Saturday, January 07, 2012

Dwell not on a stumbling-block

Hui-Neng husked rice.

He couldn't read nor write. But he knew emptiness.

How wonderful of Lex Hixon to tell the transmission story for us in writing at Saturday Morning Practice these 38 years after meeting him at the red church of WBAI in NYC as he hosted his radio show "In the Spirit" on Sunday mornings.

I was more of a fool then than now. But now I know what a fool I am. You can guess the rest.
Chapter V. Dhyana

The Patriarch (one day) preached to the assembly as follows:--
In our system of meditation, we neither dwell upon the mind (in contradistinction to the Essence of Mind) nor upon purity. Nor do we approve of non-activity. As to dwelling upon the mind, the mind is primarily delusive; and when we realize that it is only a phantasm there is no need to dwell on it. As to dwelling upon purity, our nature is intrinsically pure; and so far as we get rid of all delusive 'idea' there will be nothing but purity in our nature, for it is the delusive idea that obscures Tathata (Suchness). If we direct our mind to dwell upon purity we are only creating another delusion, the delusion of purity. Since delusion has no abiding place, it is delusive to dwell upon it. Purity has neither shape nor form; but some people go so far as to invent the 'Form of Purity', and treat it as a problem for solution. Holding such an opinion, these people are purity-ridden, and their Essence of Mind is thereby obscured.

Learned Audience, those who train themselves for 'imperturbability' should, in their contact with all types of men, ignore the faults of others. They should be indifferent to others' merit or demerit, good or evil, for such an attitude accords with the 'imperturbability of the Essence of Mind'. Learned Audience, a man unenlightened may be unperturbed physically, but as soon as he opens his mouth he criticizes others and talks about their merits or demerits, ability or weakness, good or evil; thus he deviates from the right course. On the other hand, to dwell upon our own mind or upon purity is also a stumbling-block in the Path.

I'll have some rice with Tamara sauce, thank you.

One kernel at a time, if you please.

No more hiding. No more seeking.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Show me you love me

So much has to do with emphasis. Putting the emPHAsis on the wrong sylLAble changes everything.

Take the phrase: "Show me you love me." It can read like a command: SHOW me you love me! Or, it could sound like a gentle reminder of primal undifferentiated relationality: Show 'me' -- 'You' love me. This second reading invites the other into reciprocal reflective recognition that thee and me are not two, not separate, when love is the lens through which we see one another.
I Want to Know What Love Is

I gotta take a little time
A little time to think things over
I better read between the lines
In case I need it when I'm older
Aaaah woah-ah-aah

Now this mountain I must climb
Feels like a world upon my shoulders
And through the clouds I see love shine
It keeps me warm as life grows colder

In my life there's been heartache and pain
I don't know if I can face it again
Can't stop now, I've traveled so far
To change this lonely life

I wanna know what love is
I want you to show me
I wanna feel what love is
I know you can show me
Aaaah woah-oh-ooh

I'm gonna take a little time
A little time to look around me, oooh ooh-ooh ooh-ooh oooh
I've got nowhere left to hide
It looks like love has finally found me

In my life there's been heartache and pain
I don't know if I can face it again
I can't stop now, I've traveled so far
To change this lonely life

I wanna know what love is
I want you to show me
I wanna feel what love is
I know you can show me
I wanna know what love is
I want you to show me
And I wanna feel, I want to feel what love is
And I know, I know you can show me

Let's talk about love

(-- lyrics from song, I Want to Know What Love Is, by Mick Jones, sung by Foreigner, 1984)
The plea of the song lyrics, "I want you to show me," is a plea for the unity of love. It is profound trust, " I know you can show me." You, me, we: can we see our whole, true, and interpenetrating interdependence? You show me. I show you. Together we appear when love is the lens.

It might take a little time.
Sermons there are, must be a million
Too many to read in a hurry
If you want a friend
Just come to T'ien T'ai mountain
Sit deep among the crags
We'll talk about the Principles
And chat about dark Mysteries
If you don't come to my mountain
Your view will be blocked
By the others.

