Sunday, November 29, 2015

On Opening the Dharma

The Dharma, incomparably profound and minutely subtle,
is rarely encountered, even in hundreds of thousands of millions of kalpas;
We now can see it, listen to it, accept and hold it;
May we completely realize the Tathāgata's true meaning.

- Recited at each Dharma Assembly of the Diamond Sangha and Maui Zendo

On Compassion

"Compassion is not sentiment; it is not this woolly sympathy or empathy. Compassion is not something that you can cultivate through thought, through discipline, control, suppression, nor by being kind, polite, gentle, and all the rest of it. Compassion comes into being only when thought has come to an end at its very root."

"That which conforms can never flower in goodness. There must be freedom, and freedom comes only when you understand the whole problem of envy, greed, ambition, and the desire for power. It is freedom from those things that allows the extraordinary thing called character to flower. Such a man has compassion, he knows what it is to love."
- J. Krishnamurti
All true expressions of compassion come only after compassion itself exists within, in totality. Without a single discriminating thought, there is no separation, and thus a deep connection to all that is, what we can see and experience, and even what we cannot. It radiates outward from the center, like the roots and branches of a tree.

Heaven & Hell

"The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom. Prudence is a rich ugly old maid courted by Incapacity. He who desires but acts not, breeds pestilence. The cut worm forgives the plow. Dip him in the river who loves water. A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees. He whose face gives no light, shall never become a star. Eternity is in love with the productions of time. The busy bee has no time for sorrow. The hours of folly are measur'd by the clock, but of wisdom: no clock can measure. All wholsom food is caught without a net or a trap. Bring out number weight & measure in a year of dearth. No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own wings. A dead body, revenges not injuries. The most sublime act is to set another before you. If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise."
- William Blake

Wedding Readings

"People never stop to think that the greatest workers in the world have been those who bestowed the least thought on their own individualities.  Then alone does a man love when he finds that the object of his love is not any low, little, mortal thing.  Then alone does a man love when he finds that the object of his love is not a clod of earth, but is the veritable God Himself.  The wife will love the husband the more when she knows that the husband is God Himself.  The husband will love the wife the more when he knows that the wife is God Himself.  The parents will love their children the more when they know that the children are God Himself.  That man will love his greatest enemy who knows that very enemy to be God Himself.  That man will love a holy man who knows that the holy man is God Himself, and that very man will also love the unholiest of men because he knows that the background of that unholiest of men is even He, the Lord.  Such a man becomes a world-mover.  For him, the little self is dead and God stands in its place; for him the whole Universe becomes transfigured.  That which is painful and miserable will all vanish; struggles will depart.  Instead of being a prison-house, where every day we struggle and fight and compete for a morsel of bread, this Universe will then be to us a playground. Beautiful will be this Universe then! Such a man alone has the right to stand up and say, 'How beautiful is this world!' He alone has the right to say that it is all good."

From Jnana-Yoga by Swami Vivekananda, read on the day of my marriage to Josephine, 8/23/14 by  the maid of honor, Amanda Wilson

"You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days.
Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow."

- From The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, read on the day of my marriage to Josephine, 8/23/14 by the best man, Brian Bishop

Four Infinite Vows

These vows are set forth by the Diamond Sangha and recited three times in unison at the closure of a zazen session.

All beings without limit, I vow to carry over;
Kleshas without end, I vow to cut off;
Dharma gates without measure, I vow to master;
Buddha's Way without peer, I vow to fulfill.


"The Chinese thrush sings in my heart, and gray clouds gather in the empty sky of my mind. All things are my teacher." - Robert Aitken Roshi



Mu breathes Mu. In, out, in, out, in, out. Not automatic, not intentional, purely conscious, but just enough. With a deep breath in, Mu takes it all in, all the old energy, revitalized, and out again, breathing forms into matter, like a bubble wand they float off into space, some to pop, some to grow. Breathe yourself in, breathe yourself out. Outside of space-time, the game is over. Within, the scattering. Let's play. Let's have the realest experiences, let's get fully lost, and let's find ourselves in the darkest corners. Who is the one that is afraid? Who is the one that is anxious? Who is it that moves the hands, lifts the feet? Is it YOU? Who is the one that explores, that creates? Who is the you that you do not know? Mu breathes Mu. Who breathes your lungs when you're asleep? Who beats your heart when your attention is somewhere else? Who grows your hair, ever so slowly? Do you know how? If so, show me. It is like this. Mu breathes Mu. Who are you now, Brahman? Cuckoo, cuckoo... How do I know you? How do I know you were you just a moment ago? Not now, just then. When? You just missed it. What you can't put your finger on, here I am. A baby cries for its mother. The mother's heart floats. Here, little child, here I am. All together now, all proliferating. Supreme and conscious, ever so young, ever so ancient. Beyond time, beyond space. What is left? Drop it. The qualities are all empty, all full, complete. Cock a doodle DOOOOO!!!! Tweet-tweet. It is like this, but not exactly It. Who is the true yogi, I ask you? Who is the first Buddha? Who is the original rump shaker? The first mover? Who is it that forgets the one that remembers? May I have this dance, madame? An opening of the hand. The Dragon circles overhead. I will sit in the fire and walk the coals. Chick a dee! Chick a dee-dee! The animals know best, without knowing at all. Listen carefully. Feel deeply. Tread lightly, but surely. Where does this path go, or that one? Whack whack, cut back the brush. Trail blaze, set this road afire, wash it down with a light breeze on the skin. Ahhh....

