Monk In The World

To be a monk is to have time to practice for your transformation and healing. And after that to help with the transformation and healing of other people.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years Eve Haiku





Last day of the year
It’s December thirty-one
Now, the only time




And yet we are told in the Evening Gatha -
"time passes swiftly"


We have  31 556 926 seconds of "Now" to be part of in this coming year!


May Your Year Go Well

Bows,
Alan

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Walking The Narrow Road, Don't Fall To Either Side




From Affirming Faith in Mind by Chien-chih Seng-ts'an
The Great Way is not difficult
for those who do not pick and choose.
     When preferences are cast aside,
     the Way stands clear and un-disguised.

But even slight distinctions made
set earth and heaven far apart.
     If you would clearly see the truth,
     discard opinions pro and con.

To founder in dislike and like is nothing but
the mind’s disease.
     And not to see the Way’s deep truth
     disturbs the mind’s essential peace.

The Way is perfect like vast space,
where there’s no lack and no excess.
     Our choice to choose and to reject
     prevents our seeing this simple truth.

Copied From Jack Daw's site at greatplainsbuddha.com 

bows,
Alan

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Southern Blizzard



This is about the best we can do down here in this part of Georgia where I live. But hey, we appreciate the simple things. Just had to post this because it is an uncommon expereince. Actuallly been snowing on and off all day. Just too wet to stick from the rain last night. North Georgia is another story. My little piece of of the storm. Smiles.


Alan
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Morning - Christmas Haiku

Children being born
Today we recognize one
Some say he's God's son


Merry Christmas!
May we all discover our true nature!

Bows,
Alan

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve - Silent Night...Silent Path


I have immersed myself into Thomas Merton during this advent season. It has been an interesting journey for me. Merton is my spiritual father in so many ways. He showed me a way and continues to show me a way of living this path that makes the most sense to me.

Reading Merton again at this point on this path has been pivotal for me in one particular way.

 In all that he says, it all seems to end in emptiness, no form, no conceptualization, stripping away of the ego (false self), dropping body and mind, being still, just breathing, just taking the next breath, the next step.


Silent night, Silent night, Silent, Silent, Silence...

I'll go wash my bowl now.

Bows and Merry Christmas,
Alan                                                                    

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Just This


Lots to think about here but thinking won't get us anywhere.


ALTHOUGH THE FORM OF THE QUESTIONS MAY CHANGE, THE PATH OF TRANSFORMATION REQUIRES A CONTINUING FOCUS ON THE EXPERIENCE OF EMPTINESS BECAUSE IN ORDER TO CONTINUE DOWN THE PATH, ONE LEARNS THAT ONE MUST DIE. AT SOME POINT ALONG THE PATH, ONE COMES FACE TO FACE WITH ONE'S OWN DEATH, IN TWO WAYS. THE FIRST WAY ONE CONFRONTS ONE'S DEATH IS LITERALLY IN COMPREHENDING THE FACT THAT ONE WILL INEVITABLY DIE. WHILE EVERYONE KNOWS THIS INTELLECTUALLY, ITS SIGNIFICANCE IS LARGELY IGNORED BY MOST PEOPLE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. A PERSON ON A PATH OF TRANSFORMATION TRAVELS WITH THIS FACT AS A MANTRA, A KOAN OR A MYSTERY, USING THAT FACT AS A FOUNDATIONAL REFERENCE POINT TO JUDGE AND EVALUATE ALL DECISIONS, ISSUES AND EVENTS. THE SECOND WAY IN WHICH ONE CONFRONTS ONE'S DEATH IS IN THE DEATH OF THE EGO...
From Journeys Into Empitness by  Gunn





The following lengthy quote, written by Merton just before his death, echoes with the insight into the true self. The quote serves as a fitting conclusion of this small book and the message it has tried to convey: 

The Three Doors  (they are one)

1. The door of emptiness. Of no-where. Of no place for a self, which cannot be entered by a self. And therefore is of no use to someone who is going somewhere. Is it a door at all? The door of no-door.

