of the aftereffects suffered by shop owners who've shot and killed those attempting to rob them. ("Storeowners Act in Self-Defense, but Scars Remain", By KAREEM FAHIM, Published: August 20, 2009). Thieving and robbery are wrong, but even doing what might be considered right in response has its consequences.

At venues where the President Obama appears, men have taken to strapping loaded holstered guns to their legs, or, sling AR57s over shoulders. Intimidation and dread are re-introduced into the public forum. They say they are exercising freedom to carry weapons for protection. It's hard to remember if such a show of freedom was done near a Bush gathering.

The world (as it is called) is a difficult and dangerous place.

Who speaks with a voice worth listening to? Who is willing to word the madness of the human psyche? Who tells us of its loving heart?

In 1128 Bernard of Clairvaux assisted at the Council of Troyes, after which the Bishop of Verdun was deposed.
There then arose against Bernard unjust reproaches and he was denounced even in Rome, as a monk who meddled with matters that did not concern him. Harmeric, on behalf of the pope, wrote Bernard a sharp letter of remonstrance. "It is not fitting" he said "that noisy and troublesome frogs should come out of their marshes to trouble the Holy See and the cardinals".
(--from the Catholic Encyclopedia, on St Bernard of Clairvaux)
Speaking truth to power is an iffy occupation. This is perhaps why citizens shout "Heil Hitler" and call officials Nazis and Communists and Death Panelists. Rhetoric runs ahead of inane characterizations. These "angry ordinary citizens" when not shilling for corporations and graft pretend to be asking questions about health care by yelling slurs tainted with innuendo. It is a side of us that is difficult to experience.

Where is the sanity of honest presence?
The Holy Instant is the interval in which the mind is still enough to hear an answer that is NOT entailed within the question asked. It offers something new and DIFFERENT from the question. How COULD it be answered if it but repeats itself. Therefore, attempt to solve NO problem in a world from which the answer has been barred. But bring the problem to the only place which holds the answer lovingly FOR you. Here are the answers which will SOLVE your problems, because they stand APART from them, and see what CAN be answered; what the QUESTION is. Within the world, the answers merely raise ANOTHER question, though they leave the first unanswered. In the holy instant, you can bring the question TO the answer, and receive the answer that was MADE for you. [sic: caps in text]
(--from A Course In Miracles, Chapter 26, section 5 "The Quiet Answer",
It is as through we are children given knives and guns and set out to play in the schoolyard. Someone is enjoying the sight of the present and looming carnage.
If you make subjective,
Personal judgments
Of past and present events,
Not having been through
The process
Of refining and purifying
Your insight,
This is like trying to do a sword
Dance without having learned
To handle a sword.

- Fayan
At mass this morning the reminder of the scriptural prayer:" Lord I am not worthy to receive you under my roof, but only say the word and my servant shall be healed." (Matt.8:8)

I wonder what the "word" is? When the holy word is spoken, presence is without barrier, beyond boundary. Is that the "holy instant?" False speech, fraught with doubt and accusation, falls away when true speech, filled with compassion and authentic inquiry, emerges whole and hospitable.

I tire of my false rhetoric.

I long for the sound of true articulation.

If we are willing to listen long and lovingly -- will not that be suitable invitation for true presence to emerge?

We will serve one another under the infinite open illimitable universe present and without end.

Who will say "So Be It"?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tom showed images of crop circles.

I think they are the earth revealing itself.
Turn your attention within;
Don’t memorize my words.
You have been turning from light to darkness
Since before you can remember,
So the roots of your subjective ideas are deep
And hard to uproot all at once.
This is why I temporarily use expedients
To take away your coarse perceptions.

- Yangshan
And we are the articulation of the earth itself.

Soon we'll be intelligent enough to hear and see what we are.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The invitatory psalm began:
God our protector, keep us in mind.
(--from Psalm 84)
It's a good prayer because we often become mindless. If, as some say, there is only One Mind, I'd prefer to reside in that unity.

It occurred to me sitting on cushion at sunrise just how easy it is to become confused. But then, thinking of the words "Be still and know that I am God" -- I formulate a four word mantra, choosing German, Sanskrit, Greek, and Japanese: Stille, Jnana, Eimai, Jitai.

The sun came gently emerging an already hot day.
The six supernormal faculties of the enlightened
Are the ability to enter the realm of form without
Being confused by form, to enter the realm of sound
Without being confused by sound,
To enter the realm of scent without being confused
By scent, to enter the realm of flavor without being
Confused by flavor, to enter the realm of feeling
Without being confused by feeling, to enter the realm
Of phenomena without being confused by phenomena.

- Linji (d. 867)
Talking with a man about drugs and drug use today I find I am asking the naive question: What is it about ordinary life/ordinary mind that is so dissatisfying so as to alter, embellish, numb, or fracture it with drugs?

Ego says: I'll tell you what you need.

Jitai (Itself, or, God) says: What you need is what you are -- you need nothing.

Sally said we like the idea of 'void' or nothing outside. But we are terrified of the 'void' or nothing within.

As attracted as I am to the political drama taking place with healthcare, it really is not interesting to watch bullying and coercion trying to pass for the voice of the common man and woman. The great lie is dressing like sheep and carrying assault weapons of rabid wolves. Some fear violence is nigh.

America is hypnotized by mindless pushers of all things "No."

It's hard to imagine which way next it will go.

And like a Dying Lady, Lean and Pale

And like a dying lady, lean and pale,
Who totters forth, wrapp'd in a gauzy veil,
Out of her chamber, led by the insane
And feeble wanderings of her fading brain,
The moon arose up in the murky East,
A white and shapeless mass--

(--Poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1792-1822)
I'll go with Silence, Knowing, I Am Being, Itself.

Monday, August 17, 2009

What do Buddhism and Christianity have in common? They must change or die.
Buddha’s Satori

For six years sitting alone
Still as a snake
In a stalk of bamboo
With no family but the ice
On the snow mountain.
One night, seeing the empty sky
Fly into pieces, he shook
The morning star awake
And kept it in his eyes.
- Muso Soseki (1275-1351)
What do families and traditions have in common? They must change or die.
I know, deprived of me,
God could not live a wink.
He must give up the ghost
if into naught I sink.

(A rhyme by the German mystic Angelus Silesius, 1624-1677, trans. by Paul Carus. c.1909)
What do you and I have in common with God?

Only God knows.

We must change. And die.

As God.


My truth.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

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Wandering between this person and that person, the mendicant bows with gratitude for this person and that person.

For everyone.
Buddha is concealed within the sentient being
If for one instant of thought we become impartial,
Then sentient beings are themselves Buddha.
In our mind itself a buddha exists,
Our own Buddha is the true Buddha.
If we do not have in ourselves the Buddha mind,
Then where are we to seek Buddha?

- Huineng
There was lobster, salads, cakes, poems, and lemon seltzer.

Their kindness.

Sweltering in the heat of the afternoon.

Our common celebration of birth.