Saturday, September 19, 2009

"I'm here," the character says at end of film. Je suis la! She has finally spoken her grief and action after 15 years spent in absence from everyone and her own life.

We say: Here is one -- another itself.
The eye sees it,
But no hands can take hold of it.
The moon in the stream:
This is the secret of this school.
--Shrinkage-ryu school
This is how the earth is shaped. How we are. How God is blossoming the seed bursting forth from hiding.

Soil came to be so that the shovel would have something to move.

Something changes with our thinking.

We're not two.

We're here.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The practice is stillness. Even when moving.
Wind stirs;
Waterfall sends cold sounds
Moonrise over the foothills
Shines its light on my bamboo window
Dearer with age,
These mountains ways.
If I die at the foot of this cliff,
Even my bones will be pure.
- Jakushitsu (1290–1367)
Today at prison and at nursing home, good conversations, poems, and Confucian thought.

Tonight at hermitage, continuing to read Tolle. Learning to let be.

Nearing midnight, we dedicate the brass bell donated to us by the kind woman in Cushing. We make the intention to pray for her family. The bell sits on woven creation before Buddha and under cross.

We also pray that stupidity in religion, ours and others', might pass away and be forgiven as we learn to let be with attentive awareness.

Mu-ge and Rokpa have the right no-idea.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

It's an old debate. What use the body? Why not attend to spirit alone. Mind and body are separate, aren't they?

I come down on the side of the body. As Tom said tonight, with trillions of cells comprising the human form, so miraculous and mysterious, how is it someone thinks that getting rid of ego and the body is even possible? Matter and energy will transform and transcend, but not go away.

Maria said, "The body has many needs...why is that?" Harold said years ago God enters the world through our senses and learns of it the same way. If so, stipulating the metaphor, why do we nix the body and wish it gone for some spiritual eternity?
17 Whether Pirsig thinks he is speaking to eternity is a point he is ambiguous on. Pirsig's pragmatism comes through when, after Gennie tells him that he should write down all of his thoughts about philosophy, he says, “The trouble is that essays always have to sound like God talking for eternity, and that isn't the way it ever is. People should see that it's never anything other than just one person talking from one place in time and space and circumstance.” (ZMM, p. 172) Here Pirsig directly repudiates the style of writing that traditional philosophers have generally used, but while describing the opening and closing of routes through the “mountains of the spirit” Pirsig says, “But the fact that the old routes have tended, because of language rigidity, to lose their everyday meaning and become almost closed doesn't mean that the mountain is no longer there. It's there and will be there as long as consciousness exists.” (ibid., p. 188-9)
(--footnote from Philosophologology: An Inquiry into the Study of the Love of Wisdom, by Matthew P. Kundert, August 2004, in, a forum for the discussion of Robert M Pirsig's Metaphysics of Quality.)

The rower in the dory floats above iron weather vane on cedar shingles of sun-shadow outside glass slider. He's there only early mornings. Ephemeral, yes. Impermanent, of course. Insubstantial, if you must. But -- there.

As long as consciousness exists we will see and experience. No amount of 'believing' will add or subtract what is actually part of sentient apprehension. Things are 'there' for us -- as we return the favor by acknowledgment and appreciation.

I look up to the sky while at end of driveway at edge of road. There are a lot of celestial bodies above. None of which I have imagined. With or without me, they are there.

I am willing to allow that 'God' is not what I nor anyone thinks God is.

I have no idea that contains the matter.
Chuang Tzu And The Butterfly

Chuang Tzu in dream became a butterfly,
And the butterfly became Chuang Tzu at waking.
Which was the real—the butterfly or the man ?
Who can tell the end of the endless changes of things?
The water that flows into the depth of the distant sea
Returns anon to the shallows of a transparent stream.
The man, raising melons outside the green gate of the city,
Was once the Prince of the East Hill.
So must rank and riches vanish.
You know it, still you toil and toil,—what for?
(Poem by Li Po, 701-762 / Chu / Kazakhstan)
Matter re-forms my life.

Life re-forms matter.

Form, they say, is emptiness.

