Saturday, April 15, 2023

none other than itself

 Wisdom, I suspect, emerges from the person presenting themselves in the moment without explanation, excuse, or premeditation.

And the reflecting comment from someone also there, unencumbered, and without ulterior motive.

        Excerpt from Dharma Talks – Part 2

A certain priest has said, “All you do is repeat the same things day after day. You ought to give your listeners a change. Their minds will be more receptive if you throw in some stories about the Zen masters of the past.” 


Dull-witted as I am, I think if I put my mind to it, I could probably remember a couple of anecdotes to tell people. But that would be like feeding them poison. I don’t want to do that. 


I never cite the Buddha’s words or the words of Zen patriarchs when I teach. All I do is comment directly on people themselves. That takes care of everything. I don’t have to quote other people. So you won’t find me saying anything about either the “Buddha Dharma” or the “Zen Dharma.” 


I don’t have to, when I can clear everything up for you by commenting directly on you and your personal concerns right here and now. I’ve no reason to preach about “Buddhism” or “Zen.” 


Bankei (1622-1693). (March 15, 2023 DailyZen) 

Perhaps "comment" is indicating that when a mind (mens, mentis) is shared (co),  a true reflection takes place.

As if speaking from itself.

Self-same recognition. 

 comment (n.)

late 14c., "explanation, spoken or written remark," from Old French coment"commentary" or directly from Late Latin commentum "comment, interpretation," in classical Latin "invention, fabrication, fiction," neuter past 

participle of comminisci Origin and meaning of comment "to contrive, devise," from com-, here p 

erhaps an intensive prefix (see com-), + base of meminisse "to remember," related to mens (genitive mentis) "mind" (from PIE root *men- (1) "to think"). 

Is there a suggestion that it's not what or who you know, but the ability (and willingness) to reflect what is there?

Go ahead -- say a word.

Let it be the sound of what is itself emerging as itself into the presence of none other than itself.

Friday, April 14, 2023

place holding

 In prison today

Conversation buoys circle

afloat, deep waters — 

Thursday, April 13, 2023

one hand and another hand

 Easter Thursday. Weather warms. Dog outside. Birds feed. Snow melts.

Do you love? Are you free? Can you feel? What you see? Let it be?

Empty house across road has voices in dooryard. Could be something changing. No house should be vacated too long. The house ghosts will think they are permanent residents. It is, after all, spring. Hughie's plowed piles of snow whittle down to small mounds surrounded by dazed lawn exiting hibernation.

The woman in Warren has workman building property fence to protect new 11 week puppy arrived last week.

Massage therapist writes she'll be moving to California for two years and will go see the wild parrots of telegraph hill.

Nice man who used to come by bookshop/bakery after wife died has himself died. His picture shows grown-out beard and hair in front of his canvases.

Dog and I walked steep snow-receding Northeaster ski run this morning then down hiking trail to Spinnaker and back to meetingbrook down to cemetery, yurt, chapel/zendo, bookshop, barn, house.

Windows are open in house. Full of birdsong. Breath. Stillness.

The gift of some sort of virus kept us at meetingbrook for our Holy Week retreat. It was fecund.

A friend left prison after 10+ years. I send him handshake emoji.


One and two shaking hands.

An engaged gasshō incorporating another's partial inter-relational interconnectivity -- one hand and another hand aspiring union. 

And unity.

An evocative univocity.

everything outside is our broken inside

 too much with us, yes

the world is such — late and soon — 

each thought, news story

fire, shooting, scandal, anger —

world replaces emptiness

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

so seldom do we trust what is here

At bottom there is

foundational ground, call it

God -- go ahead -- no

need be embarrassed, it is

this without comparison

what to my wandering ear should appear

 There are some things not

to be watched or listened to --

just aggravation --

if you want to hear the truth

there's a bird calling outside

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

eine gute rutsche*

 Finishing writing my waka on 'tuesday vigil" when, Doris sends poem as I posted it. 

This from sangha auntie**:

Missing the Dead

I miss the old scawl on the viaduct,

the crazily dancing letters:BIRD LIVES.

It’s gone now, the wall clean as forgetting.

I go home and put on a record,

Charlie Parker Live at the Blue Note.

Each time I play it, months or years apart,

the music emerges more luminous;

I never listened so well before.

I wish my parents had been musicians

And left me themselves transformed into sound,

or that l could believe in the stars

as the radiant bodies of the dead.

Then I could stand in the dark, pointing out

my mother and father to all

who did not know them, how thy shimmer,

how they keep getting brighter

as we keep moving toward each other.

-- Lisel Mueller

 *A good slide!

