Saturday, November 28, 2009

After you watch the film "Trouble the Waters" you come to see Hurricane Katrina as the storm that opened the window to let in the awful truth of poverty -- that poor people don't matter, are an embarrassment, and should go away, preferably to prison.

In prison today we talk about Shahadah, Salat, Zakat, Sawm, and Hajj. The statement of acknowledgment and submission to Allah; the five times of prayer daily; the charity shown and shared with one another; the fasting during the month of Ramadan; and the pilgrimage to Mecca.

Wholeness matters. Practicing and doing what we are...doing, matters. Serving all our brothers and sisters matters. Self-emptying and surrendering to the whole-beyond-ego, matters. Journeying alone-with-others to the common place of undifferentiated sacred practice, matters.

God -- at all times, with all people, the intimate transcending mere compassion beyond a limiting self -- is our practice and journey with everyone and everything that lives and breathes and has being in this world.

Poor people matter. Are instances of compassion. Belong. And prisons must dissolve.
Sitting alone in peace
Before these cliffs
The full moon is
Heaven's beacon
The ten thousand things
Are all reflections
The moon originally
Has no light
Wide open
The spirit of itself is pure
Hold fast to the void
Realize its subtle mystery
Look at the moon like this
This moon that is the heart's pivot

- Han-shan
One Imam called Allah "the compassionate and the compassionating."

To surrender to God is to allow compassion to be who and what we are.

To be asked, "Do you believe in God?" is to be asked, "Is compassion for you?"

Yea, it is.

David leaves us his Tibetan calligraphy. It encourages perseverance.

For me to be.

For us to become.

For peace to pervade.

We Persevere.


Friday, November 27, 2009

Listening to Yusuf Islam sing "Peace Train."

Listening to rain outside window.

Listening to the sound of surrender to the compassionating wholeness.

Tomorrow, several hours' class on Islam in prison.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

According to Berkeley, "esse est percipi" ("to be is to be perceived").

If not perceived, then, perhaps, not.
Wanting to go to the eastern cliff
Setting out now after
How many years
Yesterday I used the vines
To pull myself up
But halfway there
Wind and mist made
The going tough
The narrow path grabbed
At my clothes
The moss so slippery
I couldn't proceed
So I stopped right here
Beneath this cinnamon tree
Used a cloud as a pillow
And went to sleep

- Han-shan
The joy of being a hermit is being able to stop right where you are. It is Thanksgiving. Being at home is a gift. With oneself. No need to be where one is not.

If you are looking for what is not, don't.

Stop right here.

Sleep well!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Is God in us? Or, are we in God?

Such a silly question.

Everybody knows the answer.

God is God. Allah is Allah. Christ is Christ. Yahweh is Yahweh. Reality is Reality.

Now, then -- was there something you wanted to know?

Or would you rather feel what is beyond knowledge?

Or, perhaps, we might just say: "Thank You!"

You are.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Anthropologist spoke of Afghanistan at Camden Library tonight.
The moon illuminates a thousand peaks
with the brilliance of daylight,
The sound of the bell falls
on my pillow of old friend's poems;
In my thin monk's robes,
unafraid of the frost's harshness,
I rise, roll up the thin blinds,
sit in the depths of the night.

- Tesshu Tokusai (?–1366)
Nowhere is there an easy solution.

    Who makes these changes?
    I shoot an arrow right.
    It lands left.
    I ride after a deer and find myself
    chased by a hog.
    I plot to get what I want
    and end up in prison.
    I dig pits to trap others
    and fall in.

    I should be suspicious
    of what I want.

    -- Jalaluddin Rumi (Dari Poet)
Each poem tries.

To see through.

What we want.

Monday, November 23, 2009

No dogma. No apologetics. No authority.
Looking for a place to settle
Cold Mountain will do just fine
Fine wind among thick pines
The closer you listen
The better the sound
Under them a man
His hair turning white
Mumbling, mumbling
Taoist texts
He's been here ten years
Unable to return
Completely forgotten the way
By which he came.

- Han-shan
But oneself.

No other.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

There's a Tibetan word, "shenpa." It is usually translated "attachment."
Pema Chodron says it means more the energy that hooks us into our habitual patterns.

The Catholic Bishop of Rhode Island has said Patrick Kennedy is banned from receiving Holy Communion because of his public views on abortion. The bishop is full of shenpa.
The white clouds
On the mountain tops
Poke halfway into this thatched hut
I had thought too cramped
Even for myself

- Koho Kennichi (1241–1316)
At Sunday Evening Practice there were six of us, cat and dog included. Reading Pema's "The Natural Warmth of the Heart" from the Shambhala Sun Magazine issue was perfect.

Hospitality was a full house. Two conversations in prison Friday, one at Quarry Hill nursing facility, and one at hermitage made for four fine engagements. Canoeing Hosmer Pond and hiking Ragged Mountain yesterday -- climbing Beech Hill for silent sitting this morning -- we recognize and acknowledge the wonderful gifts of nature and community we are given.

Our life is like a Zen koan.
Koans are Zen riddles that you do not solve so much as step through, as through Alice's looking glass, into Mad Hatterish conundrums designed to stun rational sense and in its place induce wordless insight.
(from "Philosopher's Disease," in Shambhala Sun, November 2009, excerpted from ales of Wonder: Adventures Chasing the Divine, An Autobiography, by Huston Smith)
Compline, gong, a computer episode, and now, time for bed.

Hanging opposite commode in new frame the words of Tecumseh read by Rob McCall on Awanadjo Almanack (on WERU radio).
The Teaching of Tecumseh

Live your life that the fear of death
can never enter your heart.
Trouble no one about his religion.
Respect others in their views
and demand that they respect yours.
Love your life, perfect your life,
beautify all things in your life.
Seek to make your life long
and of service to your people.
Prepare a noble death song for the day
when you go over the great divide.
Always give a word or sign of salute when meeting
or passing a friend, or even a stranger,if in a lonely place
Show respect to all people, but grovel to none.
When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light,
for your life, for your strength.
Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living.
If you see no reason to give thanks,
the fault lies in yourself.
Touch not the poisonous firewater that makes wise ones turn to fools
and robs the spirit of its vision.
When your time comes to die, be not like those
whose hearts are filled with fear of death,
so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again
in a different way.
Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.

(Tecumseh (March 1768 – October 5, 1813) also Tecumtha or Tekamthi, was a Native American leader of the Shawnee and a large tribal confederacy that opposed the United States during Tecumseh's War and the War of 1812.
Being wordless is parallel to doing nothing. At the same time, everything speaks for itself, and nothing is left undone.

This is the way the word begins -- not with a sound, but a presenter.