So, it is, we go on.

What for?


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

On cushion this morning, circular rug with rings of circles, the silence of it.

Five phrases: no burden, no barrier, no beginning, no boundary, no bullshit.

Spacious and content,
Without confusion from
Inner thoughts of grasping,
Effectively overcome habitual behavior
And realize the self
That is not possessed by emotions.
Be broad-minded,
Whole, without relying on others.

- Hongzhi Zhengjue (1091–1157)
Five no's.

Afterwards, coffee, egg, muffin, sausage, and cantaloupe.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What do you say?

Poet Wallace Stevens in his poem, 'Evening Without Angels,' writes:
Where the voice that is in us makes a true response,
Where the voice that is great within us rises up
We wonder: What voice? We ask: Is it the voice of God? Or is it my own voice? Some ask: Are these two questions with two answers, or one with one?
The practice of true reality
Is simply to sit serenely
In silent introspection.
When you have fathomed this,
You cannot be turned around
By external causes and conditions.
This empty, wide-open mind
Is subtly and correctly

- Hongzhi Zhengjue (1091–1157)
Sometimes sorrow is our sole comfort. A diffuse sorrow. Nothing that can't fade with the end of downpour when sun comes suddenly through and day is different than it was. Still, sorrow seeps into earth even as quiet resides with fallen chipmunk prey to awkward facticity of cat's teeth.
The Changes In Santa Ynez
Through the last long weeks of summer
I waited for fall,
though you’d hardly know it,
so subtle here,
a tinge in the vineyards,
stately old tarantula crossing the road
on his way to die for love.

Now it’s come, and I’m hardly aware,
a paler blue in the sky,
the blanket I pull up
from the foot of the bed at three a.m.,
the familiar books of longing I turn to,
the rustle of leaves I’ve walked through before

(Poem by Dan Gerber, b. 1940)
On mountain trees myriad leaves quorum talking about autumn as summer takes a final lap. Like sensitive souls gathering to give heart a place to express its loving concern, the conversation is about ordinary things -- red squirrels, last night's wind, the way rain keeps wet all June. They talk of things as flutter of chickadee arrives at branch. They will become a different form of emerging earth soon enough. They do not talk much of that. What is beyond is what is within.
The holy old man [Simeon] said of the infant Jesus: "He has been established as a sign which will be contradicted." He went on to say to Mary: "And your own heart will be pierced by a sword." (--from A sermon of St Bernard, Office of Readings, on Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows)
Yesterday Cross, today Sorrows -- two days of ancient metaphor -- and we stand up again and cross over the terrain of daily life with all that accompanies. A man recently talked about traveling with anger. We were reading The Art of Just Sitting at table practice. The night became itself.

We go on with what we are, what we carry, thinking about all the misalliances and misapprehensions stuffed into rucksacks, strings loose, slung on shoulders. Jesus and Mary are touchstones. It's easier to talk of them, it seems, than our own personal and intimate experience. Over airwaves and over our shoulders is heard Jesus this Jesus that Jesus everywhere. In other circles it's Allah this Allah that Allah everywhere. Our religious references give us room to sequester ourselves off to the side while fronting argument and dispute in matters that deflect our true and troubled heart and mind.

We ofttimes use religiosity and spirituality to prop us up as if glue were a protection in autumn's transforming transition.
Evening Without Angels

the great interests of man: air and light, the joy of
having a body, the voluptuousness of looking.
—Mario Rossi

Why seraphim like lutanists arranged
Above the trees? And why the poet as
Eternal chef d'orchestre?

Air is air.
Its vacancy glitters round us everywhere.
Its sounds are not angelic syllables
But our unfashioned spirits realized
More sharply in more furious selves.

And light
That fosters seraphim and is to them
Coiffeur of haloes, fecund jeweller—
Was the sun concoct for angels or for men?
Sad men made angels of the sun, and of
The moon they made their own attendant ghosts,
Which led them back to angels, after death.

Let this be clear that we are men of sun
And men of day and never of pointed night,
Men that repeat antiquest sounds of air
In an accord of repetitions. Yet,
If we repeat, it is because the wind
Encircling us, speaks always with our speech.

