Saturday, October 10, 2009

Raimon Panikkar writes: "God is an invocation."

Saskia says, "God is being called into being. God is not a static being."

The two of them call out something evocative this morning.

God is called into being as that which is the longing for true being, a being-true beyond any wish or conception, still replete and complete with what is taking place in the fullness of Becoming Itself.
Watch film "Southbounders" (2005). About hiking the Appalachian Trail, Maine to Georgia.

Wang Wei picks up the trail thread:
Creeks and summits are brilliant at sunset.
I laze in a boat, my way in the wind's hands.
Watching wild landscapes I forget distance
and come to the water's edge.

Gazing at lovely far woods and clouds
I guess I've lost my way.
How could I know this lucid stream
would turn, leading me into mountains?

I abandon my boat, pick up a light staff
and come upon something wonderful,
four or five old monks in contemplation,
enjoying the shade of pines and cypresses.

Before the forest dawns they read Sanskrit.
The monks' nightly meditation quiets the peaks.
Here even shepherd boys know the Tao.
Woodcutters bring in world news.

They sleep at night in the woods
with incense, on mats clean as jade.
Their robes are steeped in valley fragrances;
the stone cliffs shine under a mountain moon.

I fear I will lose this refuge forever
so at daybreak I fix it in my mind.
People of Peach Tree Spring, goodbye.
I'll be back when flowers turn red.
- Wang Wei (699-759)
We work on roof of Book Shed/Library. Visitors stop by for tea. We talk about prison. Then back up to scaffold and impact drill.

Later I walk mountain as dusk draws down light on yellow leaves illuminating mud. Rokie's white coat flashes to and fro.

Nature is the great teacher. The only measurement is wind loosening leaves scattering dooryard and mountain trail.

To call out God is what humankind does with voice.

With silence is God there before any calling.

An invocation for each and all!

Watching flowers.

And leaves turn.

Friday, October 09, 2009

President Barack Obama will be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Many are surprised. That's understandable. It's hard to comprehend what is nascent.

Peace is being-born. Mr Obama knows this.

And "this" is not an easy reality to understand.
When the mind is always as clear and bright
As ten suns shining together,
Detached from views and beyond feelings,
Cutting through ephemeral illusions
Of birth and death,
This is what is meant by the saying,
"Mind itself is Buddha."

- Yuanwu
We like Mr. Obama. He seems to be a decent man. And we wish him well. There are those who do not like him. They do not wish him well. But we do.
The clouds come and go,
providing a rest for all
the moon viewers

(-Haiku by Basho, 1644-1694)
Rain this Autumn night in Maine. The cat decides indoors. There are dangerous foes for Mu-ge in these mountain environs. He has to step carefully and quietly, looking over his shoulder.

There's a silver tarp on second floor of book shed being built.

Five of us worked well together today. Then Sylvia and Ed stopped by as O'a did too . We all had soup and bread, tea and coffee.

And peanut butter cookies.


Earlier in the day, David wrote from Belfast about the ongoing hostilities in Afghanistan. He worries we are continuing a dangerous war. I write him:
In the film "Confession" (1999) one of the characters played by Ben Kingsley says, "It's not hard to do the right thing, it's hard to know what the right thing is." He goes on to say something like: But once you know what the right thing is, it's hard not to do it.

There's the expedient thing, the pragmatic thing, the political thing, and the popular thing; but what is the right thing to do?

There will not be any victory. There will be continuing deaths. The mind dithers and delays doing what is right.

What's right might be hidden just now in this question: There are ugly things in this world -- why do we think we are remotely capable of eliminating all that is ugly? The problem with the small mind is its belief that ugly and beautiful are opposites and one of them must be destroyed in order to conform to your version of the illusory opposites. Both the Taliban and the United States are stuck in that belief.

As the Zen Master says, "Put it down! Put it all down!" That belief is far too heavy, bloody, and cruel. 'Ugly' is what 'beautiful' is when it tries to destroy its illusory opposite.

Some suggest we hate ourselves in this illusion. We refuse to accept the whole of ourselves. Thus we try to destroy 'part' of ourselves. It is not a solution to call the ugly beautiful or the beautiful ugly -- for that only perpetuates the false dichotomy created by the judging mind. Rather, our task is to do something more radical, namely, to live compassionately with the whole of it -- not blaming and opposing, but acting in such a way that there is no other way but the way that is from the beginning 'itself,' 'whole,' and 'completely beyond' human reason. Some suggest that this means to 'Be kind!'

Pick up the rubble. Soothe the pain. Encourage peace. Teach truth. Bake eggs. Serve coffee. Learn to serve one another with a balanced mind. Walk the dog. Feed the cat. Love life. See death for what it is -- the unknown inevitability that transforms what we see. See love as trust in transformation.

As Thich Nhat Hanh might have written: I have blown up the Trade Towers, I have visited my grandmother, I have sipped tea and chewed peanut butter cookies, I have killed my brother, I have comforted a child who scraped his knee, I have done everything, I have done nothing, I am you, you are me. We are looking at this problem we have created. There are tears in our eyes.

I am ready to leave Afghanistan. I am leaving. I've left.

I look back.

I see.
It is a good time for the Nobel Laureate to bring to birth a new wisdom.

A vital time.

For all to see.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Doubt is cream in coffee. It lightens things. Cloaks the bitter.

Doubt slips into inquiry.
When you are deluded and full of doubt,
Even a thousand books of scripture
Are still not enough.
When you have realized understanding,
Even one word is already too much.
Zen is communicated personally,
Through mental recognition.
It is not handed on directly by written words.
- Fenyang
Inquiry asks into what is there.

Of course we are not apart from what is there.

It's just that we think we are.

God alone knows. The Way is nameless.

Therefore, know the nameless. And do nothing.

