Saturday, April 17, 2010

No thanks. I'm not having any.
Because struggling for riches and fame
Does not compare with leisure,
I retreated to live in the fog

And twilight for twenty-five years.
But a man of affairs visited
And offered me liquor.
My gown is wet, and I’m ashamed to look

At the green mountain.

- Suk Mumyong
Cookie, yes. Liquor, no.


I'd rather be who I am.

And you, who you are.

No special reason.
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Friday, April 16, 2010

New rug is in bookshed. Gertrude is in hospital. What is the relationship between the two? Both are facts. Both are part of our attention. Only one of them attends poetry circle at the nursing home. Only one of them has our prayers.
The morning sun shines in the lonely window.
I sit up straight, and my mind clears.
With a brush, I paint a landscape;
In a book, I study things from every age.
I have no desire to be a king;
My old broom is worth thousands
Of pounds of gold.
I'm happy to be in Imchun,
Reciting a poem, in solitude,
Away from the world
- Chunbong Manwoo (1357-?)
In Buddhist sitting practice at the prison we join the group for a brief while between conversations. At conversation Pat and JJ lay out the economic theories behind the current morass. They tutor us. We decide that, world-wide, there is going to have to be a new understanding of interdependence. Americans, especially, will have to come to terms with the  new conditions and cease the egoistic rage that longs to blame someone, anyone, for the inevitable change they will undergo.
Poem for the End of the Century
I am the dreamer who remains
when all the dreams are gone,
scattered by the millennial winds
and sacked by the roadside.

The solar clock hand stopped:
confusion and fury on the street
-- so much idle paper
shredded and tossed aside.

The small, dim shops of the tourist
trade are shuttered and locked ...
Nightfall, and the buyer turns away.

One more stolen fortune spent:
another century gone
with its fits and desolations --
I leave my house to the creditor wind.

Tell me if you know my name,
whose face I wear, whose stored-up
anger fades to a tentative smile.

I am the one who touches fire,
who rakes the leaves to watch them burn,
and who says once more to himself
on this calm evening of earth:

Awake! The stars are out,
mist is on the water,
and tomorrow the sun will return.

(Poem by John Haines)

The difficulty with self-help books is they presume there is a self to help. This is a major untested assumption. 

Is there something needing help? Yes.

God needs help. God is selfless. 

What to do?

Here's a possibility: Help God help us.

Don't worry about your self.

Help each revere each.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Jack and Suse, Kali and Rosie, Michael and Sue, Judith and Bill read the varied verses selected from The Course in Miracles. One of them was:
A teacher of God is anyone who chooses to be one. His qualifications consist solely in this; somehow, somewhere he has made a deliberate choice in which he did not see his interests as apart from someone else's. Once he has done that, his road is established and his direction is sure. A light has entered the darkness. It may be a single light, but that is enough. He has entered an agreement with God even if he does not yet believe in Him. He has become a bringer of salvation. He has become a teacher of God.

There is concern about the swelling of right-wing groups. Guns, explosives, fiery rhetoric, and over-the-top name calling grow themselves in rallies, cable stations, and celebrity pay-fests. I worry the game some politicians play with the emotions of large crowds grows dangerous.

My zen hut leans at the summit

Clouds sail back and forth

A waterfall hangs in front

A mountain ridge crests in back

On a rock wall I sketched three buddhas

For incense there's a plum branch in a jar

The fields below might be level

But can't match a mountain home free of dust

- Stonehouse
Who teaches what God is teaches God to be as God should be.

I'm skeptical.

God is God. Not an old man, not a right wing or left wing savior, and not something out there judging and damning and rewarding.

God is, only, and merely, God. That's all God is.

That is: All -- God Is.

A deliberate choice not to see your interests as apart from someone else's.

The frozen pizza cooking in oven sends fragrance this way. Woman and dog wend their way home from away.

Today, in the confusion of new moon mind, I teach God the gratitude of the onliness and mereness of God.

