Saturday, June 27, 2015

huh? koan -- [accompanying dharma encounter between Chris and Ikkyu]

(After receiving photo and teisho from Chris, “Buddha as a shithead. ...he would smile.”) 

Garden Dialogue Record

Buddha: [splat] Hey, what's that? 
Blade of Grass: huh? 
Buddha: I said...[reconsidering]...oh, never mind!


Hence began important teaching by Buddha arising from grass.

And then, there is Ikkyu:

Ten years ago I couldn't stop thinking, feeling,
Just anger, just rage, until this moment.
A crow laughs, the dust clears, I hold the arhat's fruit.
Spotted sunlight in Zhaoyang Palace, a pale face chanting.
(--  Zen Master Ikkyu, “Incense Thrown on the Buddha”)

Friday, June 26, 2015

A president encourages the people with grace

  1. Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
    That saved a wretch like me!
    I once was lost, but now am found;
    Was blind, but now I see.
  2. ’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
    And grace my fears relieved;
    How precious did that grace appear
    The hour I first believed.
  3. Through many dangers, toils and snares,
    I have already come;
    ’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
    And grace will lead me home.
  4. The Lord has promised good to me,
    His Word my hope secures;
    He will my Shield and Portion be,
    As long as life endures.
  5. Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
    And mortal life shall cease,
    I shall possess, within the veil,
    A life of joy and peace.
  6. The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
    The sun forbear to shine;
    But God, who called me here below,
    Will be forever mine.
  7. When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
    Bright shining as the sun,
    We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
    Than when we’d first begun.
(--anonymous, 1829)

Let the Reverend Clemente Pinckney and 8 church members be remembered with praise, joy, and peace!

being enough; having enough

Morning meal of awakened earth. 

Modest repast. 

To the precious Buddha, unsurpassable Teacher,
to the precious Dharma, unsurpassable Refuge,
to the precious Sangha, unsurpassable Guide,
to the three Jewels, the sources of Refuge, I make this Offering. 
tibetan buddhist - mealtime prayer
May all find satis-faction.

May all comprehend and embody “enough” and “adequate.”

Thursday, June 25, 2015



With morning comes affirmation.

The practice of mind.

Realizing the unrealized.
As the reordering of our life, brought about by moral training, creates the environment for meditation, the stillness of mind created by meditation will make possible the examination of reality that is the hallmark of wisdom. 
--  Lama Jampa Thaye, "Living by Meditation Alone" (Tricycle)
My brothers and sisters greet dawn with chant and song.

It is monastery of morning.

I remember William, namesake. And, by symbiosis, invisible patron.
William of Vercelli, Saint 1085-1142. founder, born in Vercelli Italy he was brought up as an orphan became a hermit on Monte Vergine, Italy after a pilgrimage to Compostella and attracted so many followers that a monastery was buillt. By 1119 his followers were united in the Benedictine congregation, the Hermits of Monte Vergine (Williamites) which he headed. The austerity of his rule led to dissension among his monks to restore peace he left and was taken under the protection of Roger I of Naples who built a monastery for him in Salerno. He founded monasteries through out Naples, and died at the Guglielmo monastery near Nusco Italy. He is also called William of Monte Vergine. Feast day June 25.
The things we're not aware of!

The connections yet unrealized!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

in center air

Back from evening hike on Ragged Mtn. We go to chapel zendo for compline. Final prayer asks for a quiet night and peaceful death.
Death is said to be a part of one’s life, but surely that is not the case if life has not preceded it. Robert Nozick said that “How unwilling someone is to die should depend, I think, upon what he has left undone, and also upon his capacity to do things.” In this sense a premature or untimely death is considered all the more tragic. Although death need not be feared, the prospect of not fully having lived life is heart-wrenching. We need time to realise our aspirations in order to leave a footprint behind. Whether or not we go “gentle into that good night” depends much on that footprint. Our life party will end in tears if we do not feel it is time to go. 
While an early departure has its obvious setbacks, receiving prior notification of it contains a blessing that many do not get. Millions of people each year die suddenly. They get no chance to say goodbye. With cancer you are usually forewarned, and you can fight it for a while. This buys time to put your house in order and say farewell to those you love. We all know that our time is finite, but we tend to live as if it isn’t. As hard as it is to confront, terminal disease allows the afflicted to live life in full realization of its finitude. There is no ‘later’ for which to put off those difficult gestures we otherwise never get around to doing. 
(--from The Party Without Me, David Rönnegard laments having to leave the party

Out in dark, in empty cabin, a candle burns in center air.