The last survivors


November has come, the slight chill in the air that only comes once a year here, the hints of holidays forthcoming, the slight anticipation felt for the fact that another year will come to pass. Like each and every predecessor, it'll click by like every moment, identical yet unique, colored by the mode of experience, imbued with the life of consciousness... here, we live on lava, still cooled by the march of history. Are we the last living souls on Earth? In the solar system, the galaxy? Yes we are... the last survivors of evolution under a conditional environment. The last ones, for now. We're the descendants of heroes, hibernators, creators, warriors, slaves, kings, and bacterium. We're wired beyond the reaches of common thought, to adapt to anything and everything, to come together in peace, to split apart in war, to trade and exchange gifts, to trust and deceive. To become aware of the magic we possess, indeed it is a lifetime's journey. To know what is real, what is truth, what is wise, and what is not, a consummation of a process iterated for our lifetime times a million to the millionth. WE ARE THE PRIZE.

Three Headed Dragon


I enjoy the calm of the morning, the calls of the roosters come from the silence, signaling the start of pure possibility. Each day is a new path to trod, either a tried and true way, or a small detour down a new side-track. As long as you're choosing the way to go. Don't just hitch a ride on someone else's wagon. As we explore the infinite pathways, we explore our Self and what we're made of. What is the nature of your soul? What would you do automatically, without thinking even for a split second? We are one Dragon, one Being, though as life tests our strength, we see three aspects of the Dragon: the Mind, the Heart, the Body. The Heart is sometimes called the Soul, or the Spirit. There are many names for what we don't fully understand. Each piece has its role to play, each has its needs to be met. The Dragon must be able to fly where it wishes, and to feast on knowledge, wisdom, and physical reality as needed. It cannot be split or separated, isolated in a vacuum. They are parts of a body, a great body we often forget our membership of. We have brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters. We see our shared origin in the closest degrees, but not the furthest. We must not forget... The committee of the common Soul. The gifts we have been offered, from ourselves and by ourselves. A present you leave for your descendants, hidden in plain sight, as it's been left for you by your ancestors. We only must recognize it. When we truly see it, we are ready. It is in time, when it is ripe. There are no prerequisites, no requirements laid out, but for our lack of perception. When it is revealed, the obstacles that were overcome are specific to yourself. They are self-determined, whether we remember how they were put there or not, whether it was oneself who did, or a previous member. What we inherit has both sides of the coin. We accept each for its own worth, keep what serves the Soul, what we can offer to the committee, and what we can discard, to let dissolve into the Void, to abandon physical or mental structure, to reduce to the primordial dust. The patterns fade from view, they await the conditions to take a form and become visible again, to those who are fit to recognize and cherish them.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Law


Him and I, we're on different sides of the Law. We're from different tribes. I know him, at least I think I do, but I don't know, not really, not for certain. How can you really know someone like that? I see him from time to time, we catch only glimpses in the flash of an instant. I know he's there, even when I don't see, and I know he knows I am too. In the corner of a mirror, in the midst of a mid-night's dream, we meet each other's eye, just for a moment, and gone. The moment resounds, reverberates in my mind and my depth of feeling. It gives me pause, a light tremble, because I know he's always there, just beyond. The Shadow of my Self. Who is the third who walks always beside you? When you turn to look, then nothing. As fast as you can search, the faster he can hide. He lurks behind your eyes, just where you look through. He hides inside your ears, just behind your eardrums, the one thing that doesn't resonate from the sound moving through air, ever so slightly, he is just behind it. Too subtle for the most sensitive instrument to detect, barely too elusive. He is the thief who can never be caught. That's why I put him on the other side of the Law. He need not run, he need not fear, he need not hide. From what is there to hide from? He looks for me too. You catch it in the whiff of smoke, the call of a bird's morning song, the crash of a wave on the surf. As much as you can apprehend all at once, he's just beyond it. Who are you looking for, Shadow? Your many arms and many hands cannot reach me, without number and form. I live on the physical plane, we only see each other through the rarest angles, but still, I search for you. Always with me, but always just beyond. Without hesitation, you are the cloud jumper, the rock hopper, gliding from plane to plane with an effortless leap, a tap on the head, a lover's caress, an intense stare into the eyes of what you most abhor, the boom of a bass drum, the throbbing of a hopeful heart, the careful tie of a bow on the greatest Gift. Unwrap at your own discretion. "I live in all these things. I wait for you here, on the other side of the Law," he says to me in the quietest whisper, slipped into my ear as I wake from the deepest sleep. "Abandon your rules and doctrines, and here I stand," he tells me. Releasing all concepts and theories, allowing free movement of all kinds, the catcher becomes the caught, all at the same instant. The Law of impermanence is then absolved.