Saturday, October 17, 2009

It will rain after midnight. In meditation cabin, warm stove. Single candle, all three of them. One on porch. Early darkness.
Joshu's Dog
A monk asked Joshu, a Chinese Zen master: `Has a dog Buddha-nature or not?'
Joshu answered: `Mu.' [Mu is the negative symbol in Chinese, meaning `No-thing' or `Nay'.]
It might be there is an entirely distinct universe just the other side of thought. Where thought ends. Comes mere seeing.
Cherry blossoms filling the ground,
Sunset filling my eyes:
Blossoms vanished, spring old,
I feel the passing years.
When blossoms were at their finest
I neglected to call.
The blossoms did not betray me.
I betrayed the blossoms.

- Ishikawa Jozan (1583-1672)
I have often betrayed the blossoms.

I must rely on their willingness to be overlooked by a distracted passing person.

I have not called.

No invocation, no knowing God.

I know now my mistake.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Surrender, Lola said, is allowing what comes at you in life to pass through.

We were at conversation after reading Tolle.
Evening mountains veiled in somber mist;
One path entering the wooded hill:
The monk has gone off locking his pine door.
From a bamboo pipe a lonely trickle of water flows.

- Ishikawa Jozan (1583-1672)
There could be a better definition of surrender...

But, I don't know.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I know what to ask. Ask why nothing makes sense. Ask whether this world really, as some say, is illusion. Ask for an extra piece of cake. It doesn't hurt to ask.
Alone on my zazen mat
I forget the days as they pass
The wisteria has grown thick
Over the eaves of my hut
The subtle Way of Bodhidharma
I never give it a thought
Does anyone know the truth of Zen
Or what to ask about it?

- Muso Soseki (1275-1351)
Watch film "The Visitor." The hard currency of belonging yet not belonging.

Hammer my finger, strain my elbow. Just plain pain.

Here's the truth of zen: just show up and do what needs be done. No explanation. No goal. No hope of redemption or reward.

When tired, yawn. When sleeping, dream.

When awake, no dream.

Dreamless sleep; dreamless wakefulness.

There should be many questions about now!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

There's a fetching line from the film tonight: ''Lust awakens the desire to possess,'' warns the old monk. ''And that awakens the intent to murder.' (From film, ''Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring'', written, directed, and edited by Kim Ki-Duk).
Skillful Desires

All phenomena, the Buddha once said, are rooted in desire. Everything we think, say, or do—every experience—comes from desire. Even we come from desire. We were reborn into this life because of our desire to be. Consciously or not, our desires keep redefining our sense of who we are. Desire is how we take our place in the causal matrix of space and time. The only thing not rooted in desire is nirvana, for it’s the end of all phenomena and lies even beyond the Buddha’s use of the word “all.” But the path that takes you to nirvana is rooted in desire—in skillful desires. The path to liberation pushes the limits of skillful desires to see how far they can go.

(- Thanissaro Bhikkhu, Tricycle Fall 2005)
The Bodhisattva of Compassion is lifted to the summit of attentive and consoling awareness of what is taking place in the world.

In our lives.

As we repeat foolishness.

Again. And again.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Karen Armstrong et al present the video History of God. It is quite a story. Does God change? Or is our consciousness deepening?

If God is completely other, does that mean we are no other? If God is, are we?

If you forget your feelings
about things of the world,
they become enlightening teachings.
If you get emotional
about enlightening teaching,
it becomes a worldly thing.

- Muso Kokushi (1275-1351)
Canada was one walk after one hike after another walk and another hike. Mountain and cliff, stone beach and soggy marsh, sloshing shoes and majestic Fundy sandstone.

We come back exhausted and delighted.

Perhaps God will be merciful with us.

As we are merciful with one another.

The specificity of ineffability.

We cross over that which flows beyond.

Coming back through long snow squall outside Calais along Airline Drive.

Mark the date: 13th October.

Driving through snow!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

We're off to celebrate Thanksgiving with our Canadian neighbors. In Maine and the additional 49 states, Columbus Day is celebrated. Either way, we're pleased the US and Canada are taking a day to reflect on gratitude and neighborliness.
You must realize that what
is at stake here does not
reside in words and phrases:
it is like sparks from struck flint,
like the brilliance of flashing lightning.
However you mange to deal with this,
you cannot get around
losing your body and life.

- Yunmen (864-949)
We're pleased to have a country. We're pleased to have a neighboring country. Soon the borders we now so fervently protect will not be needed. We will lose the need to view ourselves so separately. Consequently -- this insight will ripple to neighborhood, states, countries, and ultimately every speck of awareness in the Cosmos. I suspect the Cosmos is waiting for us to catch up.

Until then, we visit. We build.

We bow to you in your journey.