Saturday, November 07, 2009

No teacher. Everything teaches.
No religion. Everything holds together.
No God. Everything resounds of God.
A Buddhist Retreat Behind Broken-Mountain Temple

In the pure morning, near the old temple,
Where early sunlight points the tree-tops,
My path has wound, through a sheltered hollow
Of boughs and flowers, to a Buddhist retreat.
Here birds are alive with mountain-light,
And the mind touches peace in a pool,
And a thousand sounds are quieted
By the breathing of a temple-bell.

- Ch'ang Chien
Nothing to hold on to. Everything falls.
Only silence. Everything vibrates.
Loss and emptiness. Everything comes alive.


The artists painting Cuba from memory
or from photographs, from family stories
of the exodus, from dreams, know
their bloodlines are not clear. The work
is mongrel, neither Cuban nor American.

They paint masks, figures floating, palm
trees set on pedestals. They sculpt women
locked in birth. What they want is a particular
place. What they find is borrowed space.
In hand-colored gelatin silver prints or wood

with oil and gold leaf or oil on linen or on
masonite or on carved locust bark, they discover
new rooms, dream landscapes, regions of origin
as small as phone-booths, as expansive as cane
fields, rented, tenanted, temporary.

—Interprete mi silencio—, one says.
They are like poets scratching out their
metaphors sideways on pieces of lined paper,
crossgrain, drafting possibilities,
unsettled, undecided.

These artists ask and never receive replies,
remember without mementos, feel without touching.
They have heard of the royal palm, seventy feet tall
and seek its landscape. How odd its trunk
is almost hollow, its roots mere threads.

(Poem by Jill Peláez Baumgaertner )

Gertrude wondered where Louise had gone with the poem Gertrude wrote about her husband. Her memory isn't so good. Louise steps off the elevator with the original and the copy she made for the poetry folder in the library of the Assisted Living Facility in Camden. Gertrude was a native of Brooklyn. Me too. Park Slope and Bensonhurst. She wondered if she'd passed my on the bus going to Brooklyn College. There in the foyer outside Suzanne's office we spoke waiting for the poem to reappear. When it did she was pleased. Louise put the copy in the red folder and said goodbye. Gertrude began her walk down corridor to room. It would soon be the evening meal. We go down the stairs.

Poetry has a way of reappearing just when you thought it gone.

She is a good listener.

Friday, November 06, 2009

To ask if we believe in the Bible is to ask if we believe in the fact of humankind. Do we believe we are alive? Do we think there is a mind? And what does any of it have to do with what we call "God?"
Beginning with Abraham, the Hebrew experience has resulted in the evolutionary unfolding of the human psyche. The Bible is the living record of this development, and therefore it has maintained its validity throughout the ages, up to and including the technological age of our own time.
(from p.69, in The Structure of Biblical Myths, The Ontogenesis of the Psyche, by Heinz Westman)
Present open thought. Here everywhere all dimensions. (Not being a marijuana smoker, still, the acronym is "pot head" for the prior sentences.)

The Course in Miracles circles through this issue:
The self you made is not the Son of God. Therefore, this self does not exist at all. And anything it seems to do and think means nothing. It is neither bad nor good. It is unreal, and nothing more than that. It does not battle with the Son of God. It does not hurt him, nor attack his peace. It has not changed creation, nor reduced eternal sinlessness to sin, and love to hate. What power can this self you made possess, when it would contradict the Will of God?
Your sinlessness is guaranteed by God. Over and over this must be repeated, until it is accepted. It is true. Your sinlessness is guaranteed by God. Nothing can touch it, or change what God created as eternal. The self you made, evil and full of sin, is meaningless. Your sinlessness is guaranteed by God, and light and joy and peace abide in you.
Salvation requires the acceptance of but one thought; - you are as God created you, not what you made of yourself. Whatever evil you may think you did, you are as God created you. Whatever mistakes you made, the truth about you is unchanged. Creation is eternal and unalterable. Your sinlessness is guaranteed by God. You are and will forever be exactly as you were created. Light and joy and peace abide in you because God put them there.

(from Lesson 93, ACIM)
Let's not argue whether there is a God. Let's discuss whether you and I are here. Here and not perpetually absent. Missing. Nowhere to be found.