Choose to be one.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

There's no antidote to being human. We've got to go through it. All the difference of opinion. All the striving for fame and power, money and more money.

One news item said the Sarah Palin has taken in 15 million dollars since resigning as governer of Alaska. Smart move.

Here, just picking up remnants of cedar shingles and packing them into tubs for kindling. Being human is an uncertain adventure.
Zen meditation should be done in good faith.
Study hard, driving yourself farther.
When your doubt is ground into powder,
Mud cows will plough the field of pre-creation.
- Naong Haegun (1320-1376)
Progresso chicken soup in wooden bowl, garlic bread, and water from glass jar. I watch film on computer. Today is enough for today.
This morning
two mockingbirds
in the green field
were spinning and tossing
the white ribbons
of their songs
into the air.
I had nothing
better to do
than listen.
I mean this
In Greece,
a long time ago,
an old couple
opened their door
to two strangers
who were,
it soon appeared,
not men at all,
but gods.
It is my favorite story--
how the old couple
had almost nothing to give
but their willingness
to be attentive--
but for this alone
the gods loved them
and blessed them--
when they rose
out of their mortal bodies,
like a million particles of water
from a fountain,
the light
swept into all the corners
of the cottage,
and the old couple,
shaken with understanding,
bowed down--
but still they asked for nothing
but the difficult life
which they had already.
And the gods smiled, as they vanished,
clapping their great wings.
Wherever it was
I was supposed to be
this morning--
whatever it was I said
I would be doing--
I was standing
at the edge of the field--
I was hurrying
through my own soul,
opening its dark doors--
I was leaning out;
I was listening
(Poem by Mary Oliver)

Keep watch.

I'm not very smart.

Still, I try to make my way through.

Monday, April 12, 2010

If Islamic Law male fundamentalists would give up stoning women to death, and Roman Catholic clergy pedophiles and their paternal protectors would cease their behavior, then God might emerge from the back alley where he cries with sorrowful shame at such cruel and obscene actions.

But to personify God in this anthropomorphic way is itself a disservice. There is no such personified God.

'God' is the way life longs for compassion and love.

Shadow behavior is the failure of human beings to be Godly. Projecting rather than protecting, judging rather than recognizing, controlling rather than surrendering.
The entire place is brightly
Illuminated and spiritually
Totally unobstructed
And clearly manifesting
Responsive interaction
Like box and lid or arrowpoints meeting.

- Hongzhi Zhengjue (1091–1157)
We've misunderstood 'fitness.' We think it means exercise and proper diet. Rather, fitness is the arrows lining up, doing the right thing, not forcing misalignment into expedient attack. What's wrong will still sound wrong no matter how smoothly it is spun and spun.

There's talk these days about being an unaffiliated Buddhist or an unaffiliated Christian. There is less confidence among practitioners of contemporary spirituality for aligning with fixed systems or subscribed belief.

Miscreant systems, structures, and sycophants have committed patricide in the name of worshipful sacrifice.

We are nobody's son.


One of the most beloved of all Japanese divinities, Jizo works to ease the suffering and shorten the sentence of those serving time in hell, to deliver the faithful into Amida's western paradise (where inhabitants are no longer trapped in the six states of desire and karmic rebirth), and to answer the prayers of the living for health, success, children, and all manner of petitions. In modern Japan, Jizo is a savior par excellence, a friend to all, never frightening even to children, and his/her many manifestations -- often cute and cartoon-like in contemporary times -- incorporate Taoist, Buddhist, and Shinto elements.

Jizō is a Bodhisattva (Jp. Bosatsu), one who achieves enlightenment but postpones Buddhahood until all can be saved. Jizo is often translated as Womb of the Earth, for JI means earth, while ZO means womb. But ZO can also be translated with equal correctness as “store house” or “repository of treasure” -- thus Jizo is often translated as Earth Store or Earth Treasury. Jizo embodies supreme spiritual optimism, compassion, and universal salvation, all hallmarks of Mahayana Buddhism.


Merely orphaned.