Light, too, encrusts us making visible
The motions of the mind and giving form
To moodiest nothings, as, desire for day
Accomplished in the immensely flashing East,
Desire for rest, in that descending sea
Of dark, which in its very darkening
Is rest and silence spreading into sleep.

. . . Evening, when the measure skips a beat
And then another, one by one, and all
To a seething minor swiftly modulate.
Bare night is best. Bare earth is best. Bare, bare,
Except for our own houses, huddled low
Beneath the arches and their spangled air,
Beneath the rhapsodies of fire and fire,
Where the voice that is in us makes a true response,
Where the voice that is great within us rises up,
As we stand gazing at the rounded moon.

(Poem by Wallace Stevens, 1879-1955)
The voice within us -- the voice that is great within us -- is asking a new question. It asks: What am I? What are you?

From a small silence comes a quiet sound: "I am the within."

All these years the small quiet voice has been in the gently moving stillness.

It is. And we are. Le meme chose. The Itself.

What am I? I am the not-other-than voice that is gentle and great, moving and still, within and always within. This is the ne (non) plus ultra: (i.e. "Nothing further; the uttermost point; perfection.")

This is what I am. This is who we are.

All sorrow, all joy. All suffering, all healing. All uncertainty, all peace. It is here we find one another. As we are. Included. Welcomed.

Nothing other than.

As leaves on branches all along the path test the air.


Monday, September 14, 2009

And you?
What are they asking when they say, How do you feel?

When you ask accomplished teachers how they are, they always say, “Good, good, very good” — always good. Many people say that they feel dishonest saying they are good when in fact they have problems. But what we are talking about here is developing a fundamental sense of strength and well-being. Wouldn’t it be better to associate our mind with that rather than with all the fleeting emotions and physical sensations we experience throughout the say? What is the point of being honest about something so fleeting and impossible to pin down? If your well-being is so dependent upon emotions and physical sensations, you will have little opportunity to say, “I am well.” So when people ask how you are, say, “Good!”

— Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, from "Old Relationships, New Possibilities" (Tricycle, Winter 2008)
The premier tennis players finish two weeks of tournament in New York. The Argentine beat the Swiss and took home a new car and 1.8 million dollars. He's twenty years old.

On the news an actor has died. A cable network star is calling the president someone who hates white people. The elected people in congress see an advantage in disgracing their office with mute assent of the folly.

It is not easy to cheer oneself through the day. Still, things are good.

I read about someone attempting to prove there is a God because he saw lights while teetering on the verge of death. Maybe the 'out of body' experience talked about might better be characterized as an 'outer body experience.'

There is no separation.

We share the particles of our bodies and breath.

It's hard not to feel the desperation that vibrates in another's bones in ones own bones.

Even the tenderness is felt.

Who are we?

And what are we doing here?
How can we ever lose interest in life?
Spring has come again
And cherry trees bloom in the mountains.
- Ryokan (1758-1831)
Soon, Autumn.

The falling time.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The wind filled cabin tonight. It sat on each cushion not occupied. It rang bells and bamboo chimes. It walked slowly in circle with the rest of us.

Shikantaza, or, just sitting. Or just walking. Just eating. Just watching. Just lying down.

Nothing but what you are doing.
I sought Zen from temples and teachers,
Then found it along the way of Tsao His
Inside this moment forever.
When walking now, I walk Zen.
When sitting, I sit Zen.
Talking, quiet; moving, stillness,
The calm within.
- Hsuan Chyuen (655–713)
From sidewalk in front of St Francis Church in Belfast I joined my hands together and bow to Father Joe as the priest stepped out door after his last mass at the parish. He has handkerchief to his face. The people are singing final hymn. He holds up his hand gesturing to my direction saying, "Thank you Bill." (I'm surprised to hear my name.)

Things change. Nothing remains the same. Everything returns in a different version of itself.

And so, we practice being life.

Say goodbye. Say hello.

And go. Or stay.

As is asked of us.

Just this.