Westman says that Abram is told by the Lord to "Go from your country...into the land of your own becoming."(p.71)

What about you?

You want a special engraved eviction notice?

An inmate had a line in his poem today something to the effect: We are holding on even though we are already gone.

Anybody here?

Who's there?

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Too many words about God. Let's keep still. And silent.
On Going to see a Taoist Master

A dog barking and the sound of water;
Peach blossoms heavy with dew.
In these deep woods, deer can be seen;
At noon along the stream, I hear no bell.
Wild bamboo divides gray clouds;
Waterfalls hang from blue peaks.
No one knows where you’ve gone;
Disheartened, I lean against a second,
Now a third pine.

- Li Po
Like the weather: falling cold rain, darkness too soon, an empty landscape.

Maybe up is down. Or, no up, no down. Maybe, up is up, down, down. However said, there is no opposite.
Living is joy, but death can only weep. You see in death escape from what you made. But this you do not see; that you made death, and it is but illusion of an end. Death cannot be escape, because it is not life in which the problem lies. Life has no opposite, for it is God. Life and death seem to be opposites because you have decided death ends life. Forgive the world, and you will understand that everything that God created cannot have an end, and nothing He did not create is real. In this one sentence is our course explained. In this one sentence is our practicing given its one direction. And in this one sentence is the Holy Spirit's whole curriculum specified exactly as it is.

What is the peace of God? No more than this; the simple understanding that His Will is wholly without opposite. There is no thought that contradicts His Will, yet can be true. The contrast between His Will and yours but seemed to be reality. In truth there was no conflict, for His Will is yours. Now is the mighty Will of God Himself His gift to you. He does not seek to keep it for Himself. Why would you seek to keep your tiny frail imaginings apart from Him? The Will of God is one and all there is. This is your heritage. The universe beyond the sun and stars, and all the thoughts of which you can conceive, belong to you. God's peace is the condition for His Will. Attain His peace, and you remember Him.

(--from ACIM, Manual for Teachers,
God's will is wholly without opposite.

What must it be like to be all alone?



Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Election Day.

We like to think each vote counts. It does.
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)
Cedar shingling north wall of book shop/shed.

Just that.

And hopes for equality and compassion.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Men and women in harm's way in war zones deserve our support. They live in hell.

Those who start wars deserve that hell, not those they send to fight.
What is the test of truth? The Buddha offers a simple formula: Test things in terms of cause and effect. Whatever is unskillful, leading to harm and ill, should be abandoned; whatever is skillful, leading to happiness and peace, should be pursued. Apply the test of skillfulness to all teachings in all your actions. Where is this teaching taking you? Is it moving you in a direction that is wise and kind? One quick test isn’t enough, you know.

You have to keep at it, so that your sensitivity to the results of your actions grows more and more refined with practice. When you’ve done the hard work of asking these questions, then you can decide for yourself whether a teaching, or a teacher, is worth following. And at the same time, you’ve also taught yourself how to live—a learning that can bring with it joy and the energy to go even deeper.

- Larry Rosenberg, from “The Right to Ask Questions,” Tricycle, Fall 2003
Watched "Operation Homecoming" and was touched by the reality they described. Watch this film. It sobers.

It is All Soul's Day.

About war...


Sunday, November 01, 2009

Bright full moon. Older Canadian Buddhist cardiologist stumbles in to dimly lighted cabin after sitting under weigh. He plops cushion down just shy of dog center circle rug. Moonlight gave shape through shadow soon.
Right among the people coming and going
I have a place t
o stay
I shut the gate even in the daytime
And feel as though I had bought
Wo-chu the great mountain
And had it with me in town.
Never since I was born have I
Liked to argue, mouth full of blood.
My mouth is made fast to heaven and earth
So the universe is still.

- Muso Soseki (1275-1351)
At table he tells us of Catholic Bishop in Antigonish resigning then arrested for bringing child pornography into Canada. When interviewed on television the elder Buddhist said the man was probably in hell these days and there was probably a need for compassion.

The Dalai Lama said his religion is simple -- his religion is kindness.

We should drop everything and forget everything but kindness.

i would opt for religious life with such a rule.