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

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Thank You Caroline



Mary Oliver, “Invitation” in REDBIRD (Boston: Beacon Press, 2008) pp. 18-19.



Invitation

Oh do you have time
   to linger
       for just a little while
          out of your busy


and very important day
   for the goldfinches
      that have gathered
         in a field of thistles


for a musical battle,
   to see who can sing
      the highest note,
          or the lowest,


or the most expressive of mirth,
   or the most tender?
      Their strong, blunt beaks
          drink the air




as they strive melodiously       
not for your sake        
 and not for mine
and not for the sake of winning
   but for sheer delight and gratitude—
      believe us, they say,
         it is a serious thing


just to be alive
   on this fresh morning
      in this broken world.
        
 I beg of you,
do not walk by
   without pausing
       to attend to this
           rather ridiculous performance.



It could mean something.
   It could mean everything.
      It could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote:
         You must change your life.






----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
And do you have time for babies,
time for rain puddles,
And time to splash?

Bows to my little Teacher

Alan



Saturday, March 24, 2012

Pointing At Mu!











So I continue my journey with "MU", with "God", with "I am", with "Truth", with "Life", with "The Way".

But now It doesn't so much look like a journey as just "NOW". Putting it like James Finely might put it, I would call it "the immediacy of the present moment".

Here is a long quote from Finley's book Christian Meditation:

Someone out in the desert writing the word water over and over in the sand is really onto a great idea. But when we are really thirsty, all ideas of water prove to be wholly inadequate, leaving us as thirsty as ever. In fact, thinking of water makes us even thirstier. It is even more so with God. Our own thirst for God might be awakened in reading the verse in the Psalms “As the deer longs for running streams, so my soul thirsts for you, my God” (Ps. 42:1). We might know that it is the Spirit of God within us that has awakened this thirst. But the verse and the insights surrounding it do not

Finley, James (2009-10-13). Christian Meditation (Kindle Locations 2870-2875). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition. 
quench this thirst but only cause it to grow stronger. The more this thirst for God grows, the more apparent it becomes that not even the most true and revealed thought about God is God. The stronger the desire for God grows, the more we realize that every idea of God, in being finite, is infinitely less than God, who is infinite. Therefore, to the extent that we cling to any idea of God, clinging to that idea of God will be an obstacle to God. Thinking about God increases our thirst for God but does not quench that thirst. We come to realize that the only way to know God is to pass beyond the frontiers of thought by way of a loving awareness that realizes what the head cannot comprehend. And so we sit in meditation, gently and persistently freeing ourselves from our customary reliance on thinking and all that thinking can attain. We do not do this by banishing or annihilating thought, but rather by learning to establish ourselves in a nonthinking stance of being present, open, and awake to each thought that enters our mind as we meditate.
Finley, James (2009-10-13). Christian Meditation (Kindle Locations 2875-2882). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition. 

Take this quote and substitute the word "mu" for the word "water" mentioned in the first sentence and "mu" for "God" mentioned in the rest of the piece.

I am trying to "...pass beyond the frontiers of thought by way of a loving awareness that realizes what the head cannot comprehend"


Bows


Alan

Saturday, March 17, 2012

MU

SOME RECENT THINKING,MEDITATING,RETREATING, DISCUSSING, PRAYING,LIVING,BEING HAVE BROUGHT ME TO THIS:
Verses on the Faith-Mind
By
Seng-ts’an
Third Zen Patriarch
Translated from the Chinese by
Richard B. Clarke
White Pine Press
 