** Later on, at Tuesday Evening Conversation, she says she dislikes such designation. I'm grateful for this nonagenarian's encouragement to use it.

tuesday vigil

 one by one the dead

visit -- bro rick, greg c, my

former self -- time gone

by, cat across stomach, no

noise but dog exhaling near

life together

walking mountain path

mendicants separately

look back over lives

recall brief takuhatsu

their empty bowls prajna clean

prime community

 Mourning dove sings to

Cat at window screen, dawning

Ritual, April

Solo hebdomadary 

Incanting arising light

Monday, April 10, 2023

there is no easy out for secrecy

By and large do not

agree to keep secrets -- if

asked to, decline, say

you don't want to know, say that

only not knowing suites you

gratia plena

 There’s  not much to say

If you want to understand

Be still . . . try silence

Sunday, April 09, 2023

each is . . . all is . . . one . . . (easter, 2023)

has been shown to be

Resurrection is wisdom. 

Wisdom is resurrection.

Many do not trust or believe in wisdom. 

                                mirábilis facta est sciéntia tua,

your wisdom has been shown to be most wonderful, 

Missa - Antiphona

09 April, 2023

Today, for such, is just another day.

And it is.


Just another day.

May we
see this

new friendship

 walking mountain, dog

follows every scent across

planked rivulets -- 

having met Blossom for first

time, border collie puppy

easter in five words


 Mary . . .


Noli me tangere . . .


The zen saying is: Better to see the face than hear the name.

The Easter revelation is a koan.

Do not touch 'me'. 

I,my,mine,me are to be self-sacrificed.

The reality of God is we.

Our, union, unity, we, inter-are, together.

The face of resurrection is whatever the eyes see, ears hear, heart feels, mind enwraps within/without Itself.

This, this, is the teacher.

This is the teaching!

May we, each and all, be This-Easter!

Enso (formally spelled ensō) is a sacred symbol in Zen Buddhism meaning circle, or sometimes, circle of togetherness. It is traditionally drawn using only one brushstroke as a meditative practice in letting go of the mind and allowing the body to create, as the singular brushstroke allows for no modifications. While at first glance, the enso symbol appears no more than a misshapen circle, it symbolizes many things: the beauty in imperfection, the art of letting go of expectations, the circle of life, and connection. The enso is a manifestation of the artist at the moment of creation and the acceptance of our innermost self. It symbolizes strength, elegance, and one-mindedness.

(- Barbara Bash, February 2018)

this easter, ensō


From Lion's Roar:

Each Zen master has his or her own style, and that individuality is clearly expressed in the ensos they brush. Some Zen circles are perfectly symmetrical; others are completely lopsided. Some are done in one bold stroke; others are composed with two half circles. Some are thick and massive; others are thin and delicate. Most begin in the left-hand corner of the paper, but others start at the top or bottom.

Some enso paintings are naked and mysterious, but most have an accompanying inscription to serve as a “hint” as to the Zen meaning of the circle. “In heaven and on earth I am the Only Honored One!”- Shakyamuni’s bold declaration at his birth-is a popular inscription. Enso can represent zero, so the inscriptions Mu (nothing) or Honrai muichi motsu(Originally not one thing!) are common. A famous verse from the Chinese Zen poet Hanshan-“My heart is like the autumn moon’’-indicates that the enso symbolizes the moon-mind of enlightenment. Another inscription, “Within the ever revolving circle of human passions, things come and go, come and go,” represents a wheel.

Certain inscriptions on an enso painting serve as koan: “This is your parents’ face before they were born.” Since humor is an important element of Zen, sometimes the inscriptions are more impish: “Is this the moon? A rice cake? The top of a bucket? Or maybe just the bald head of a monk!”

Nakagawa Soen (1907-1984), one of the fathers of Zen in the West, loved to brush enso. My favorite Soen Zen circle is a “sun enso,” shown here, as opposed to the much more orthodox “moon enso,” inscribed with one of his haiku: “In broad daylight/everything comes together in a circle/and bears fruit.” Enso inscriptions can always be interpreted on several levels and have different shades of meaning. Perhaps Soen Roshi means “The brilliance of the truth reveals all, nothing can be hidden, and one’s fruit-good and bad actions-will be known.” Or from a more Zen perspective, maybe he is saying, “This sun enso symbolizes the perfect clarity and all-embracing nature of enlightenment that results in awakened acts.”

The most common inscription on enso paintings, however, is simply, “What is this?” leaving the interpretation up to the viewer. After asking this question on his painting of an enso, one Zen master added, “I don’t know either!”