Saturday, October 31, 2009

When someone sparks and sees through the veil, that person sources and is called a founder of something
By myself I remember
Not to seek mind;
The green lamp has already illumined
My lone lamp heart.
Whether in clamor or silence,
I have a clear mirror:
It thoroughly discerns
Pure hearts among humans.
It is not something existing,
That anyone can see and know,
Nor does it not exist:
Such is the lamp of truth.
- Shiba Sonome (1664 – 1726)
We say: They're not from around here, are they?"

They are, indeed, from around here.

"Around here" is exactly where they are.

So are they known as 'saints.'

Friday, October 30, 2009

Enough about us. What can we say about life itself?
Vast and spacious, like sky and water
Merging during autumn, like snow and moon
having the same color
this field is without boundary,
beyond direction,
magnificently one entity
without edge or seam.

- Hongzhi (1091-1157)
Clocks will change. There's worry about Seasonal Affective Disorder. That and H1N1. Not to mention ordinary flu. Then there's the Yankees. So much to fret over!
Despair is marked by a desire to get rid of the self, an unwillingness to become who you fundamentally are.
Called “the Fork” as a child because of his uncanny ability to find a person’s weaknesses and stick it to them, Kierkegaard’s lapidary “Sickness Unto Death” is a study of despair, which in the Danish derives from the notion of intensified doubt. Almost as a challenge to keep out the less than earnest reader, Kierkegaard begins “Sickness” with this famous albeit slightly ironic bit of word play:
"A human being is a spirit. But what is spirit? Spirit is the self. But what is the self? The self is a relation that relates itself to itself or is the relation relating itself to itself in the relation."

(from October 28, 2009, 9:30 pm, Kierkegaard on the Couch, By Gordon Marino, New York Times, Opinion)
Who am I, fundamentally, if I am not a fundamentalist?

And I'm not.

Does that mean I am not?

Soren? Soren?

Now I am dispair-rest and depress-air.

That's the best thing about care.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The first coming of Christ is the sudden awareness of one-mindedness as experienced by a particular individual -- any individual -- whether you, or me, or Jesus, or Francis, or Dogen, or your mother, or your brother.

The second coming of Christ will be the awareness on the part of each one of us that we have the awareness of one-mindedness -- everyone -- and that there is a choice to be made.

What choice? The choice will be whether to recognize, accept, and act on the awareness of unity-consciousness, or, to opt to remain in the clutches of the illusory ego-self and to fight against the communion of creation as a singular yet particular revelation of truth, love, and service.

It will be the mythic choice of Eden.

A man of the Way comes rapping
At my brushwood gate,
Wants to discuss the essentials of Zen experience.
Don't take it wrong if this mountain monk's
Too lazy to open his mouth:
Late spring warblers singing their heart out,
A village of drifting petals.

- Jakushitsu Genko (1290-1367)
I don't know why the notion continues that what we've called the Godhead, with Trinitarian or Unitarian expression, should be considered to be other than the corpus of human existence. Even in the metaphor of Gospel lore there was a birth into humankind of the very creator of the world. God becomes human.


The dust has no time to settle.

It is doing creation's work,

becoming all the air there is,

sucking itself into the vortex,

the universe filled with powder.

The light begins to flood fields,

to bring the flowers into focus

in the dusky air that with each moment's

clearing becomes more invisible.

But now the blues darken with rain,

the whites become emphatic,

the leaves' sharp outlines the dawn.

And Adam rises from the mud,

whole, moving his feet slowly

through the clay, as it sucks and

pulls him back, not yet ready to

give him up. His legs move

and then he stands as still as stone,

exhaling what God has breathed

into him, the mud drying on his arms

as he watches himself and wonders

where he was before these arms

were his, these legs, this mud, and each

finger's evidence of particularity.

Had he been there always stirring

the mind of God, waiting for the mandate

to rise from His mesh of images,

to conform to flesh? Adam stands,

warming, thinking his way into the world.

He is the only one, symmetrical,

sufficient, the crux of matter,

the focal point. What does breathing

have to do with it, he wants to know

as he begins to think fox, lynx, otter,

mistle thrush, marmoset. Words

without contexts, names he mouths

as fast they come to him: fairy

shrimp, lark, tamarin, sturgeon.

His respiration fills with utterance,

his mind with images of skunk,

pigeon, ibex, wallaby. Trapped

in the rhythm of naming, he seeks

the spaces between syllables,

desires respite from the phonics'

tumble. The words' roll unthroats

him, makes him listen for inflections

to meet his in more than an echo.

He leans back into the cumulus

of grass and dreams images of hair,

eyes, skin, thinks when he awakens

that his dreams have made her up.

Eve knows she has been there always,

kindling his mind, teasing the hairs

on his arm. She says skitter, punt,

hedge, fleece, speckle. That words

are acts had not occurred to him.

She says jostle, dice, pepper, twine.

When she says stick, pedal, march,

he is stirred to reciprocity, sensing

rationale, antecedent, cogitation. Eve

gazes at the fading sunlight and sees

God above and through. Adam sees

the dust on fire with twilight. His fingers

seek hers. She raises his palm and with

her finger spells her love inside it.

He moves close for her interpretation.

(Poem by Jill Pelaez Baumgaertner, in The Christian Century, C. 1996 The Christian Century Foundation, C.2004, Gale Group)
I'm not wed to belief. Beliefs come and go. The reality of holiness is not dependent on statements of intellectual holdings, but on the partnering middle way, that place where everything intersects and moves through one another in a creativity of wholeness.

I hammer nails. I lay roofing tiles on boardwalk. I close up openings between roof and framing of the cabin completed (so we thought) six years ago.