The Makita drill sends screws though wood during framing.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Not to make opposite of anything is not easy. What's easy is having no opposite. There you are!
An old man perches on White Mountain,
living among clouds and smoke and peaks.
Down below, Sanskrit prayer floods the valley.
It's raining. Petals cover the mountain.
The monk is concealed, his heart without desire,
but his name survives in his teachings.
Birds visit him, return speaking Buddhist law.
Guests depart with the habit of meditation.
All day I walk paths among the blue pines.
At twilight I seek lodging in a chamber
in the cave hidden deep in bamboos,
and hear waters plashing in the transparent dusk.
Sitting on my mat and pillow I am involved
in rose clouds of the sunset.
Am I merely a transient guest?
I will practice meditation until I cease.

- Wang Wei (699-759)
Thanks for visiting.

Don't come back.

Once here, there's nowhere to go.

Cease who?

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The film 'Samsara" (2001, directed by Pan Nalin). A sensual and spiritual reminder just how difficult the turning-around is in the quest for enlightenment.
There are a few conundrums in the film which are left open to interpretation. One is the aphorism by the old monk, "Which is better? To satisfy one thousand desires or to conquer just one?" According to me, the one desire (for religions affirming transmigration and reincarnation, i.e. Samsara, the cycle of birth and death) is the sexual instinct, the desire which leads to further and further entanglements. Sex is the primary instinct, the central act in the propagation of life.

The second is the question and the answer written on the rock by the roadside. The question is: "How does one prevent a drop of water from drying up?" And the answer, on the back of the rock, is: "By throwing it into the sea." One possible interpretation of the analogy is: The drop of water is the individual soul. Its "drying up" is its death as a separate entity. The "sea" is the worldly life, in which it finds sustenance and mixes up with other selves.

(--from blog 'Remains of the Day,'
We live in the world. This is where we work out our karma and salvation -- not in some crypt where the near-dead and really dead decompose their belief in a maze of desire.
If you memorize slogans, you are unable to make subtle adaptations according to the situation. It is not that there is no way to teach insight to learners, but once you have learned a way, it is essential that you get it to work completely. If you just stick to your teacher's school and memorize slogans, this is not enlightenment, it is a part of intellectual knowledge.
- Fayan
To work completely is to not second-guess.

My life has been lived waiting for the tossed coin to descend from the nadir of its upward flip. So much I've not done looking over my shoulder at something passing into dryness.

Maybe I won't get a sore throat.

Maybe I'll get to bed before three tonight.

Maybe the real meaning of a dizzy twirl is the falling to ground -- stopping for a while.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Sin isn't what it used to be. First of all, it doesn't arrive with pink and blue blankets. Secondly, it doesn't go away by nailing someone to a cross. Lastly, who benefits by the concept of sin?
How mysterious!
The lotus remains unstained
By its muddy roots,
Delivering shimmering
Bright jewels from common dew.
(- The Monk Henjo)
What is called 'sin' is the illusory belief in separate, isolated, and alienated existence -- the false claim that someone is better than another, that we're not equal, that our task is to subdue and dominate nature, women, animals, and those who fall into what we conveniently call 'sin.'

I'm having none of it. Not the concept. Not the belief. Not the organized congregations that pray for what is already our ground and true situation. God is not coming for us. God is emerging through the very inchoate being/reality we embody. God, if that word retains anything of the vibrance true being/reality originates, is coming through and with us.

That's just well-water talking.
'As. . . a dewdrop, a bubble, a cloud, a flash of lightning, view all created things.' Thus ends the Diamond Sutra, reminding us of irreducible impermanence. Sustainability cannot mean some kind of permanence. A waggish commentary says ‘Sustainability is a physical impossibility. But it is a very nice sentiment.’ The quest for permanence has always let us astray—whether in building stone castles, Great Walls, pyramids and tombs for pharaohs, great navies, giant cathedrals to ease us toward heaven, or cold war-scale weapons systems guaranteeing mutually assured destruction. We must live with change, like a bird on the wing, and doing so—let all the other beings live on too. Not permanence, but living in harmony with the Way.
(--Gary Snyder, Back on the Fire (Counterpoint, 2007), 70)
We persevere. We make sacrifices. We take what the tide brings in and make use of it. We thank the moon for its light.

We marvel at the fact of things. The Way of things. The Way of it all.

The quietness.

Without trying.

The stillness.

With ease.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Rokpa's 2nd birthday and St. Francis of Assisi feastday. The 6th anniversary of the dedication of the chapel/zendo.

(His birthday "cake" consisted of: triple-level ground turkey, graded carrot, graded celery, spelt-flower, garlic and parsley, cheddar cheese between layers. We had to fight off the humans. Although Sam had his own special version.)

A perfect rag-tag meetingbrook ceremony in cabin celebration feast of Francis. Dean sang, Gene and Margaret sang, Cheryl played harp and sang, Sam played harmonica, Saskia flute. O'a, Bill, Linda, Susan, and Tom there in the cabin, appreciating. Michael and Jayan, Hughie and Hugh held down the Wohnkuche. Max snoozed in car.
A soaring endlessly curving path,
every few miles we have to rest.
I look around for my friends.
They've vanished in the wooded hills.
Rain floods the pine trees
and flows hushed among the rocks.
There are silent words deep in hill water,
a long whistle over the summits.
When I look at South Mountain
the sun floats white through the mist.
A blue marsh is luminous and clear.
Green trees are heavy shadows, drifting.
When I am tired of being closed in,
suddenly I come upon a clearing,
and the mind is at peace.

- Wang Wei (699-759)
The simplicity of earth, nature, God, and humankind held and seen as one.
"Oh grant that I may feel you always in everything." (From song 'Mystery' Missa Gaia)
A good prayer!

A good day!