Sunday Morning

Junipers in the forests outside Warsaw.
I didn’t know that junipers like sand.
They stand, huddled, like secret, silent figures in hoods.
They walk behind us. I turn to look.
They stop in their tracks, like monks.

~ Anna Kamienska, from A Nest of Quiet: A Notebook, trans. Clare Cavanagh from Poetry Magazine, May 1, 2012


Photo: Marek7 with Forest in Kampinos National Park in on the north-west outskirts of Warsaw

Ah!

orca-killer-whale-pod-drone

The first word “Ah”
blossoms into others
All of them true.

~ Kukai,  774–835,  Japanese monk, civil servant, scholar, poet.


Notes:

But, not yet have I reached that bright life or that white happiness – not yet.

bell-church-monk-russia-kosnichev

Men and women of faith who pray – that is, who come to a certain assigned place, at definite times, and are not abashed to go down on their knees – will not tarry for the cup of coffee or the news break or the end of the movie when the moment arrives. The habit, then, has become their life. What some might call the restrictions of the daily office they find to be an opportunity to foster the inner life. The hours are appointed and named; they are the Lord’s. Life’s fretfulness is transcended. The different and the novel are sweet, but regularity and repetition are also teachers. Divine attentiveness cannot be kept casually, or visited only in season, like Venice and Switzerland. Or, perhaps it can, but then how attentive is it? And if you have no ceremony, no habits, which may be opulent or may be simple but are exact and rigorous and familiar, how can you reach toward the actuality of faith, or even a moral life, except vaguely? The patterns of our lives reveal us. Our habits measure us. Our battles with our habits speak of dreams yet to become real. I would like to be like the fox, earnest in devotion and humor both, or the brave, compliant pond shutting its heavy door for the long winter. But, not yet have I reached that bright life or that white happiness – not yet.

~ Mary Oliver, Long Life: Essays and Other Writings


Art: Oldsamovar (Art by Alexanderliech Kosnichev)

 

Not a single inch of grass

desert-air-george-steinmetz-photograph

“The Master, addressing the assembly, said, “Brothers, it is the beginning of autumn, and the end of summer. You may go east or west, but you should go only to a place where there is not a single inch of grass for ten thousand li.” After pausing for a while he asked, “How does one go to a place where there is not a single inch of grass for ten thousand li?”

Later this was related to Shih-shuang, who said, “Why didn’t someone say, ‘As soon as one goes out the door, there is grass’?”

The Master, hearing of this response, said, “Within the country of the Great T’ang such a man is rare.”

-The Record of Tung-Shan



Who Binds You?

wind, flow


Who binds you?
A monk asked Seng ts’an, “Master, show me the way to liberation.”
Seng ts’an replied, “Who binds you?”
The monk responded, “No one binds me.”
Seng ts’an said, “Then why do you seek liberation?”


Credits: Image – Madam Scherzo. Quote:  whiskeyriver.blogspot.com.  This is an Ancient koan / teaching story.  Seng Ts’an is the third Zen ancestor in China.

Counterpunch?

buddhism

Patient acceptance is often considered a weak and passive response to problems that we do not have the power or courage to solve. In reality, however, being patient is far from being passive. There is nothing strong or courageous in reacting to hardship or insults with anger – all we are doing is being defeated by our delusions.”

~ Geshe Kelsang Gyatso (from “How to Solve Our Human Problems”)


Kelsang Gyatso is a Buddhist monk, “meditation master, scholar, and author” of 22 books based on the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism. He was born in Tibet in 1931 and ordained at the age of eight. After leaving Tibet, he spent eighteen years in retreat in the Himalayas in India.  He subsequently became a teacher and founder of spiritual centers.  He retired as General Spiritual Director of the NKT-IKBU in August 2009 but continues to write books and practice materials. (Source: Wiki)


Note to Self: Patience (Still seeking).  Acceptance (Try it. Just once.).  Delusions (Thank you Monk Master for the ah ha moment.)


Credits: Image – kadampa.org.  Quote – Thank you Sun Dog

Zeke + Buddhist Monk + Almonds = Enlightenment!

zeke staring at almond9:15 pm.  June 26, 2012.

Zeke, our four-year old Vizsla, has excellent hearing and smell.  But not for the bird hunting discipline that he was bred for – – but for California Blue Diamond Smokehouse Almonds.  From a room away, he can hear a 1/2 turn on the top of the plastic Almond container.  If he’s outside and comes inside, his nose goes 911 when he sniffs a whiff of a single nut.

Zeke and I have a routine each night.  He waits for Dad’s snack time before bed time when Dad and Zeke share a heaping handful of almonds.  Most days, it’s one for Zeke, one for Dad, one for Zeke, one for Dad.  (OK, sometimes Dad cheats on the allocation when Zeke isn’t looking. OK, OK, more than sometimes.)

Zeke wolfs down his Almond without breaking his eye lock with Dad.  No chewing.  Straight down the gullet.  1 Almond.  2 Almonds.  3 Almonds.  Same pattern.  He gives me the same desperate look that he might miss out on his share if he breaks his stare.   (Those eyes are telling me that he knows that I’m cheating him out of his allocation.)

I proceed to tell him that “maybe you should chew your almonds and enjoy them rather than just scarfing them down without tasting them – maybe you won’t keep begging for more.” (I’m no different that you other dog owners.  I believe he understands me but he just doesn’t want to cooperate.)

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