Nearing midnight. Prison in AM. Saskia grounds hazelnuts for tomorrow's baking.

I would like to see, and be seen by, Christ. Christ-mind. Christ-reality.

It's only Zen that keeps faith from becoming anachronistic.

This seeing faith is unretrogressive faith.

Be perfect, (that is, make one's way through), as your heavenly Father is making 'itself' a way through.

Itself, being itself, is a way through.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Dinner/conversation with Tom and Maria last night. Read Nan Merrill's version of Psalm 71. Then from Steven Harrison's book "Being One."

We are, of course, not two.
It has been asked,
"How should those who enter the
path apply their minds?"
All things are originally uncreated
And presently undying.
Just let your mind be free;
You don't have to restrain it.
See directly and hear directly;
Come directly and go directly.
When you must go,
Then go.
When you must stay,
Then stay.
This is the true path.
A scripture says,
"Conditional existence is the site of enlightenment,
insofar as you know it as it really is."

- Niu-t'ou Hui-chung (683-769) Dailyzen
If you say, "I'm going to bed," it's best to do so.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The world isn't an illusion. What we think of and project on to the world is illusory.
While the world our mind projects is pure illusion, life itself is not.
We still must live.

(P.3, Being One, Finding Our Self in Relationship, by Steven Harrison c.1999)
You are real.

Be real.

Don't think about reality.

Be it.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Looking out from 2nd story of building-in-progress at Bald Mountain I think about the dwelling of hermits.
My hut isn't quite six feet across
Surrounded by pine, bamboos, and mountains,
An old monk hardly has room for himself
Much less for a visiting cloud.

- Shih-wu (1272-1352)

Being a hermit is a mask I wear. I speak from behind it.

When I wrote of the women in their dances and
wildness, it was a mask,
on their mountain, gold-hunting, singing, in orgy,
it was a mask; when I wrote of the god,
fragmented, exiled from himself, his life, the love gone
down with song,
it was myself, split open, unable to speak, in exile from

There is no mountain, there is no god, there is memory
of my torn life, myself split open in sleep, the rescued
beside me among the doctors, and a word
of rescue from the great eyes.

No more masks! No more mythologies!

Now, for the first time, the god lifts his hand,
the fragments join in me with their own music.

(Poem by Muriel Rukeyser)
We lay cut green shingles on boardwalk to cabin to counter morning frost sending morning feet sliding off their meditation.

Tom and Jay work the inner framing of book shed while Eric does roofing. Saskia and I pull nails, clean the cut pieces from ground, lay them on walkway to cabin. We get closer to something we cannot name.

It's not enough to be nobody. You also have to renounce being nobody. At Sunday Evening Practice we remember times in our lives when being nobody was more a chore than now. Now it is a great generosity.

Climbing Beech Hill in lovely autumn clarity this morning we decide along with silent sitting and open conversation we would continue to cultivate a cosmotheandric eco-spirituality.

Nature is the ground. God is the breath. All living beings and every moment of existence share the devotional ritual of deep respect and willing compassion.

In other words, there is no containing the mind and heart of being-in-this-world.

No church, temple, synagogue, mosque, or meeting hall can possibly approach that which is in itself the visiting cloud of ordinary life.

We are happy to be laypeople, non-experts, non-official, no-credentials, useless, outsider, nobodies.

We breathe in. We breathe out.

This breath is all there is.

This breath is all we need.

For now.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

It often strikes me I don't know how to pray. One of the students in prison during midterm mentioned atheism -- he said what others call prayer he calls surrounding what is there around you with attention.
The Spirit comes to help us in our weakness. For when we cannot choose words in order to pray properly, the Spirit himself expresses our plea in a way that could never be put into words.
('Noon reading (Sext) Romans 8:26 )
It sounds like a zen response to an incomplete koan asking, "If there is no God, what is prayer?" Derek might respond, "I am surrounded with what is; I ask no-God around me to permeate my attention with no barriers, no boundaries, and no other. I long to find what is truly there with compassionate, loving attention."
Stripped of reason my mind is blank
Emptied of being my nature is bare
At night my windows often breathe white
The moon and stream come right to the door.

- Shih-wu (1272-1352)
'God' is not some other being in some other place. God is no other being right here, attending with surrounding awareness what is revealing itself in our presence.

'God' has never been other than what God is. God ever-sounds, and if we hear, we hear: "I am and will be there as who I am shall I be there."

What is there and here, what we have tried to encapsulate with the word 'God,' is a reality surrounded by and beyond which nothing else can be said or understood.

God is not where I am. God is not where you are. (It might be rather that God is the 'where' you are, the 'where' I am. Someone said (I forget who): God is not in us, we are in God. When we exhaust trying to be where or as God is, when the effort to restrict, replicate, or replace God disintegrates -- all that remains is what is of itself as it is.

What is it of us that has to disappear? What are we cultivating that is in the way as an impediment because of which we cannot take a step? And yet, don't we want to step through?

There is nothing wrong with me or you. What impedes are the opinions, thoughts, beliefs, conditioned responses, patterned behavior, attachment to name, form, and press clippings, lack of appreciation for the ineffable metaphors of mind and heart, inability to penetrate and integrate the mystery of cohesion concretizing and constanting this very Kosmos and the beings dwelling therein.

We are not wrong. We're simply not here.

We get lost trying to control and manipulate what is being created in the surround of awareness.

There is what might be called Notyetness or Soontobeness that surrounds our being.

So as Derek wondered, and I conjoin: How to pray? Toward what direction? What for?

The Psalmist helps to begin:
Out of the depths I cry to You,... hear my voice.
Let Your ears be attentive to my voice in supplication. (Psalm 129 {130})
A moment of silence.

A beginning.