For those needing light just now in their lives. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

One man, three sublime personas

John was a Zen Buddhist. As well as a messianic Jew. And a proleptic Christian.
READING Acts 13:23-25

According to his promise, God has brought forth from David’s descendants Jesus, a savior for Israel. John heralded the coming of Jesus by proclaiming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. As John’s career was coming to an end, he would say, “What you suppose me to be I am not. Rather, look for the one who comes after me. I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals on his feet.” 
(--from  Evening Prayer I for the Solemnity of the Birth of John the Baptist)
Here's the zen part: 
Not me; 
Look there.


From a recent phone conversation with a young woman over many hours a goodly distance away.

1. Notes:
Notes and further reflection,
a conversation with C. (Maryland/Maine,13June2015) 
  • Because of where we are, God resulted in Jesus’ suffering. (or, … God results in Jesus’ { or C’s } suffering. 
  • He lived in the acceptance of the reality of the world in love.  (i.e. God as reality) 
  • Infinite God =  (not ending God)          Something without end does not see things as we do trying always to terminate, either with our opinioning, appraising, or judging. With God, "there’s no end to it.” (As they say!) 
  • There is a consistent lack of acknowledgment of what really is, and what really is there, and our participation with it, which is expressed through God...   (or, Reality, which becomes God’s existence now; or, that which God becomes existing now; or, that which now becomes God-existing; or, that which is God, the existing-now)...the God we reject, which results in our suffering in God which (or, who) continually calls for acceptance of it all. 
  • The primary responsibility of being in the world is to realize the presence of God. 
  • There is an unknown (of a) pattern that a criminal will reproduce a dangerous pattern of behavior harm.      There is a simultaneous need to protect from harm and to love. 
  • (Or: There is an unknown pattern in consciousness that reproduces criminal behavior. This consciousness is always standing at a crossroad signaling left or right turn — leaving or staying — activating movement along behavior that either heads down harm or steps up love.) 
  • In as much as we are separated from the awareness of God, so we participate with where we are in God which is God resulting in the presence of pain falsely interpreted as hate apart from the awareness of God in love. (Or: As much as we are this, we are that.)                       
  • Perhaps: 
              1. There is God.
              2. There is awareness.
              3. There is God, and there is the awareness of God.
              4. There is us, and there is our awareness of God.
              5. There is us, and there is our unawareness of God.
              6. God is within and without all things. (or, With God there is no within and without; there is only presence.)
              7.      When we are without the awareness of God, we still experience everything that is the presence of God, only, without awareness we derogate God-as-love, rather, now operating in unawareness, name the experience ‘hate’ or ‘evil’ or ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’, and set out to ‘correct’ or ‘right’ the behavior or tendency that has been judged into the categories formulated by rational construct, while moving further away from the “awareness of God” we create a world of “pain falsely interpreted” and launch moral and bellicose activity to combat these categories, persons, forces, and separations.
              8.      Whereas, “God resulting” is the flow of awareness that is inseparate and undivided in action and thought, an integrity of presence that receives all as the all it is, a sense of being that lives and moves and has its existence devoid of anything other than the awareness of God. Hence, we might conclude with Thomas Merton, there is no opposite of love, there is only love …and the perversion* of love. When love is perverted, (i.e. altered from its original course, or separated from original source) it is turned away — from source, course, and discourse — relegated and subjugated to distorted and corrupted unsaying or secrecy, a shadowy chicanery that purports to substitute fragmented self-interest in place of whole-sighted allocentric navigation of interrelationship, an aesthetic resulting in each instance a God-stance of consecration, concretion, and instantiation of what-is-this-moment-love.
              9.       As much as we are this we are that. We are meant to be the whole of it in the same way we conceive of God as being the whole of it. 
              10.      The Japanese appreciation of Wabi-sabi** applies.

    ...     ...     ...

*perversion |pərˈvərZHən|
1 the alteration of something from its original course, meaning, or state to a distortion or corruption of what was first intended: all great evil is the perversion of a good | a scandalous perversion of the law.
2 sexual behavior or desire that is considered abnormal or unacceptable.
ORIGIN late Middle English: from Latin perversio(n-), from the verb pervertere ‘turn around’ (see pervert) .