2. The door without sign, without indicator, without information. Not particularized. Hence no one can say of it "This is it. this is the door." It is not recognizable as a door. It is not led up to by other things pointing to it: "We are not it, but that is it---the door." No signs saying "Exit." No use looking for indications. Any door with a sign saying "Not-door." Or even "No exit."

3.The door without wish. The undesired. The unplanned door. The door never expected. Never wanted. Not desirable as a door. Not a joke, not a trap door. Not select. Not exclusive. Not for a few. Not for many. Not for. Door without aim. Door without end. Does not respond to a key---so do not imagine you have a key. Do not have your hopes on possession of the key.

There is no use asking for it. Yet you must ask. Who? For what? When you have asked for a list of all the doors, this one is not on the list. When you have asked the Numbers of all the doors, this one is without a number. Do not be deceived into thinking this door is merely hard to find and difficult to open. When sought it fades. Recedes. Diminishes. Is nothing. there is no threshold. No footing. It is not empty space. It is neither this world nor another. It is not based on anything. Because it has no foundation. Because it has no foundation, it is the end of sorrow. Nothing remains to be done. therefore there is no threshold, not step, no advance, no recession, not entry, no nonentry. Such is the door that ends all doors; the  unbuilt, the impossible, the undestroyed, through which all the fires go when they have "gone out."...This one door is the door of the Palace of Nowhere...Come with me to the Palace of Nowhere where all the many things are one."

From Merton's Palace of Nowhere

Bows to the Great Mystery,
Alan

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Transcendence and Rootedness

I'm reading Robert Jingen Gunn's

Journeys into Emptiness -  Dogen, Merton, Jung and the Quest for Transformation.

He states:
So the religious quest is a search for wholeness, for the manifestation of one's true self, and at the same time, for a rootedness in that which transcends the personal self.
pg. 40
This evokes for me a vertical image, stretching infinitely up but finitely down. I think that makes sense. It speaks to me about making the connection. You know that feeling when putting a puzzle together and the piece slips into the space just perfectly. It's a settling feeling.

As I think about this season, It's incarnated for me in having the kids and grandchildren home for Christmas.
That's a connection!
How does this speak to an experience of "emptiness"? Don't have a clue!

How does relate to the cello?
I don't know, just love that picture!

Welcome home Kids!

Love Daddy and Grampa

Thursday, December 16, 2010

On A Personal Note - Happy Birthday Babe! A Birthday Poem for You






12-16-49





IF




If I could write you a poem on your birthday,

What would I say?

I know as I get older with you,

It’s not the words that matter,

It’s just simply the way we “be” together.

So maybe the best poem I could write

Would be to come and sit with you,

To come and just hold you,

To come and just be with you

And to let us simply breathe together

This life we have birthed between the two of us.



Happy Birthday Laurie

Love,

Alan

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Decorations Are Fingers Pointing to the Moon


I came home last night and when I walked into the house I said to my wife, "I love this season, why can't it always be like this!?"


And I was again reminded that all the festive feelings and decorations are just fingers pointing to the moon. We certainly should enjoy all that they create in our lives but remember that they are all pointing to something that maybe has no color, no smell, no form, no sensation. And yet at the same time we can enjoy all the colors, smells, forms and sensations that draw us into this festive season.


