Saturday, April 16, 2011

If one thing is everything, what is the one thing?

The wind blows hard outside the window tonight.
Illusion and enlightenment depend on each other,
Principle and actuality are ultimately the same
All day long, sutras without words,
Through the night, Zen without sitting.
Warblers sing in the willow grove
By the river,
A village dog barks at the moon.
I have no one to share my feelings
So I just write what is in my heart.

- Ryokan
Someone says someone close to them has died and they have lost interest in living. I hear that.
No man is an island

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as a manor of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man's death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

(Poem by John Donne)
We die when someone close dies. Most people pretend it's not so. But it is.

How do we go on once we realize we, too, have died?

There's the mystery!

Tell me when you find out.

And I'll share it with this person.

Who will, I'm sure, be grateful to know.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Maybe, only poetry matters.
I lived in the first century of world wars.
Most mornings I would be more or less insane,
The newspapers would arrive with their careless stories,
The news would pour out of various devices
Interrupted by attempts to sell products to the unseen.
I would call my friends on other devices;
They would be more or less mad for similar reasons.
Slowly I would get to pen and paper,
Make my poems for others unseen and unborn.
In the day I would be reminded of those men and women,
Brave, setting up signals across vast distances,
Considering a nameless way of living, of almost unimagined values.
As the lights darkened, as the lights of night brightened,
We would try to imagine them, try to find each other,
To construct peace, to make love, to reconcile
Waking with sleeping, ourselves with each other,
Ourselves with ourselves. We would try by any means
To reach the limits of ourselves, to reach beyond ourselves,
To let go the means, to wake.

I lived in the first century of these wars.

(--Muriel Rukeyser, “Poem” from The Speed of Darkness. Copyright © 1968 by Muriel Rukeyser)
If we want to wake.

Try poetry.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


It's a silly life, being a hermit-in-the-world.

There's really nothing to it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Watched “Mindwalk” in class.
It is like how a goldsmith must smelt ore to obtain gold before he can fashion it into implements for use. If you have a body, you have bodily impediments. And if you have bodily impediments, your dharma body is obscured by your outer shell. If you have a heart, you have impediments of the heart. And if you have impediments of the heart, your true wisdom will be obscured by your thinking and apprehensions.
- Taisho Tripitaka
Thomas said at end: “Life feels Itself.”

Breath, that’s what I think ‘mind’ is.

Try not to lose it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

John Searle says computers cannot think. He would agree with Krisnamurti -- Calculate, yes; contemplate no.
Listen to me for a second about the effects
Of a certain medicine
The pill I'm talking about is called
Penetrating One's Nature and Becoming a Buddha
Chew it well, chew it well
Won't you take my pill?

- Hakuin (1685-1769)
In my mind everyone looks as they did forty, fifty years ago. The mind is like that. It doesn't age. Why then should anyone kept in mind age?

A poet in Belfast, Jacob Fricke, ends a poem with: "No, Don't ever let your mind go to your head."

Monday, April 11, 2011

For forty years.


I have wondered.
I live quietly with other temple monks,
Get up at dawn to chant Namu.
The valley stream transcends clamor and stillness,
Mountain clouds know nothing
Of being or nonbeing.
Room a half a span wide,
Empty enough to hang a bell in;
Gruel in a gourd bowl
That might be left dangling.
And since I came here, what have I done?
"Bathed in the Yi, enjoyed the breeze
In the rain altars."

- Gensei (1623-1668)
What it was.

To say.

"Life Together."

As if there was a way to be.


As is my wont.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

This breath.

Is my first.
Buddha, in his bodhisattva stage,
Made the universal vow:
When beings hear my name
And think on me
I will come and welcome them.
Not discriminating at all between
The poor and the rich and the well born,
Not discriminating between the
Inferior and highly gifted;
Not choosing the learned
And those who uphold pure precepts.
Not rejecting those who break precepts
And whose evil karma is profound,
Solely making beings turn about
And abundantly say the name,
I can make bits of rubble
Change into gold.

- Tz'u-min ( 8th century) DailyZen
This breath.

Is my last.

First and last are silly concepts.

There is only this breath.