THE GREAT WAY IS NOT DIFFICULT
FOR THOSE NOT ATTACHED TO PREFERENCES.
WHEN EITHER LOVE NOR HATE ARISES,
ALL IS CLEAR AND UNDISGUISED.
SEPARATE BY THE SMALLEST AMOUNT HOWEVER,
AND YOU ARE AS FAR FROM IT AS HEAVEN IS FROM EARTH.
IF YOU WISH TO KNOW THE TRUTH,
THEN HOLD TO NO OPINIONS FOR OR AGAINST ANYTHING.
TO SET UP WHAT YOU LIKE AGAINST WHAT YOU DISLIKE
IS THE DISEASE OF THE MIND.
WHEN THE FUNDAMENTAL NATURE OF THINGS IS NOT RECOGNIZED
THE MIND’S ESSENTIAL PEACE IS DISTURBED TO NO AVAIL.
THE WAY IS PERFECT, AS VAST SPACE IS PERFECT,
WHERE NOTHING IS LACKING AND NOTHING IS IN EXCESS.
INDEED, IT IS DUE TO OUR GRASPING AND REJECTING
THAT WE DO NOT KNOW THE TRUE NATURE OF THINGS.
LIVE NEITHER IN THE ENTANGLEMENTS OF OUTER THINGS,
NOR IN IDEAS OR FEELINGS OF EMPTINESS.
BE SERENE AND AT ONE WITH THINGS
AND ERRONEOUS VIEWS WILL DISAPPEAR BY THEMSELVES.
WHEN YOU TRY TO STOP ACTIVITY TO ACHIEVE QUIETUDE,
YOUR VERY EFFORT FILLS YOU WITH ACTIVITY.
AS LONG AS YOU REMAIN ATTACHED TO ONE EXTREME OR ANOTHER YOU WILL NEVER KNOW ONENESS.
THOSE WHO DO NOT LIVE IN THE SINGLE WAY
CANNOT BE FREE IN EITHER ACTIVITY OR QUIETUDE,
IN ASSERTION OR DENIAL.
DENY THE REALITY OF THINGS AND YOU MISS THEIR REALITY;
ASSERT THE EMPTINESS OF THINGS
AND YOU MISS THEIR REALTY.
THE MORE YOU TALK AND THINK ABOUT IT,
THE FURTHER YOU WANDER FROM THE TRUTH.
SO CEASE ATTACHMENT TO TALKING AND THINKING,
AND THERE IS NOTHING YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO KNOW.
TO RETURN TO THE ROOT IS TO FIND THE ESSENCE,
BUT TO PURSUE APPEARANCES OR “ENLIGHTENMENT” IS TO MISS THE SOURCE.
TO AWAKEN EVEN FOR A MOMENT
IS TO GO BEYOND APPEARANCE AND EMPTINESS.
CHANGES THAT SEEM TO OCCUR IN THE EMPTY WORLD
WE MAKE REAL ONLY BECAUSE OF OUR IGNORANCE.
DO NOT SEEK FOR THE TRUTH;
ONLY CEASE TO CHERISH OPINIONS.
DO NOT REMAIN IN A DUALISTIC STATE;
AVOID SUCH RASH HABITS CAREFULLY.
IF YOU ATTACH EVEN TO A TRACE OF THIS AND THAT, OF RIGHT AND WRONG
THE MIND-ESSENCE WILL BE LOST IN CONFUSION,
ALTHOUGH ALL DUALITIES ARISE FROM THE ONE,
DO NOT BE ATTACHED EVEN TO IDEAS OF THIS ONE.
WHEN THE MIND EXISTS UNDISTURBED IN THE WAY,
THERE IS NO OBJECTION TO ANYTHING, THINGS CEASE TO BE-IN THE OLD WAY.
WHEN NO DISCRIMINATING ATTACHMENT ARISES,
THE OLD MIND CEASES TO EXIST.
LET GO OF THINGS AS SEPARATE EXISTENCES
AND MIND TOO VANISHES.
LIKEWISE WHEN THE THINKING SUBJECT VANISHES 
SO TOO DO THE OBJECTS CREATED BY MIND.
THE ARISING OF OTHER GIVES RISE TO SELF;
GIVING RISE TO SELF GENERATES OTHER.
KNOW THESE SEEMING TWO AS FACETS
OF THE ONE FUNDAMENTAL REALITY.
IN THIS EMPTINESS, THESE TWO ARE REALLY ONE-
AND EACH CONTAINS ALL PHENOMENA.
IF NOT COMPARING, NOR ATTACHED TO “REFINED” AND “VULGAR”-
YOU WILL NOT FALL INTO JUDGMENT AND OPINION.
THE GREAT WAY IS EMBRACING AND SPACIOUS-
TO LIVE IN IT IS NEITHER EASY NOR DIFFICULT.
THOSE WHO RELY ONN LIMITED VIEWS ARE FEARFUL AND IRRESOLUTE:
THE FASTER THEY HURRY, THE SLOWER THEY GO.
TO HAVE A NARROW MIND,
AND TO BE ATTACHED TO GETTING ENLIGHTENMENT
IS TO LOSE ONE'S CENTER AND GO ASTRAY.
WHEN ONE IS FREE FROM ATTACHMENT,
ALL THINGS ARE AS THEY ARE,
AND THERE IS NEITHER COMING NOR GOING.
WHEN IN HARMONY WITH THE NATURE OF THINGS, YOUR OWN
FUNDAMENTAL NATURE,
YOU WILL WALK FREELY AND UNDISTURBED.
HOWEVER, WHEN MIND IS IN BONDAGE, THE TRUTH IS HIDDEN,
AND EVERYTHING IS MURKY AND UNCLEAR,
AND THE BURDENSOME PRACTICE OF JUDGING
BRINGS ANNOYANCE AND WEARINESS.
WHAT BENEFIT CAN BE DERIVED
FROM ATTACHMENT TO DISTINCTIONS AND SEPARATIONS?
IF YOU WISH TO MOVE IN THE ONE WAY
DO NOT DISLIKE THE WORLDS OF SENSES AND IDEAS.