The truth is it is "always like this"! We just have to have the eyes to see and the ears to hear. Or maybe no eyes, no ears, maybe no picking and choosing, no discrimination...JUST THIS




Maha Prajña Paramita
Heart Sutra

Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva, doing deep Prajña Paramita,
Clearly saw emptiness of all the five conditions
Thus completely relieving misfortune and pain.
Oh Shariputra, form is no other than emptiness,
Emptiness no other than form;
Form is exactly emptiness, emptiness exactly form.
Sensation, conception, discrimination, awareness are likewise like this.
Oh Shariputra, all Dharmas are forms of emptiness:
Not born, not destroyed; not stained, not pure, without loss, without gain.
So in emptiness there is no form, no sensation, conception, discrimination, awareness.
No eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind; no color, sound, smell, taste, touch, phenomena.
No realm of sight, no realm of consciousness; no ignorance and no end to ignorance,
No old age and death, no end to old age and death,
No suffering , no cause of suffering, no extinguishing,
no path, no wisdom and no gain.
No gain and thus the Bodhisattva lives Prajña Paramita,
With no hindrance in the mind.
No hindrance, therefore no fear.
Far beyond deluded thoughts, this is Nirvana.
All past, present, and future Buddhas live Prajña Paramita.
And therefore attain Añutara-Samyak-Sambodhi.
Therefore know Prajña Paramita is the great mantra,
The vivid mantra, the best mantra, the unsurpassable mantra.
It completely clears all pain.
This is the truth not a lie.
So set forth the Prajña Paramita mantra,
Set forth this mantra and say:
Gate Gate Paragate! Parasamgate! Bodhi Svaha! Prajna Heart Sutra!

Bows,
Alan

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Thin Places

I ran across this term for the first time today.

I got the following quote from an article by Sylvia Maddox. She offers the quote in her article. No, I don't know who Sylvia Maddox is, I just like the quote.


 There is a Celtic saying that heaven and earth are only three feet apart, but in the thin places that distance is even smaller.
Here again is this suggestion of "intimacy". I have long said that for me, experiencing a moment of intimacy, whether it be with another human being or some part of nature or just an object in my presence, is an experience of the "Holy". Now I have another word for that...


Thin Places...

But there is a sense for me that when we enter that thin place it should not be noted, it should not be labeled, it should simply be experienced. As soon as there is a word given, the experience is gone. Do you sense what I am getting at here?

If so, don't say a word!

Bows
Alan

Saturday, December 4, 2010

"Zen is everyday life", Karen Maezen Miller



I heard the above quote during a radio interview Karen Miller did recently. It speaks volumes to a lay practitioner who does not have a sangha and continues to make the effort to practice faithfully. 

Where the rub is for me is to use this kind of thinking as a way of excusing my zazen at times. But I'm pretty familiar with my own mind games at this time in my life. There really are no excuses for me not to sit. It is a matter of choice. Truth is, zen can't be "everyday life" if it is not supported by zazen. 

Karen also mentioned in that interview that zen is not a belief, not a philosophy. This too is what pulls me so strongly to this practice. It is about doing the very next thing I have to do with awareness. And in doing life this way I am again embraced by that wonderful experience of INTIMACY. Obviously, a difficult daily practice.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was reading Merton's Palace of Nowhere again for Advent. James Finley states in this book that "authentic religious expression" is the "highest expression of human awareness and desire." He states:

This becomes clear in reference to Merton. His writings are sometimes philosophical or theological, sometimes poetic or anthropological, but they are always religious. Indeed, his whole life was fundamentally religious. That is to say, all his actions, talents and ambitions were finally focused solely upon the goal of achieving  transforming union with God.
As he expressed it:
Whatever I may have written, I think it can all be reduced in the end to this one root truth: That God calls human persons to union with Himself with one another in Christ.

Whatever you may believe about God or about who Jesus was in this wonderful story, it still seems to me that the above thoughts also point to this INTIMACY.

Maybe "authentic religious expression" is the same as living life with deep awareness, seeking to be intimate with each and every moment.

Zazen is such a path. Being mindful is an expression of being in union. Why do we have to name it? Why not just experience it? As soon as we name it we have limited it!

Enjoy your "Everyday life" today!

Bows,
Alan

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Today, Consciously Be Compassionate







We should continually focus our mind on Great Compassion. But what is Great Compassion? It is relieving the pain and suffering of others and helping them. It is through helping others that we can experience 'true happiness'—a state of constant joy.

