Saturday, November 17, 2012

In order to become intimate

The dogs, the cats, the birds!

Saturday morning, after practice, in Wohnkuche.

After coffee, meditators depart.

Dongshan and Yunyan have had their conversation, says Susan Murphy, ending with, "Just this person."

Meditate, my paw!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Endangering hope

In prison we speak of the following:
Seneca provides a wonderful account of the “here and now” orientation based upon the saying of the Stoic philosopher Hecato that, ‘Cease to hope and you will cease to fear’(Seneca, 2004, p. 38). Seneca interprets this with reference to the basic Stoic discipline of desire and aversion, which sees emotional disturbance as the result of over-attachment, or rather over-concern with external things. According to Seneca, hope and fear ‘march in unison like a prisoner and the escort he is handcuffed to’ and both embroil us in anticipated, and therefore imagined, events.
Fear keeps pace with hope. Nor does their so moving together surprise me; both belong to a mind in suspense, to a mind in a state of anxiety through looking into the future. Both are mainly due to projecting our thoughts far ahead of us instead of adapting ourselves to the present. Thus it is that foresight, the greatest blessing humanity has been given, is transformed into a curse. Wild animals run from the dangers they actually see, and once they have escaped them worry no more. We however are tormented alike by what is past and what is to come. A number of our blessings do us harm, for memory brings back the agony of fear while foresight brings it on prematurely. No one confines his unhappiness to the present. (Seneca, 2004, p. 38)
(--from The Philosophy of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy: Stoic Philosophy as Rational and Cognitive Psychotherapy by Donald Robertson)

So, too, tonight, a similar conversation.

Frosty morning to cushion in bookshed to front room to prison

This is what I am passing through.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Grey wool hat, yellow monkey gloves

Walking tidal river in Machias with two dogs. Three miles. One hour and four minutes.

Outgoing tide. Water flowing strong under abandoned railway bed.

Listening to eightfold path words from redwood meditation center.

Dusk comes early this November cool.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Contemporaneous mythology instantiated

What becomes itself is the myth of origination.
Going forward, as itself, god is nowhere to be found.
In this understanding the world is yet to be created.
Say the word. Start it all. Reverse the story.
Let the dead bury the dead.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Why did Bodhidharma come from the West?

Practice Haiku  

What am I? What is  
 this? I don't know! This is what 
I am passing through.

Books surround silence

Reaching into bookshelf after sitting, The Door of Everythingby Ruby Nelson

Part One:
The Vision

"I was crowned by my God, my crown is living . . .
I received the face and the fashion of a new person . . .
And the thought of truth led me on.
I walked after it and did not wander.
And all that have seen me were amazed and I was regarded by them as a strange person.
And He who knew and brought me up is the Most High in all His perfection. And He glorified me by His kindness, and raised my thoughts to the height of His truth.
And from thence He gave me the way of His precepts and I opened the doors that were closed.
And broke in pieces the bars of iron; but my iron melted and dissolved before me:
Nothing appeared closed to me, because I was the door of everything."
--Odes of Solomon

Coming to Wohnkuche, researching the Odes of Solomon, these translations and introduction:
ODE 17.
(A peculiar change of personality, scarcely realized until the return from it in the last verse.)
1 I was crowned by my God: my crown is living:
2 And I was justified in my Lord: my incorruptible salvation is He.
3 I was loosed from vanity, and I was not condemned:
4 The choking bonds were cut off by her hands: I received the face and the fashion of a new person: p. 129 and I walked in it and was saved;
5 And the thought of truth led me on. And I walked after it and did not wander:
6 And all that have seen me were amazed: and I was regarded by them as a strange person:
7 And He who knew and brought me up is the Most High in all His perfection. And He glorified me by His kindness, and raised my thoughts to the height of His truth.
8 And from thence He gave me the way of His precepts and I opened the doors that were closed,
9 And brake in pieces the bars of iron; but my iron melted and dissolved before me;
10 Nothing appeared closed to me: because I was the door of everything. 
(--from the Odes of Solomon)
Another translation:

Ode 17

  1. Then I was crowned by my God, and my crown was living.
  2. And I was justified by my Lord, for my salvation is incorruptible.
  3. I have been freed from vanities, and am not condemned.
  4. My chains were cut off by His hands, I received the face and likeness of a new person, and I walked in Him and was saved.
  5. And the thought of truth led me, and I went after it and wandered not.
  6. And all who saw me were amazed, and I seemed to them like a stranger.
  7. And He who knew and exalted me, is the Most High in all His perfection.
  8. And He glorified me by His kindness, and raised my understanding to the height of truth.
  9. And from there He gave me the way of His steps, and I opened the doors which were closed.
  10. And I shattered the bars of iron, for my own shackles had grown hot and melted before me.
  11. And nothing appeared closed to me, because I was the opening of everything.
  12. And I went towards all my bound ones in order to loose them; that I might not leave anyone bound or binding.
  13. And I gave my knowledge generously, and my resurrection through my love.
  14. And I sowed my fruits in hearts, and transformed them through myself.
  15. Then they received my blessing and lived, and they were gathered to me and were saved;
  16. Because they became my members, and I was their Head.
  17. Glory to You, our Head, O Lord Messiah.

Then, from the Gnostic Society Library:

Gnostic Scriptures and FragmentsThe Odes of SolomonArchive Notes 
The Odes date from the second century, and were probably written in Greek or Aramaic. At least one scholar has suggested they may have an origin in Valentinian Gnosticism, though this is of course speculative.  The Church Father Lactantius (third century) quoted from them, and the Pistis Sophia mentions about five complete Odes. 
In 1909 the English Scholar J. Rendel Harris discovered an old Syriac manuscript with contained all but the second of the 42 Odes. These texts evidence the close inter-relationship of Christian and Gnostic church piety. Translation below is by James H. Charlesworth.   (Another more poetic translation of several odes -- from an unknown source -- follows the Charlesworth translation.) 
In his commentary on the Odes, Charlesworth notes :
The date of the Odes has caused considerable interest. H. J. Drijvers contends that they are as late as the 3d century. L. Abramowski places them in the latter half of the 2d century. B. McNeil argued that they are contemporaneous with 4 Ezra, the Shepherd of Hermas, Polycarp, and Valentinus (ca. 100 C.E.). Most scholars date them sometime around the middle of the 2d century, but if they are heavily influenced by Jewish apocalyptic thought and especially the ideas in the Dead Sea Scrolls, a date long after 100 is unlikely.... The 11th ode was found among the Bodmer Papyri in a 3d-century Gk manuscript (no. 11). 
Five were translated into Coptic in the 4th century and used to illustrate the Pistis Sophia (Odes Sol. 1, 5, 6, 22, and 25). Also in the 4th century Ode 19 was quoted by Lactantius (Div. Inst. 4.12.3). In the 10th century a scribe copied the Odes in Syriac, but only Odes Sol. 17:7-42:20 are preserved (British Museum ms. Add. 14538). In the 15th century another scribe copied them into Syriac, but again the beginning is lost (John Rylands Library Cod. Syr. 9 contains only Odes Sol. 3.1b-42:20).   [--The Anchor Bible Dictionary, v. 6, p. 114]

This is what happens when your winter zendo is also a library/bookshed/retreat!

Silent Sitting

Merton Bookshed/Retreat.

Tuesday morning.

"No eyes, no ears, no nose..." (--from the Heart Sutra)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Walking past Snow Bowl

Comes a meditation about Jeff's death, love, and a closed field.


There is the sudden silence of the crowd
above a player not moving on the field,
and the silence of the orchid.

The silence of the falling vase
before it strikes the floor,
the silence of the belt when it is not striking the child.

The stillness of the cup and the water in it,
the silence of the moon
and the quiet of the day far from the roar of the sun.

The silence when I hold you to my chest,
the silence of the window above us,
and the silence when you rise and turn away.

And there is the silence of this morning
which I have broken with my pen,
a silence that had piled up all night

like snow falling in the darkness of the house—
the silence before I wrote a word
and the poorer silence now.

(Poem by Billy Collins)

Morning practice

Oh, what is this?
The whole universe and its structure, I have created. The universe is my cinema. But just as an audience becomes absorbed in witnessing a drama on the screen, the film engages their emotions and sways their feelings by its influence, causing them to forget that it is not real -- in the same way, the spectators of the world are charmed by this worldly film show, forgetting themselves and taking it to be real! 
So I have come to tell them that this worldly drama in which they are absorbed is not real. I have come to turn their focus toward Reality. Only God is real, and everything else is a mere motion picture. 
(Meher Baba, 1932 at Mary Pickford's house, p.40 in Meher Baba, Avatar of the Tortoise, by Kenneth Lux c.2001)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Think of Iraq and Afghanistan and cry

Men go to war. And women.

They come home.

Almost. But not quite.

What a shame

Watching meditation

Thoughts, like birds, come and go, come and go.

Then, let them!