What the dharma brings us, what it teaches us, very essentially, is to be pure, authentic, and natural. The first and most important thing is pure motivation. There’s a famous story about a hermit long ago in Tibet called Geshe Ben. He was in retreat, and one day he heard that his sponsors, who were financing his retreat, were coming to visit him. So he cleaned his room, arranged the shrine very neatly, set out all the offerings perfectly, and then sat and waited for his sponsors to arrive. Suddenly, just before they arrived, he reflected on his motivation and said to himself, “What am I doing? This is all fake. I’m just hoping to create a good impression, that’s all!” He snatched a handful of ash from the stove by his side and flung it all over the shrine and the offerings. A great master called Padampa Sangye who heard about this called it “the greatest offering in the whole of Tibet.”My practice is to allow what is moving through to move through.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Friday, April 09, 2010
It was a good morning in prison. The conversation was afire with chapter 29 of the Tao Te Ching, the noble and eightfold teachings of the Buddha, and, finally, Merwin's poem, "Thanks." We managed to laugh and learn by respectful deliberation.
Believe nothing because a wise man said it.We're surrounded by our source and we surround our origin.
Believe nothing because it is generally held.
Believe nothing because it is written.
Believe nothing because it is said to be divine
Believe nothing because someone else believes it.
But believe only what you yourself judge to be true.
- The Buddha
We read Dale's aunt's poem "I Remember" about the horse sled with bells taking uncle away for winter then bringing him back from logging camp for spring. Ricky joined us between sit-ups and running the treadmill.
Prison was a kindly place today.
There is no match for the longing of minds to see through their lives.
Thursday, April 08, 2010
In seven and a half hours hiking over the last four days I have met no one and passed no one. Where have I been?
Who isn't happy when it rains during drought?I have gone missing.
Everyone washes off the dirt.
Every leaf of grass opens its eyes and dances,
Every flower drinks and is refreshed.
Farmers in raincoats are busy in the fields,
Herb-gatherers have no time to rest.
Watching this natural course of events,
I marvel at the innocence of the universe.
- Naong Haegun (1320-1376)
The innocence of the universe -- its not knowing -- seems truer each time I look. There is only walking. There is only dog running. There is only mountain.
In class last night someone asked why I watch things like the 2007 strafing killing in New Baghdad if such sights are so upsetting.
No reason. Only feeling.
Not to allow this horror to be seen is to pretend the world is a disjointed and fragmentary compilation of dissociated and unrelated shards of something broken that we cannot remember whole.
Much like our individual lives in this world.
We don't like suffering. Why should we? This is not about choosing suffering over non-suffering. This witnessing is about choosing not to live in an illusory egoic world where what happens does not happen and what does not happen does. I part company (for now) with those who insist that if you don't think about it, it does not exist -- not in itself and not in you.
by W.S Merwin
with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow for the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water looking out
in different directions.
back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you
looking up from tables we are saying thank you
in a culture up to its chin in shame
living in the stench it has chosen we are saying thank you
over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the back door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks that use us we are saying thank you
with the crooks in office with the rich and fashionable
unchanged we go on saying thank you thank you
with the animals dying around usdark though it is
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us like the earth
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
It's not that the world is what you say it is. Rather, the world is re-created with the word or words coming forth into it from and through you.
It's why we pray. Prayer is not "spin" trying to refashion a story so as to get the best interpretation from it. Prayer is the origin of reality reaching through silence and words to reveal its true nature to the seeker longing to see what is truly the core of this existence.
We pray to be the origin of the world -- not to correct the wrongs, but to be what is right as it passes through us from the invisible to the visible.
The life of prayer is listening for the intonation of the soundless. The life of prayer is looking for the materialization of the mere-breath. The life of prayer is stopping -- it is the radical cessation of all attempts to construct an alternative to what is disturbing, and an allowing of stillness to shape the contours and parameters of compassionate being with oneself and others.
What is on the other side?
What is on this side?
What is anything I do?
Perhaps it is what is longing to be authentically encountered, engaged, and energized with what is itself Encounter, Engagement, and Energy.
Once, we called this 'God.'
We call it to and through itself to be what it is within and through us. And the world. And each person, place, living-thing, and being-presence.
Each tree teaches me this. Each stone teaches me this. Each parasite and virus. Each animal. Each person. Each and every manifestation of the One-we-call-God teaches me this.
We know this.
If we become what we know...
If we actually were to be what we are...
If we find the origin of the world and dwell as this origin...
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
White Border Collie with black spots runs alongside and ahead.
Deep solitude. Expanded silence. A gliding stillness.
Illusory HermitagePiece by piece the illusory life crumbles.
My body is like an illusory flower:
No way to touch it;
The window and the moon of its six windows
Contain clear emptiness.
It looks like something
In the midst of nothingness,
But its four walls are beautiful,
I stay there for a moment.
- Naong Haegun (1320-1376)
Hard to say what reality will endure.
Only the mountain.
Only the mountain walking.
Only the mountain walking feels like prayer.
Monday, April 05, 2010
5th April 2010 10:44 EST WikiLeaks has released a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad -- including two Reuters news staff.I would rather write about light and hope and emancipation and unity and consciousness of what is beyond the veil of ignorance.
Reuters has been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success since the time of the attack. The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-site, clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded.
(Collateral Murder. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/05/wikileaks-exposes-video-o_n_525569.html)
The nature of the one Reality must be known by one's own clear spiritual perception; it cannot be known through a learned person. Similarly, the form of the moon can only be known through one's own eyes. How can it be known through others?But war with its ugliness was inserted into the mix. I stopped to look. I saw the arrogance of fear and exuberance for destruction firing death and suffering into the bodies of men and children.
Christ rises. Citizens are murdered. Cruelty is what war is.
Through the bottomless mercy of our God,Don't watch the video.
one born on high will visit us
to give light to those who walk in darkness,
who live in the shadow of death;
to lead our feet in the path of peace.
(--from Benedictus, morning prayer)
Don't think about Resurrection.
Sunday, April 04, 2010
"Come, all you who are thirsty,come to the waters;and you who have no money,come, buy and eat!Come, buy wine and milkwithout money and without cost.Why spend money on what is not bread,and your labor on what does not satisfy?Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
(from Isaiah 55)
As the rain and the snowcome down from heaven,and do not return to itwithout watering the earthand making it bud and flourish,so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,so is my word that goes out from my mouth:It will not return to me empty,but will accomplish what I desireand achieve the purpose for which I sent it.(from Isaiah 55)
That the yielding
Conquers the resistant
And the soft
Conquers the hard
Is a fact known by all people,
Yet utilized by none.
You will go out in joyand be led forth in peace;the mountains and hillswill burst into song before you,and all the trees of the fieldwill clap their hands.
(from Isaiah 55)