—Venerable Master Cheng Yen
Quote taken from the Dana Wiki website.

Bows,
Alan

Sunday, November 28, 2010

First Sunday in Advent

As we begin the season of Advent, I have decided to read again, Merton's Palace of Nowhere by James Finley. Merton was Finley's spiritual director at Our Lady of Gethsemane Monastery in Kentucky the five or so years he was there. I read this book on a retreat many years ago.

I began this morning and was pleased to find the following quote, which speaks to my own personal spiritual journey in a lot of ways.

Any serious daily practice of interior prayer will give some taste of the following experience: You sit in prayer. On the surface there is nothing. Yet, as the noise of your next thought falls away, as you allow the silence to deepen around and within you, you discover that you are on the trackless waters on which Jesus bid Peter to walk in order to be united with him. To use the imagery of Saint John of the Cross, there is a path to walk with "no light except the one that burns in your heart." You set out to find him who calls you out of nothingness to union with himself. You set out knowing that you must find God, yet the first step leaves you lost. An inner wisdom tells you that "to reach him whom you do not know you must go by a way you do not know."

In all my "exploring", as one poet has put it, I have come to believe that the experience of this mystery we call "God" in the Christian tradition,  is the experience of intimacy. I have also come to believe that this same "God experience" is no different from what seems to be suggested in the Soto Zen tradition as waking up to the reality that we are one, not two, pointing, it seems to me, to this experience of intimacy.

There are those close to me who wonder if I believe in "God" because I practice zazen. The answer is yes. But the answer is also that my understanding of this mystery is simply different than their understanding.

So somewhere in my journey I had to make the decision  "to reach him whom you do not know you must go by a way you do not know."


My zazen has been that "way you do not know" and has allowed me to make an attempt to strip away a lot of conditioning about who "God" is , looking for the purest experience, the most naked experience of this "one, not two".

Advent is about anticipation. I am always excited about anticipation. So I will let "it", "him", "her" be what it will be and wait, taking the next breath, and waiting again.

Bows,
Alan

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Holiday Zazen

When it comes to the holidays and my Zazen, I let unfold that which unfolds and pay attention (most of the time). The house is now full of children and grandchildren (one outside the womb and the other in the womb). My zazen posture is completely different during this time.

True zazen is when we actualize our practice in all that we do. We hopefully come to the place where we can actualize the fundamental point in all that we do. This is what I think, anyway. I am still very new at this practice. I am not saying that sitting is not important. I am saying that if we put sitting in the right perspective we don't have to fight against the current of what is happening in our lives when we can't do proper zazen.

So what does that posture look like during the holidays:
Cooking a meal with attention
Changing a diaper with attention
Emptying the garbage every hour with attention
Holding this new precious life with attention

Well, you get the picture.

Ted Biringer, over at Flatbed Sutra says:

 From Bodhidharma, the traditional first Zen ancestor in China, to Thich Nhat Hanh, the contemporary Vietnamese Zen master and author, all the authentic masters agree, seeing true nature is the goal of Zen.


Is not paying attention to this one thing we are doing the path to seeeing the true nature? Is this not Zazen?


Well, I need to go practice, the baby is crying!


Bows,
Alan

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Shovel, Dirt and a Root





A student was discussing with his teacher the Koan Mu. The student was told by the teacher, "Keep digging at it!" The student replied, "How can I keep digging at it if I don't know what the shovel looks like?"

The teacher responded, "The handle of the shovel is zazen, the blade is the question, "What is mu?" and the dirt, of course, is mu - but what is it really?"
Later the student read in a book the following quote, "You try to cut off the root of consciousness by sitting."




Digging, tossing dirt, cutting roots...when you cut something away from its life source what is left? You would think something would die. Then again, maybe what one is cutting is a root that has been grafted onto an original root and what the plant has become is a hybrid, not what it originally was. Then it would make sense to cut away from this root.


