Standing at edge of wharf Rockport Harbor at sunrise reading psalm from Nan Merrill's Psalms For Praying
, I realize that cars coming down ramp might think I was planning to jump into the freezing water. I think this because it is always an option, others have done it, and the thinking mind thinks too much.
You should therefore cease from practice based on intellectual understanding, pursuing words and following after speech, and learn the backward step that turns your light inwardly to illuminate your self. Body and mind of themselves will drop away, and your original face will be manifest. If you want to attain suchness, you should practice suchness without delay.
For sanzen (zazen), a quiet room is suitable. Eat and drink moderately. Cast aside all involvements and cease all affairs. Do not think good or bad. Do not administer pros and cons. Cease all the movements of the conscious mind, the gauging of all thoughts and views. Have no designs on becoming a Buddha. Sanzen has nothing whatever to do with sitting or lying down.
(from, FUKANZAZENGI, by Eihei Dogen )
Saskia and her mom prepare and bake seasonal Kipferl and Linzer torte. Tom works on wiring bookshed. Cat looks down from crawlspace above kitchen.
I don't jump. I bask, instead, in the lovely rendition of psalmic verse by Nan Merrill. Sun comes up over Beauchamp point trees after announcing itself on clapboards and in windows on west side of harbor. Schooner Timberwind, covered and securely tied to pilings, is pushed by wind lifting lines from water taut to land. Coffee and muffin from Market Basket on Route One. Water and wind, dawn and sun from the mystery, creator, and nature of Being-Itself.
by David R. Slavitt
Each morning, as I confront my closet's array,
I have to admit again that the life I lead
is hardly good enough: I have not been named
ambassador to Malta; I am not on the board
of any college or large corporation; I shall not
receive a major prize today and pose
for photographers. Those suits, the shirts, the ties
are ready, but I am not, and the shoes are shined
as they wait for different occasions than I imagined
on the tailor's block, when I shopped for a dandified
future brighter than what I expect or deserve.
Even for weddings and funerals that require
a suit, I choose from the second best, reserving
that one for the dream into which I yet hope to awake.
(Poem, "Suits" by David R. Slavitt, from William Henry Harrison and Other Poems. Louisiana State University Press, 2006. From The Writer's Almanac)
I pick up my wrinkled shirts and hang them from metal clothes-tree on hangers hooked on two remaining trident prongs. My life is messy. Dust from years ago has despaired of being swiped away and deposited elsewhere. Books thick with decade dust lean against different genres with indifference. None are especial. All are abandoned.
I go to eye doctor and get completely different readout for corrective lenses. How could every number change from one town and 12 days to another? It is, or course, the season of miraculous changes.
Many hands decorated the tree yesterday. Evening practice was holy imperfection (as one woman averred). All we do is sit, walk, read, eat, and speak of what is taken place. It's just us. As we are. Becoming present.
I find the worlds of politics, sports, celebrity, punditry, experts, know-it-alls, and assorted camouflaged soldiers fighting unspecified battles under their breath -- I find all of it to be less and less interesting.
Dogen's words return:
Body and mind of themselves will drop away, and your original face will be manifest. If you want to attain suchness, you should practice suchness without delay.
Such it is.
Where we are.
Let there be.