- Shih-te
Listening to John Dear speaking about Dan Berrigan (now in his 91st year) I am reminded of the loneliness of radical vision. There was a line that suggested Berrigan felt that all that was left was the Bread and the Wine and one another's company. I hear these words as saying the mere elemental transformation of grateful thanksgiving with sacred presence experiencing together ordinary hierophanic revelation of (in this way) What-Is-Love, Being-With, One-Another, In-The-World. For Berrigan, Christ.

I recall the Berrigan lines:
bodies belong
where words
(I misquoted them for forty years, substuting the word "are" for "lead." I've been static, Berrigan looks for movement.)

Turn the page, he says, let flare profound revelation.


Were I God almighty, I would ordain, rain
fall lightly where old men trod, no death
in childbirth, neither infant nor mother, ditches firm fenced against the
errant blind, aircraft come to ground like any feather.

No mischance, malice, knives.
Tears dried. Would resolve all
flaw and blockage of mind
that makes us mad, sets lives awry.

So I pray, under
the sign of the world’s murder, the ruined son;
why are you silent?
feverish as lions
hear us in the world,
caged, devoid of hope.

Still, some redress and healing.
The hand of an old woman
turns gospel page;
it flares up gently, the sudden tears of Christ.

(Poem by Dan Berrigan)
Where is it written that it would be awful to gain the world and lose your soul?

It seems to me it would be an awful thing to lose the world to gain a soul.

There is no gain. No loss. 'World' and 'soul' are two only when misplaced emphasis is afoot. Christ longed for the world to be redeemed into the wholeness of sight. For the individual to see. For 'world, soul' to grow into unitive sight. For all creation's longing to be fulfilled in its true nature. For love to be, what it is, in the world, in each one, in time, and beyond.

We are not meant to use love for something else.

Love is useless. Forgiveness is useless. They are not to be used for anything other than what they are, namely, the only things that are.

Be, therefore, love.

Be, therefore, forgiveness.

Don't try to use them for anything other than what they are in themselves.

As you are in yourself; as you are in the world.

You are the world. You are Christ. Be bread. Be wine. With one-another.

No, really: "With" one-another!

Thursday, January 05, 2012

We are being told

I love Earth.
If you are not put off
By the voice of the valley
And the starry peaks,
Why not walk through the shady cedars
And come see me?

- Ryokan Taigu (1758-1831)
I love you.
"We are talking only to ourselves. We are not talking to the rivers, we are not listening to the wind and stars. We have broken the great conversation. By breaking that conversation we have shattered the universe. All the disasters that are happening now are a consequence of that spiritual ‘autism.’”
(--Thomas Berry, from, The Great Work, 1999)
I love this one loving.

The moon comes up.
The moon goes down.
This is to inform you
that I didn’t die young.
Age swept past me
but I caught up.
Spring has begun here and each day
brings new birds up from Mexico.
Yesterday I got a call from the outside
world but I said no in thunder.
I was a dog on a short chain
and now there’s no chain.

(Poem by Jim Harrison)
I love the realization there is so much further to travel in order to get right where we are.
We have not yet discovered what it means to be human. And it seems that this ordinary discovery is the most epiphanic that can be made – for when we have learnt what it is to be human, when we have suffered it, and loved it, we will know our true estate, we will know what gulf separates us from the gods, we will know what it means to be free, and we will know that freedom is really the beginning of our mutual destinies.
(-- by Ben Okri, in, A Way of Being Free, found as epigraph in, An Imperfect Offering, Humanitarian Action For The Twenty-First Century, by James Orbinski, M.D.)
I love the gift life is offering: world, love.
"The natural world itself is our primary language as it is our primary scripture, our primary awakening to the mysteries of existence. We might well put all our written scriptures on the shelf for twenty years until we learn what we are being told by unmediated experience of the world about us". -- Thomas Berry
I love listening to the sound of what is...

Being said!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Debate or Conversation? -- "Language speaks"



Or, vis-a-vis?

Je ne sais pas.

Et vous?