**Wabi-sabi (侘寂?) represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is "imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete".[2] It is a concept derived from the Buddhist teaching of the three marks of existence (三法印 sanbōin?), specifically impermanence (無常 mujō?), the other two being suffering (苦 ku?) and emptiness or absence of self-nature (空 kū?).
Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, asperity (roughness or irregularity), simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy, and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes. (—Wikipedia)

2. Poem:
       By AI
            for Robert Lowell 
We smile at each other
and I lean back against the wicker couch.  
How does it feel to be dead? I say.
You touch my knees with your blue fingers.  
And when you open your mouth,
a ball of yellow light falls to the floor  
and burns a hole through it.
Don’t tell me, I say. I don't want to hear. 

Did you ever, you start,
wear a certain kind of silk dress
and just by accident,
so inconsequential you barely notice it,  
your fingers graze that dress
and you hear the sound of a knife cutting paper,  
you see it too
and you realize how that image 

is simply the extension of another image,  
that your own life
is a chain of words 

that one day will snap. 

Words, you say, young girls in a circle, holding hands,  
and beginning to rise heavenward
in their confirmation dresses, 
like white helium balloons,
the wreaths of flowers on their heads spinning, 

and above all that, 

that’s where I’m floating, and that’s what it’s like 
only ten times clearer, 
ten times more horrible.  
Could anyone alive survive it?  
(--Ai, “Conversation” from Vice: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 1999 by Ai.) 
3. Comment:

        Phenomenological proof for the existence of what is most real:
Birdsong at dawn is the only proof needed that there is Loving-Being today. No creed. No ordination. No fealty oath. 
Only White-throated Sparrow and mist-testing Chickadee between Mourning Dove invitatory after invitatory. 
Let us pray: 
O This Reality, Come to show assistance! 
O Being Here, make way to help!

Monday, June 22, 2015

a good read

Yesterday at practice we read the following article from Tricycle: Son of a Gun, An arms manufacturer’s son visits home after moving to a Zen monastery, by Shozan Jack Haubner 
Here’s an excerpt:
As I sat on the phone with him, reaching deep inside for the right words to explain all this, how much he means to me and why I’ve set out on the course I have, the answer was right there in front of me all along. In my journal, instead of “The Death of God Left a God-Sized Hole,” I’d accidentally scribbled “The Death of God Left a God-Sized Whole.” 
For years, I was convinced that the death of a spiritual father figure—the death of God—was cause for eternal mourning and headshaking and teeth-gnashing. Now I’m beginning to see that it may be the very path to liberation. The first thing people want to know when they find out I’m a Buddhist monk is whether or not I still believe in God. If they’re atheists I tell them no; Christians, yes (or the other way around if I’m feeling truculent). But the truth is more complex and personal, and it mirrors my feelings toward my father. I still believe in Dad’s sincerity, integrity, and intentions, for instance, but long ago I stopped looking to him for answers or intervention, for him to rescue me—“guns ablazin’!”—from whatever personal Vietnam I might be suffering through. As with God, my relationship with my father has been marked by disillusionment, reassessment, and, finally, a search for deeper understanding. While I agree with him that our first job is to protect our families and then our country, for example, I don’t think our responsibility stops there, not anymore. In this day and age, it extends to the whole planet. 
God’s death creates a wide-open chasm of responsibility that we must fill. For me, the God-sized hole, through the prism of Buddhist thinking, has become a God-sized whole. 
After hanging up the phone, having resolved nothing, I said a quiet prayer back in my cabin, the kind I learned as a kid—a true prayer, the type that releases itself from within and is a kind of call, a cry, a blind thrust in what always turns out to be the right, the only, direction. It did not begin with “Our Father,” although I did have my forebears in mind. It went, simply, “Help,” repeated over and over with increasing intensity, until suddenly I came out the other side of the request. Instead of begging for help from some unknown source of the universe, I was telling myself to give it. The plea was its own answer, its own solution—a vocation.
It is a good read. 
This anniversary of my father’s death.
Good, indeed.

no calculation

Only compassion.
Religious awakening does not depend initially on who we are or what we do; rather, it is becoming attuned to the working of great compassion at the heart of existence 
(.--  Taitetsu Unno, "Into the Valley
The path of imperfection)
The result of listening, of conversing.

Mere looking; correspondence.

“The way through the world is more difficult to find than the way beyond it.” (--James Hillman)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

by extension everything whole is progenitor

I send the lad an umbrella for Father's Day.

He sends Zabars.

It's raining here.