INDEED, TO EMBRACE THEM FULLLY IS IDENTICAL WITH TRUE ENLIGHTENMENT.
THE WISE PERSON ATTACHES TO NO GOALS
BUT THE FOOLISH PERSON FETTERS HIMSELF OR HERSELF.
THERE IS ONE DHARMA, WITHOUT DIFFERENTIATION.
DISTINCTIONS ARISE FROM THE CLINGING NEEDS OF THE IGNORANT.
TO SEEK MIND WITH THE DISCRIMINATING MIND
IS THE GREATEST OF MISTAKES.
REST AND UNREST DERIVE FROM ILLUSION;
WITH ENLIGHTENMENT, ATTACHMENT TO LIKING AND DISLIKING CEASES.
ALL DUALITIES COME FROM IGNORANT INFERENCE.
THEY ARE LIKE DREAMS, PHANTOMS, HALLUCINATIONS-
IT IS FOOLISH TO TRY TO GRASP THEM.
GAIN AND LOSS, RIGHT AND WRONG:
FINALLY ABANDON ALL SUCH THOUGHTS AT ONCE.
IF THE EYE NEVER SLEEPS,
ALL DREAMS WILL NATURALLY CEASE.
IF THE MIND MAKES NO DISCRIMINATIONS,
THE TEN THOUSAND THINGS
ARE AS THEY ARE, OF SINGLE ESSENCE.
TO REALIZE THE MYSTERY OF THE ONE-ESSENCE
IS TO BE RELEASED FROM ALL ENTANGLEMENTS.
WHEN MOVEMENT STOPS THERE IS NO MOVEMENT-
AND WHEN NO MOVEMENT, THERE IS NO STOPPING.
WHEN SUCH DUALITIES CEASE TO EXIST
ONENESS ITSELF CANNOT EXIST.
TO THIS ULTIMATE STATE
NO LAW OR DESCRIPTION APPLIES.
FOR THE REALIZED MIND AT ONE WITH THE WAY
ALL SELF-CENTERED STRIVING EASES.
DOUBTS AND IRRESOLUTIONS VANISH
AND THE TRUTH IS CONFIRMED IN YOU,
WITH A SINGLE STROKE YOU ARE FREED FROM BONDAGE;
NOTHING CLINGS TO YOU AND YOU HOLD TO NOTHING.
ALL IS EMPTY, CLEAR, SELF-ILLUMINATING,
WITH NO NEED TO EXERT THE MIND.
HERE, THINKING, FEELING, UNDERSTANDING, AND IMAGINATION
ARE OF NO VALUE.
IN THIS WORLD “AS IT REALLY IS”
THERE IS NEITHER SELF NOR OTHER THAN SELF.
TO KNOW THIS REALITY DIRECTLY
IS POSSIBLE ONLY THROUGH PRACTICING NON-DUALITY.
WHEN YOU LIVE THIS NON-SEPARATION,
ALL THINGS MANIFEST THE ONE, AND NOTHING IS EXCLUDED.
WHOEVER COMES TO ENLIGHTENMENT,
NO MATTER WHEN OR WHERE,
REALIZES PERSONALLY THIS FUNDAMENTAL SOURCE.
THIS DHARMA-TRUTH HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH BIG OR SMALL,
WITH TIME AND SPACE,
HERE A SINGLE THOUGHT IS AS TEN THOUSAND YEARS.
NOT HERE, NOT THERE-
BUT EVERYWHERE ALWAYS RIGHT BEFORE YOUR EYES.
INFINITELY LARGE AND INFINITELY SMALL: NO DIFFERENCE,
FOR DEFINITIONS ARE IRRELEVANT
AND NO BOUNDARIES CAN BE DISCERNED.
SO LIKEWISE WITH “EXISTENCE” AND “NON-EXISTENCE.”
DONT WASTE YOUR TIME IN ARGUMENTS AND DISCUSSION
ATTEMPTING TO GRASP THE UNGRASPABLE.
EACH THING REVEALS THE ONE.
THE ONE MANIFESTS AS ALL THINGS.
TO LIVE IN THIS REALIZATION
IS NOT TO WORRY ABOUT PERFECTION OR NON-PERFECTION.
TO PUT YOUR TRUST IN THE HEART-MIND
IS TO LIVE WITHOUT SEPARATION,
AND IN THIS NON-DUALITY YOU ARE ONE WITH YOU LIFE-SOURCE.
WORDS! WORDS!
THE WAY IS BEYOND LANGUAGE,,
FOR IN IT THERE IS NO YESTERDAY 
       NO TOMORROW
NO TODAY

Monday, March 12, 2012

Reducing The Sauce For A More Concentrated Flavor




"It's not something that you necessarily think about and it's not something that you believe in. Essentially, it's not even philosophical or religious. Zen's something you do, an actual way to live"
Lin Jensen from Sweeping Zen Interview 

Sunday, March 11, 2012




I spent a few days this past week sitting Zazen and receiving the Eucharist before the icon you see there in the picture.
I made an attempt to sit for longer periods of time.


How successful was I?


Who is picking and choosing?


I spent a few days sitting Zazen and receiving the Eucharist before the icon you see there in the picture.

Was it a meaningful time?




We shall not cease from exploration 
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time. 

     T.S. Eliot -- "Little Gidding" (the last of his Four Quartets)


To know and to be known.

Consummating!

Bows to my teachers,

Alan