Language speaks (in the original German Die Sprache spricht), is a famous saying by Martin Heidegger. Heidegger first formulated it in his 1950 lecture Language (Die Sprache),[1] and frequently repeated it in later works.[2]
Adorno expressed a related idea when he said that language "acquires a voice" and "speaks itself."[3]


The Buddhas left their Sutras
Because people are hard to change
It's not just a matter of saintly or stupid
Each and every heart throws up its barricade
Each piles up his own mountain of karma
How could they guess that what they clasp so close
Is sorrow
Unwilling to ponder, as day and night
They do embrace the falsehood of the body

- Shih-te

Ponder well!

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Name, please?

Who can pronounce the name of one without name? Go ahead, open your mouth. Give vibration to air rising from diaphragm.
Then, round lips, furrow tongue, and pronounce the name of the unnamable.

What do you hear? What do you see?

No one has ever seen God.

Where have we been looking?
Think of the love that the Father has lavished on us,
by letting us be called God’s children;
and that is what we are.
Because the world refused to acknowledge him,
therefore it does not acknowledge us.
My dear people, we are already the children of God
but what we are to be in the future has not yet been revealed;
all we know is, that when it is revealed
we shall be like him
because we shall see him as he really is.
Surely everyone who entertains this hope
must purify himself, must try to be as pure as Christ.

(--from First reading, Tuesday, Feast of Holy Name, 1 John 2:29-3:6
The koan "Mu" invites us to undistinguish.

We've been very particular in our finicky looking, only glancing where paid informants point their fingers.

There's a simpler invitation. With the myth of virgin birth comes the myth of ever-present Christ. It is a pure myth, nothing added nothing taken away, always and everywhere, present; all ways and every gaze, presence.

You can't, ultimately, fault the paid informants their attempt to control sight. Everyone has a scheme to get some cash ahead of the creditors and their opulent craving for more and more wealth. The servants of fear and greed feel a mindless loyalty to their masters who, themselves, fear their masters -- and so on, and so on.

"Magis" (more) from "magister" (master or teacher). If a teacher thinks he has more to give students, he might be mistaken. Students have only to open as wide as sky and learn from what is there. A good guide for discovering what is there is a teacher with nothing to give, only to open hand, heart, and mind to allow what is ever-present to be itself experienced, felt, known, revered.

When this ground and grounding reality is revealed, what we call Christ will be newly seen without seeing, called without naming, lived without being contained.
...all we know is, that when it is revealed
we shall be like him
because we shall see him as he really is.
Be like him. Be like her. Be like it.

See what really is!

As you really are.

Name, please?

Yes it is: please!

And, think you!

Mostly, follows: thank you

Monday, January 02, 2012

So, what now?

Light dawns. Candles are lit. Doggie diarrhea cleaned. Our new house-mate since his mistress' passing is at bottom of stairs looking soulful as I morning descend. The big guy's eyes show sorrow after distress. (Saskia's the best!)
“I started as a Christian, I discovered I was a Hindu and returned as a Buddhist without having ceased to be a Christian?” (Raimon Panikkar)
Round and round we go. And where we think we should stop -- we should think again -- God knows.
Choose a place for meditation that is
Clean, quiet, and cool, a cave with a smooth
Without stones and dust, protected against
Wind and rain and pleasing to the eye.

In deep meditation aspirants may
See forms like snow or smoke. They may feel
A strong wind blowing or a wave of heat.
They may see within them more and more
Fireflies, lightening, sun, or moon. These
are signs
That one is far on the path of Brahman.

(Meditation Experience in the Svetasvatara Upanishad)
And then:
May we hear only what is good for all.
May we see only what is good for all.
May we serve you, Lord of Love, all our life.
May we be used to spread your peace on earth.

