Saturday, December 04, 2010

Do I have a clear mind? Is my heart open and responsive?

It is not for me to know. If they are so it will show.
The knowledge of the pure clean mind
Is as yellow gold to the world;
The spiritual treasury of wisdom is
All in the body and mind.
The uncreated spiritual treasury
Is neither shallow nor deep.
The buddhas and bodhisattvas
Understand this basic mind;
For those who have the chance
To encounter it, it is not
Past, future, or present.

- Fu Shan-hui (487-659)
The good thing about rowing around Curtis Island in middle afternoon is that the light fades and when there is a northerly wind the exercise you get is not an elective choice. Rather you are rowing against exhaustion to get back to inner harbor and not get blown out across the bay or slump over thwart with heart failure.

You just pull and lean, pull and lean, pull and lean all the way back.

There is no choice.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

I would like to speak with what is holy.

What is holy is imageless and soundless.

Nothing to do.

But be.


Silence is invitatory prayer of Holy Spirit.

Here only silence.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

For 8 days our winter zendo will be an inviting place to practice zazen in preparation for Rohatsu, the December 8 celebration of the Buddha's enlightenment.

No fuss, no set schedule. Just come and use as you wish.
He cried:

That's it! That's it! That's it. That's me! That's me that's shining so brilliantly!

How deeply he was moved and what wonder he felt. From this comes all of the Buddha's dharma. From within this state of mind the Buddha said:

How wondrous, how wondrous! All beings are endowed with this pure nature! What a wondrous, astonishing thing has been realized! All the ten thousand things, all the flowers, all the trees, all the rocks, all things everywhere are shining brilliantly! What an amazing thing! It's the same landscape, but how brilliantly it is illuminated! What freshness is everything!

From within this deep illumination of the mind of the Buddha, all the Buddha's wisdom was born. All of Zen is held within the deep impression of the Buddha's mind at that moment.

People vow to experience this very same experience of the Buddha as they approach the rohatsu sesshin. In every single Zen dojo, people put their lives on the line to be able to experience the exact same state of mind, on the eighth of December, as that of the Buddha. This is the firm vow with which they come to the rohatsu sesshin.

(--from Morning Dewdrops of the Mind: Teachings of a Contemporary Zen Master, by Roy Tribelhorn, Shodo Harada Roshi, c.1993)
That's it.

Sit well!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Watching planes land and take off at Bangor airport this afternoon. The marvels of flight!

Everyone we pass might be the only person who knows the truth.
Instead, our meeting is so brief and accidental,
unnoticed by the monocled eye of History,
you could be the man I held the door for
this morning at the bank or post office
or the one who wrapped my speckled fish.
You could be someone I passed on the street
or the face behind the wheel of an oncoming car.

(--from poem, Dear Reader, by Billy Collins)
How fortunate we smile on each other.

Monday, November 29, 2010

No contrivance.
Do not say the mind monarch is empty
In having no essential nature;
It can cause the physical body to do
Wrong or do right.
Neither being nor nonbeing,
It is concealed and revealed
Without fixation.
Although the essence of mind is empty,
It can be ordinary and can be saintly:
Therefore I urge you to guard it yourself
Carefully; a moment of contrivance,
And you back to bobbing and sinking.

- Fu Shan-hui (487-659)
No bobbing and sinking.

No fixation.

There, that settles it!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I pass Harp Seal on way out to Curtis Island as sun spent last half hour before setting. Past it again as dusk darkened everything and only oarlocks made sounds an hour later. Pretty far south from Newfoundland, Greenland, and Russia.

We're all far from home.
Study the Way and never grow old
Distrust emotions; truth will emerge
Sweep away your worries
Set even your body aside

Autumn drives off the yellow leaves
Yet spring renews every green bud
Quietly contemplate the pattern of things
Nothing here to make us sad

- Shih-shu (17th-early 18th c.)
Video of Anthony de Mello at table portion of practice tonight. Good words.

We're not tied.

Walk away.

We are free are we!