Paternally bereft.

Earth-womb prayerful.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Bob suggested it be called "BLB." Those were the letters of the first names of the three people sipping tea and eating peanut butter cookies talking about the dissolution of the Roman Catholic Church, the heartlessness of capitalism, and the need for more cookies.

Between bites we decided to found something between the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant Churches. It would be Catholic without the traditional Roman, male, hierarchical structure. And it would be Protestant without the multitudinous denominational varieties.

Catholics who'd fallen away could fall back into the ready elemental symbols of water, fire, breath, earth, seeing, and hearing - all with aesthetic luminosity. Protestants weary of whatever Protestants are weary of can choose personal invigoration without being against anything or defining oneself as not being something else.

At the center of this church is the wholeness of what is here.
At the center of this church is the wholeness of what is here.
At the center of this church is the wholeness of what is here.

(Are you concerned that no name has been mentioned? Perhaps No-Name need be for what or who or how what is here is what is here. What do you usually call it? Do you call it Christ? Do you call it Jesus? Do you call it Buddha? Do you call it Ha Shem? Do you call it Ram? Do you call it El Shaddai? Do you call it Allah? Do you call it Kami? Do you call it Tao? Do you call it Brahman? Vishnu? Shiva? Do you call it No-God? Do you call it Shunyata? Do you call it Gaia? Do you call it Cosmos, Theos, Anthropos? Do you shudder in silence and awe at the immense unknowability of the centric reality of everything that lives and breathes and has its being?)

In this church you can call it what you will. When you call it, when you speak it -- please do it with service and reverence for each name and each person calling each name.

Maybe we'll call it The Church of Integral Cosmotheandric Ecospirituality. If that's too inconvenient, something one-worded, like Ciao, or Servus. Maybe, Meetingbrook. (The last suggested title is wonderfully unknown but self-explanatory.)

Like God, this church would have no edges, only unlimited centers. The structure would be null. There would be no rules or dogmas, only cups for tea, coffee, or fresh water. Dancing and laughter and solitary walks with respected friends (like dogs or people) would be liturgy, horarium, and sacrament. Conversation, the circle of listening and speaking, gazing and being present, would be eucharistic.

(I, it goes without saying, will have nothing to do with this church. My hermit-nature would smile with tears in eyes from a short distance out of sight seeing the sweet inclusive kindness of the gathering. I probably wouldn't want to belong to it, nor would anyone else want to have me as a member.)

But here's the bottom line: time has come to find One's Self.

And to find One's Self where it is found -- within oneself and, correspondingly, between you and every other being. This quiet revelation will be the core contemplation of the so-called church. It would be a nice coincidence.

The Roman Catholic Church, the Evangelical Churches, The Mainline Protestant, and the Many Denominations have exhausted themselves trying to define their differences while attempting, reluctantly, to cite unity with their different counterparts.

Name it this: This New Integral Cosmotheandric Ecosystem -- Community of Interdependent Nature Collating Insight, Devotion, Enlightenment, Numinosity, Compassion & Enthusiasm. (NICE -- COINCIDENCE)

We proclaim this NICE -- COINCIDENCE to hereby emerge, exist, and include everyone.

"How did we get here?"
"How long is the road?"
However it ends,
it begins with us, this feast
by which we come to see
how beautiful we are.

from poem "Mysteries of The Incarnation"
by Kathleen Norris,
Little Girls in Church

Bring only your attention and being present. You are this place. You are that place. Call it Here. This is a good name for a church. (Help each revere each: Here).

(Send no money to this new place. Save your money. Maybe give a few dollars to someone who can immediately put the money to good use.)

And pray without ceasing -- saying: I am what is looking for what is looking for all of us.

Be happy. Love everyone. Try not to be a jerk.

Thomas Merton
© 1985 Br. Robert Lentz, OFM
For inspiration we'll invite Thomas Merton to mentor us.

Whatever your vision, show it here.

Whatever your belief, share it here.

Whatever your prayer, be it here.