Truth is, there is too much thinking going here and not enough sitting. Maybe grace is not free. Maybe grace does cost something.


Bows to the teacher,


Alan





Saturday, November 20, 2010

Let Me (AGAIN) Respectfully Remind You!

One of my wife's students (15 year old boy) died last night after battling some kind of acute hematology event over the last three days. Again we are all reminded that death is no respecter of person, age, economic class, faith or any other discriminating factor that you can throw into the mix. My wife will have to return to school on Monday and face seventh, eighth and ninth graders, probably with a lot of questions. She teaches at a very conservative Christian School. There were a lot of prayers going up for this young boy over the last three or four days. I hope this becomes a growing experience for all concerned and not something that is just tucked away with a lot of hackneyed Christian phrases, burying the pain of loss in this situation.

We (as a family) have spent the last four weeks celebrating the new life of our first grandchild. This new life that we have will some day lose it's life, hopefully many, many, many years from now. But death will come to her, to her mother and to her father. Nothing is permanent. And of course to the one who is writing these words. None of us probably want to think about that! But it would seem to me it should be "thought" about! Does it seem morbid to contemplate the death of my granddaughter? I don't think so. I think it causes me to appreciate this very precious life that has be given in ways maybe I would not, although that seems hard to believe, considering how I feel as a new first time grandparent. But as time goes by I'm sure that it is possible to even take this grand parenting event for granted.
Let me respectfully remind you,
    life and death are of supreme importance.
Time swiftly passes by, 
    and opportunity is lost.
Let us awaken, 
    awaken.
Take heed, 
    do not squander your life.

So what do we end up awakening to? 
Well, I think one of the things we wake up to is the fact of impermanence! And that is growth.
I hope some of these kids can be reminded of that in this event they now have to experience. Not to the point of fear, even though this is fearful, especially for these young ones but to the point of "seeing" life more clearly!

I hope they have people who walk through this with them in a real way, feeling the pain, the anger, the fear, the doubt and all those other things that come with grief.

I hope someone will allow them to "live the questions" and not just provide the answers.

Life is "Just This"! This key stroke, this letter, this word, just this!

Pay Attention!  Wake Up!

bows,
Alan

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Learning TO Bend Into Life

I have been re-reading Opening the Hand of Thought , the Foundations of Zen Buddhist Practice

Quoted in this book is Uchiyama Roshi's final poem, completed on the last day of his life:

JUST BOW

Putting my right and left hands together as one, I just bow.

 Just bow to become one with Buddha and God. 

Just bow to become one with everything I encounter.

 Just bow to become one with all the myriad things. 

Just bow as life becomes life.

This speaks to me so profoundly! 
This is body/mind practice. This is being intimate with what is before you. This is actualizing the fundamental point with body/mind.
What would my day be like today if I put my right and left hands together, and just bowed to this one wonderful life I have?


Nine Bows to Uchiyama Roshi!!!!!

Alan

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Fundamental Point



When you see forms or hear sounds fully engaging body-and-mind, you grasp things directly,
Dogen
Well, the truth is, she has been the "point" of everything this week and to hold her in your arms is to simply experience her form, her life, her sounds, her, completely, directly!

Gassho New Teacher

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Wisdom


Practice is like Willie Nelson's guitar.
 Restringing life everyday allows this old skin sack to play the music it was intended play.

Bows,
Alan

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Simplicity and The Sacredness of Routine

Speaking of "routine", I normally post on Saturdays and Sundays here but because I am off this week spending time with my new granddaughter, I have been posting more.


As I have stated in earlier post, my wife and I came here this week to serve in whatever capacity was needed while these folks develop a practice with this new life, a routine, if you will, and of course, to bond with our new granddaughter.


It has been somewhat of a retreat experience for me and my wife. Don't get me wrong, it's busy! But the daily routines seem to offer a simplicity to life which allows one to feel the sacredness of it all.


