Saturday, August 01, 2020
Friday, July 31, 2020
Thursday, July 30, 2020
When I die, I will see the lining of the world.
The other side, beyond bird, mountain, sunset.
The true meaning, ready to be decoded.
What never added up will add Up,
What was incomprehensible will be comprehended.
– And if there is no lining to the world?
If a thrush on a branch is not a sign,
But just a thrush on the branch? If night and day
Make no sense following each other?
And on this earth there is nothing except this earth?
– Even if that is so, there will remain
A word wakened by lips that perish,
A tireless messenger who runs and runs
Through interstellar fields, through the revolving galaxies,
And calls out, protests, screams.
(poem by Czeslaw Milosz, 1911-2004)
Wednesday, July 29, 2020
Martha said to Jesus: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God: he who is to come into the world.
(Antiphon to Canticle of Zechariah, Morning Prayer, Feast of Martha)
Tuesday, July 28, 2020
Monday, July 27, 2020
Cut off what you’re holding on to: the attachment to your thoughts, beliefs, and feelings, the residue of your discriminating, egocentric consciousness. As Yasutani Roshi said, “Most people place a high value on abstract thought, but Buddhism has clearly demonstrated that discriminative thinking lies at the root of delusion.”
Thoughts—and feelings triggered by thoughts—are mutable and impermanent, and yet because we humans incorrectly identify our being with our thinking, we construct a false notion of ourselves out of ideas and memories that have no actual substance. No wonder the ego is called “the false self.” The false self—the thinking mind—is continuously talking to itself, disturbing itself, even lying to itself. Reimagining the past or fantasizing about the future. Setting up expectations that aren’t met, then casting judgment and blame. Struggling every step of the way to stop struggling. Naturally, it doesn’t work.
This realization is a critical departure from the methods of modern psychology or self-help. Buddhism in general, and Zen in particular, is not concerned with the content of thoughts or feelings, except to recognize that they are the cause of confusion, emotional paralysis, and pain. In and of themselves, thoughts are no big deal, except when we make a big deal out of them, creating a dualistic separation from reality, which is a wordy way to say “a problem.”
“Emotionally we have many problems, but these problems are not actual problems; they are something created; they are problems pointed out by our self-centered ideas or views,” Suzuki Roshi said.
Easy for a Zen master to say, but hard to believe until you see it for yourself. Such is the kindness of Bodhidharma in this koan. Out of boundless compassion, he doesn’t give you what you ask for, but he tells you how to find it yourself. Until you free yourself, you won’t realize that there is no self to free. You are imprisoned by nothing and no one but your own thoughts, which self-liberate the moment you stop thinking about them.
Sunday, July 26, 2020
(Brihadāranyaka-Upanishad)Book ILead me from the unreal to the real!Lead me from darkness to light!Lead me from death to immortality!
Hence this Self is the goal of all creatures. As long as man makes offerings and sacrifices, he pleases the gods; as long as he studies the Wedas, he pleases the wise; as long as he offers libations and desires chil- dren, he pleases the fathers; as long as he gives food and shelter, he pleases mankind; as long as he gives fodder and water the beasts are pleased; if birds and beasts down to the ants are fed in his house, they are pleased. But everybody wishes good to the man who has this knowledge; everybody is good to the man who is good to him.
In the beginning there was the Self, one and sole. He thought: 'Let me have a wife that I may have chil- dren; let me have wealth that I may do something in the world,' Thus far desire can go; even if man wants more, he cannot get it.
A lonely man thinks of a wife and children, of wealth and work; and so long as he does not get any of these, he thinks he is incomplete. Yet he is already complete; his mind is himself; speech his wife; life his offspring; eyes are his human wealth, for through eyes he gets it; ears his divine wealth, for through ears he gets it; body his work, for through body he works. This is the fivefold sacrifice; it applies to man, animal, every- thing. Who knows this, gets everything.