OM Peace (Shanti) Peace (Shanti) Peace (Shanti) Peace (Shanti)

(Prayer from the Prashna Upanishad)
The traveler who travels with open hand, open mind, and open heart does not fear what is arrived at on the road. When fear does come, it is accepted as fear coming on the path. Seen, arrived at, accepted, and befriended, the journey continues -- richer with new and transforming companion.
“The Lord of Love willed: ‘Let me be many!’
And in the depths of his meditation
He created everything that exists.
Meditating, he entered into everything.
He who has no form assumed many forms;
He who is infinite appeared finite;
He who is everywhere assumed a place;
He who is all wisdom caused ignorance;
He who is real caused unreality.
It is he who has become everything.
It is he who gives reality to all.
Before the universe was created,
Brahman existed as Unmanifest.
Brahman brought the Lord out of himself;
Therefore he is called the Self-existent.”
“The Self is the source of abiding joy.
Our hearts are filled with joy in seeing him
Enshrined in the depths of our consciousness.
If he were not there, who would breathe, who live?
He it is who fills every heart with joy.
“Until we realize
The unity of life, we live in fear.
When one realizes the Self, in whom
All life is One, Changeless, Nameless,
Then one fears no more.”

(Wisdom from the Taittiriya Upanishad on the One Who Became Many)
(--above from, The Upanishads, Eknath Easwaran, Nilgiri Press)
"Day after day takes up the story." (-- from Morning Prayer, Monday)

Whenever I return home there are so many patches on my satchel telling where I've been and what is brought back.

Where' you been?

Watcha got with ya?

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Hermit; with no exception.

A hermit is one who is alone. Or, maybe, lives with the alone.

They are alone themselves. They are alone with others. When two hermits are near each other, they are alone together.

Someone, after rowing, introduced me as a hermit. To them this seemed erroneous because: a) I was not in seclusion; and b) because I was with someone.

They are, of course, correct. And I allow them their correct understanding.

Still, as a hermit, leaving someone alone in their percept and concept does not mean that my intercept and intracept -- wherein oneness with what is there dwells within the alone nature of reality -- is diminished or revoked.

The hermit seeks to be alone with the Alone as the earth seeks to be ground to soil.

We are all alone.

The hermit, with the assistance of prayer and meditation, knows this.

Without fear, being alone means hellos and goodbyes are sounds we make coming and going in and out of the illusion we've been somewhere else or are off elsewhere.

In truth, we're always here, with whatever or whomever is here, with no exception.

We're alone and it is, as they say, a new year.

'Happy' is a good word for it!

Looking beyond lines and conclusions; Hear and lavish every morning!

On cushion at midnight gone in Merton Bookshed, ringing Tibetan cow bell and striking brass meditation bowl, from over hills repeated reports pulsing night sky, following silence, candle lit and wood joist glow, white dog backing onto folded legs, brown dog listening for approaching sounds, an invisible line is crossed.

A new year, new day, new beast in breast longing for itself in varied forms. Animate, anima, animal soul-forms reaching through walls and edges, looking beyond lines and conclusions, the calm procession stepping sacred pilgrimage hosting holy presence within and between and surrounding us, all things exchanging form and emptiness in ringing exaltating simplicity.
Morning Poem

Every morning
the world
is created.
Under the orange

sticks of the sun
the heaped
ashes of the night
turn into leaves again

and fasten themselves to the high branches ---
and the ponds appear
like black cloth
on which are painted islands

of summer lilies.
If it is your nature
to be happy
you will swim away along the soft trails

for hours, your imagination
alighting everywhere.
And if your spirit
carries within it

the thorn
that is heavier than lead ---
if it's all you can do
to keep on trudging ---

there is still
somewhere deep within you
a beast shouting that the earth
is exactly what it wanted ---

each pond with its blazing lilies
is a prayer heard and answered
every morning,

whether or not
you have ever dared to be happy,
whether or not
you have ever dared to pray.

~ Mary Oliver ~
Back in Wohnkuche, toasting with Oakhurst Lowfat Eggnog, virgined, downing pills with each sip (an old monk's version of cocktail and hors d'oeuvres), then to bed dozing as chants by Krishna Das lull to sleep, we are happy to begin again.
The ways of proclaiming
The Mind all vary,
But the same heavenly truth
Can be seen
In each and every one.

- Ikkyu (1394-1481){Dailyzen}
The sentence recurs: There is nothing to lose.

We are a constant instance of being found.

Dare to be happy.

Dare prayer.

Hear and lavish every morning!

Begin again

There's nothing to lose!