I can't tell you the last time my wife and I spent a week just being in a regular daily routine around household chores. Lest I forget, it has not been the easiest thing for my wife. She has gotten up with the baby on occasions but otherwise, we have been here, doing what is needed. No bells, no whistles, no big attractions, no loud music, no super restaurants. Just this simple life, helping these two young people enter a new era in their lives.


The simplicity and routine (over-layed by the occasional complexity and chaos of a new born) has been another reminder to me about how life has so much to offer in it's nakedness. Just turn and be in your life in a simple way and see and taste that it is good, meaningful. This is not to deny all the possibilities of pain and suffering. But might this kind of living even have something to offer to those parts of our lives also?


The thread that has always run through my spiritual quilt has been "intimacy". And here again I recognize that thread in the midst of this week of simplicity and routine. And it is this "intimacy" that smells of the sacredness.


Deep Bows to Intimacy,


Alan


P.S.
Mother and Daughter still working on "routine", if you know what I mean.



Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Myriad Things



To carry yourself forward and experience myriad things is delusion. That myriad things come forth and experience themselves is awakening.

The Genjo Koan
Dogen

To say that I know this personally and can actualize it's meaning in my life would be a lie. To say that I thought of this text as I was reflecting on my new experience as a grandfather would be the truth.

These thoughts came to me as I was sharing with a friend about my new experience as a grandfather.
As important as all the questions are, even more important is to live the answers.
 Rilke in his Letters to a Young Poet said:
"Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer."
This experience may be my beginning to live my way into the answers.

And maybe you can live ALL the answers by simply doing what is right in front of you with great mindfulness, great compassion, integrity, love and a sincere desire to understand what is needed in this very moment that would benefit the other.

This has been the intention of my practice since arriving here on Saturday. Trying to do whatever is needed of me, trying not to pick and choose, to respond to whatever is given to me in the moment. What is presented in every moment is The Question. Responding with loving kindness and compassion is The Answer.

Do I do this perfectly? Of course not! But as I have written before, I perfectly intend to respond in the right way to what is needed.

The question and the answer is always right before us. The question is Just this. The answer is to respond to "Just this". And then to take the next breath.

My new Zazen.

Bows,

Alan

Monday, November 1, 2010

Relationship-Centered and Mindfulness

As some of you know, I am the chaplain for a private medical oncology practice. One of the messages we try to send to patients and their families is that we are a "relationship-centered practice". That is not a statement I take lightly. Being relationship-centered requires great effort. I don't know if the powers that be know that this statement about our practice is related to, if not the same as, the practice of "mindfulness".

Mindfulness requires that there be some form of practice that a person is involved in which teaches them the skill of staying center, being in the moment, being centered. Each person in our practice has the tool to practice this: The simple act of conscious breathing.

My wife and I are spending a week with the precious life pictured above. I am realizing how important "relationship-centered" is in this situation. I must practice mindfulness this week. I must be where I am and offer what is needed. This is the utmost relationship-centered kind of practice.

My life right now, this moment is JUST THIS. Of course it is always JUST THIS.

May her life go well and may I be mindful.

Trying to breath consciously,

Alan

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Knowing -Believing

You should know that so far as buddha-nature is concerned, there is no difference between an enlightened man and an ignorant one. What makes the difference is that one realizes it, while the other is ignorant of it.
The Platform Sutra of Hui-neng, Wong Mou-Lam & A. F. Price
Thanks to Ted Biringer, The Flatbed Sutra blog fame, for the above quote 

I looked for a picture to express this "knowing-believing title but could not find one that was suitable, so being a first time grandparent, well, you get the picture.
Anyway, there is so much to say about knowing and believing. The discussion could go on for a long time. But in my  spiritual journey, just "believing" does not work for me anymore. I need to know, I need to experience something for myself. I need to own it. It needs to be mine. 

Here's the bump in the road I trip over though. 

