Saturday, September 12, 2009

Maybe the fall of the Roman Empire is instructive. When a house no longer cares for those living there, it collapses from without. When those living there no longer care for the house, it collapses from within.

America no longer tries to hide its hate for itself.
Picking chrysanthemums at the eastern gate
I leisurely view South Mountain.
The vapors rise along the valleys,
Groups of birds fly back
Inside each sunset.
Trying to talk about it,
I have forgotten the words.

- Tao Yuan Ming (365–427)
G.K. Chesterton said, "The problem with Christianity is not that it has been tried & found wanting but that it has not been tried." I think there's a parallel with democracy in America. Capitalism and hegemony have masked themselves as democracy and shed theatrical tears at their performances. No failure is complete without blaming the vulnerable and poor for one's own failure of moral courage.
I must keep from breaking into the story by force
for if I do I will find myself with a war club in my hand
and the smoke of grief staggering toward the sun,
your nation dead beside you.

I keep walking away though it has been an eternity
and from each drop of blood
springs up sons and daughters, trees,
a mountain of sorrows, of songs.

I tell you this from the dusk of a small city in the north
not far from the birthplace of cars and industry.
Geese are returning to mate and crocuses have
broken through the frozen earth.

Soon they will come for me and I will make my stand
before the jury of destiny. Yes, I will answer in the clatter
of the new world, I have broken my addiction to war
and desire. Yes, I will reply, I have buried the dead

and made songs of the blood, the marrow.

(Poem by Joy Harjo)
Let us bury the dead and remember their longing.

It is a sad occurrence to watch a thing being destroyed.

By its own hand.

On its antipathetic throat.

Choking on self loathing.

When love would be so much more pleasing.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Two plus two is where we do not want to dwell. Stick to one. Be one place. Ground yourself.
Mr. Cogito and the Imagination

Mr. Cogito never trusted
tricks of the imagination

the piano at the top of the Alps
played false concerts for him

he didn't appreciate labyrinths
the Sphinx filled him with loathing

he lived in a house with no basement
without mirrors of dialectics

jungles of tangled images
were not his home

he would rarely soar
on the wings of metaphor
and then he fell like Icarus
into the embrace of the Great Mother

he adored tautologies
idem per idem

that a bird is a bird
slavery means slavery
a knife is a knife
death remains death

he loved
the flat horizon
a straight line
the gravity of the earth

(Poem by Zbigniew Herbert, 1924-1998)
Stay with earth.

Stay with what is in words.
In modern poetry, Herbert advocated semantic transparency. In a talk given at a conference organized by the journal Odra he said: "So not having pretensions to infallibility, but stating only my predilections, I would like to say that in contemporary poetry the poems that appeal to me the most are those in which I discern something I would call a quality of semantic transparency (a term borrowed from Husserl's logic). This semantic transparency is the characteristic of a sign consisting in this: that during the time when the sign is used, attention is directed towards the object denoted, and the sign itself does not hold the attention. The word is a window onto reality."[4]
[4] Herbert's talk at the meeting "Poet in face of the present day", organized by the "Odra" journal; print version: preface to: Zbigniew Herbert "Poezje", Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy, Warszawa 1998,[4] (--Wikipedia)
Sure it's chilly. It's September.

Still, open the window.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

This day is this day. Who do you think you are?
Spring has its hundred flowers,
Autumn its many moons.
Summer has cool winds,
Winter its snow.
If useless thoughts do not
Cloud your mind,
Each day is the best of your life.

- Wu-Men-Hui-Kai (1183-1260)
Now it is night. Who am I?

9/11 arrives. We have no idea.

Who did it?

Or have we?

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

You remain the same true person. Before the thought arrives and after it leaves you remain watching throughout.

You're free.
The water of the mind,
how clear it is!
Gazing at it,
the boundaries are invisible.
But as soon as even
a slight thought arises,
ten thousand images crowd it.
Attach to them,
and they become real.
Be carried by them,
and it will be difficult to return.
How painful to see a person
trapped in the ten-fold delusions.

- Ryokan
Reading Confucius. Harmony in individual. in town, in government, in country, in heaven. Circles rippling outward.

I watch the fear in America. Do the people fear liberalism, intelligence, or a black man?

Evening sitting. Reading about Vigilance in Dhammapada.

Happy Birthday, Mary!

Confucius said to observe the rites.

In addition we must watch the Right.

We must care for our rights.

Eh? It's a dangerous time.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Labor day in laboring. Cutting trees and limbs. Shoveling dirt. Excavator digging stone, roots, and ground, swale, as well as pushing debris back against hill in farm pit.
The Buddha said, "Elements come together and form this body. At the time of appearing, elements appear. At the time of disappearing, elements disappear. When elements appear, I do not say "I" appear. When elements disappear, I do not say "I" disappear. Past moments and future moments do not arise in sequence. Past elements and future elements are not in alignment. This is the meaning of ocean mudra samadhi."
(--Ocean Mudra Samadhi (1242), Written at the Kannon-dori Kosho Horin Monastery on the twentieth day, the fourth month, the third year of the Ninji Era (1242), as translated in Beyond Thinking : A Guide to Zen Meditation (2004) edited by Kazuaki Tanahashi)
One of the women at Sunday Evening Practice spoke about the forming of American Zen.

What would it look like?

Lugging tree stumps to farm pit I find the words, "I am doing this," to be helpful.

If "this" is all there is, and you are doing "this" then you are what is taking place.

As God is. Even if there is no God.

There is always this possibility: that there is God; or, this is what God is doing.

Let's review: What is this?


Welcome to America!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Ten of us at Sunday Evening Practice. At table we read two Zen Masters.
What is a perfect clown? A low class clown can only make people who are already happy laugh. A middle class clown can make people who are sad laugh. A high class clown can teach all people how to make each other laugh.

A high class Dharma Teacher can be a high class clown. A high class clown is already a high class Dharma Teacher. (--from Clowns & Dharma Teachers, by Zen Master Soeng Hyang, aka Bobbie Rhodes)
A man remembers gratitude for what his father provided him. We laugh at Zen Master Seung Soen's humor in a Tricycle interview about the response to mokta souund in various countries.

Zen is clear like space this moment.

Love means to learn to look at yourself
The way one looks at distant things
For you are only one thing among many.
And whoever sees that way heals his heart,
Without knowing it, from various ills—
A bird and a tree say to him: Friend.

Then he wants to use himself and things
So that they stand in the glow of ripeness.
It doesn’t matter whether he knows what he serves:
Who serves best doesn’t always understand.

(Poem, Love, by Czeslaw Milosz)
American Zen is forming. Camden Zen is finding its way. No Zen is probably where we will excel.

This is the way of the moment.