Stop looking around —
If you are alone, that place
is a holy place
All day, rain showers and sunshine crisscross each other.
It feels like a long while ago I was on the mountain with Ensō this morning.
There is no silence like that of four o'clock in the nighttime of prayer.
This, from Merton:
There is no where in you a paradise that is no place and there
You do not enter except without a story.
To enter there is to become unnameable.
Whoever is nowhere is nobody, and therefore cannot exist except as unborn:
No disguise will avail him anything
Such a one is neither lost nor found.
But he who has an address is lost.
(from poem, "The Fall," by Thomas Merton)
Zen Master Bankei (1622-1693) wrote about the unborn:
In 1633, at age eleven, Bankei Yotaku was banished from his family's home because of his consuming engagement with the Confucian texts that all schoolboys were required to copy and recite. Using a hut in the nearby hills, he wrote the word Shugyo-an, or "practice hermitage," on a plank of wood, propped it up beside the entrance, and settled down to devote himself to his own clarification of "bright virtue."
He finally turned to Zen and, after fourteen years of incredible hardship, achieved a decisive enlightenment, whereupon the Rinzai priest traveled unceasingly to the temples and monasteries of Japan, sharing what he'd learned.
"What I teach in these talks of mine is the Unborn Buddha-mind of illuminative wisdom, nothing else. Everyone is endowed with this Buddha-mind, only they don't know it." Casting aside the traditional aristocratic style of his contemporaries, he offered his teachings in the common language of the people. His style recalls the genius and simplicity of the great Chinese Zen masters of the T'ang dynasty.
To dwell in a practice hermitage is to listen to the mind listening to itself listening to nothing at all sounding in the surround.
This morning I thought of an old friend. We worked construction together many years ago. He practices mendicant-dwelling still as he wanders closer to ninety years of age.
I do not know where he lives.
I don't know where he lives.
I suppose to be unborn suggests we do not have any address to move from or forward to.
That seems just fine.
A good-enough practice.
See you there.
It is that time again. Cruelty and animosity shun kindness and justice.
Alongside those now-familiar scenes, Jewish and Arab citizens have clashed in the worst violence in decades in Israeli cities — stoning cars, burning offices and places of worship, and forming mobs that have dragged people from their vehicles and beat them to within an inch of their lives.
Several Israeli leaders, led by President Reuven Rivlin, evoked the specter of civil war — a once unthinkable idea.
“We need to solve our problems without causing a civil war that can be a danger to our existence, more than all the dangers we have from the outside,” Mr. Rivlin said. “The silent majority is not saying a thing, because it is utterly stunned.”
Palestinian leaders, however, said the talk of civil war was a distraction from what they see as the true cause of the unrest — police brutality against Palestinian protesters and provocative actions by right-wing Israeli settler groups.
(Live Updates: Jews and Arabs Clash in Israel’s Streets, NYTimes, 13may2021
Much is being said about a cold civil war of ideological turmoil about the direction or destruction of democracy in the United States.
In that war there is a subtext of weapons chosen for the battlefield.
Lies are loaded and fired from sniper positions.
Truths are called up and assembled at front lines.
There are no non-combatants. Everyone is called up to engage the conflict.
Our children are hiding in shelter bunkers.
The question is asked: How do you fight lies?
Think again if you answered “With truth.”
The question has been long and seriously asked: What is truth?
And there’s been an equally long and serious silence in response.
We’ve been unfamiliar and little acquainted with truth.
Do we know how to answer?
Do we know how to fight?
Some words say it well. These do:
What is Zen? It’s both something we are—our true nature expressing itself moment by moment—and something we do—a disciplined practice through which we can realize the joy of being. It is not a belief system to which one converts. There is no dogma or doctrine. Zen is the direct experience of what we might call ultimate reality, or the absolute, yet it is not separate from the ordinary, the relative. This direct experience is our birthright. The practice of zazen—meditation—is a way of realizing the non-dualistic, vibrant, subtle, and interconnected nature of all life.
(from, TheZen Studies Society, What Is Zen?)
We often confuse distinctiveness with opposition.
Difference does not mean contention.
The absolute in not at odds with the relative.
My being not you is not the trigger for evaluative hierarchy nor judgmental dismissiveness.
Variance of opinion and arguments of approach need not separate human from human inexorably.
Two things can be true at the same time. They can stand side by side. Sit at same table. Speak with one another.
This and that need not be this or that. And is not or. This resides in that and that resides in this. And yet, this is not that, nor is that this. This is this, that is that.
Zen is the direct experience of what we might call ultimate reality, or the absolute, yet it is not separate from the ordinary, the relative. This direct experience is our birthright. The practice of zazen—meditation—is a way of realizing the non-dualistic, vibrant, subtle, and interconnected nature of all life. (op-cit)
Zen says “I see you.”
The word ‘see’ and the act of ‘seeing’ is non-separate inter-being inter-active dwelling.
And as for our temporary blindness?
As a zen Buddhist
There is only one way
To practice —
and Buddha mind
We're constantly birthing that which we give our attention to.
1. For Mother’s Day, a Healing Meditation on Mortality, By Maya Phillips, May 7, 2021,
2. Netflix, The Midnight Gospel, S1:E8, “Mouse of Silver”, time: 36 mins
Episode referred to in Maya Phillips’ piece.