There has to be some kind of "believing" in order to be motivated to do what you can do, so you can "know". It seems to me (and this has been my Christian experience) that too many people just stop at "believing". They just receive what has been given without serious work on their part to "own" it for themselves. Yes, that is a generalized statement. Yes, there are Christian mentors in my life that have done the hard work of "working out their own salvation" and they have made an impact in my life. In fact, they are the ones who gave me the freedom to begin this practice of Zazen. 

Nine bows to them! 

I'm rambling now. I was afraid to start this reflection for this very reason. One could go on and on about it.

This is not an Us vs Them. This is about discovering the truth for all of us, which in the end resides in all of us, from the beginning until the end. If there is a beginning and an end.

The difference is the "ignorance".

Sentient beings are numberless
I vow to save them all

Bows,
Alan

Saturday, October 30, 2010

SEEING WITH MIRROR EYES





This is my granddaughter Caroline, seven days old. I think it takes a while for babies to be able to focus with their eyes. I wonder though, if she could see with focused eyes, would she see what we see now or would she see what we saw before all the conditioning?

What a wonderful new teacher in my life!

Nine bows to you Caroline,
Alan

Monday, October 25, 2010

What Is This "Kingdom"?




MARK 10




13 People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. 14But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. 15Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.’ 16And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.


What is this "kingdom" Jesus speaks about? 
Is it a place to BE?
or
Is it a way to SEE?
Bows,
Alan

John Lennon - Imagine

Saturday, October 23, 2010

There You Are Sweet Caroline - 10-22-2010

Is this the little one who reached out to me from the womb? Is this the little one who I have called to so many times over these past nine months? Well, it is! There you are Sweet Caroline. And good times never seemed so good!

May your life go well, Sweet Caroline
May you discover your gifts, Sweet Caroline
May you understand love before you give it, Sweet Caroline
May you receive love, genuine love, with open arms, Sweet Caroline
May you be blessed by all that is holy and sacred, Sweet Caroline
May your mind be full of wonder, amazement, not just as a child, but in all your days here on this earth, Sweet Caroline
May you forgive us as we fumble in our own imperfect ways to teach you about love, life and relationships, Sweet Caroline
May we be strong enough to let you be you and not something we have created in our own images, Sweet Caroline
May we not cling so tightly that we cripple your precious wings to fly into your own sky and be free, Sweet Caroline

Love and Happy Birthday (10-22-2010)

Grampa

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Spiritual Muscles

I recently started changing some of my exercise routine. "They" say this shocks the body and can get it jump started to the next plateau. At sixty, I'm just happy to be on a plateau, truth be known. Anyway, I switched up a little - walking, riding a stationary bike, elliptical all in one week. I usually just put in about five or six miles on the elliptical about five days a week. I actually felt some soreness in some muscles from this adventure, proving that I was challenging my body in some new ways.

I also changed my sitting schedule, thinking I need to jump start that in some new way. I went the whole week without sitting and just did some reading of some historical fiction. I had a friend who told me this week that my reading was too skewed. I had to agree with him on that. Since I had my new kindle, I decided to take his challenge and read outside the Zen box.

I want to thank my friend for the challenge. I have been lost in that book this week and learned some very interesting history about our country. You might say that I am a little more enlightened than I was last week.

I truly believe that Zazen is the most important practice I can do in this path that I am on. But if I become dogmatic about that, I forget about the myriad things.

 °
To study the Buddha way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be actualized by myriad things. When actualized by myriad things, your body and mind as well as the bodies and minds of others drop away. No trace of realization remains, and this no-trace continues endlessly.
                                                Dogen - Genjokoan

I say all this to say that this week was a good week of practice.

9 Bows to the myriad things,

Alan

 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Objectifying and Mu

tr.v. ob·jec·ti·fiedob·jec·ti·fy·ingob·jec·ti·fies
1. To present or regard as an object:
2. To make objective, external, or concrete:


American Heritage dictionary





How is it possible to answer the question, "What is mu?"


How about - "mu!"

Bows,
Alan