Thursday, September 9, 2021

it’s their nature

Death of the Historic Buddha, Japan. 14th century, ink and gold on silk. 
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Now you too must learn to be satisfied with the many years
 you’ve already depended on your body. You should feel that it’s enough.

You can compare it to household utensils that you’ve had for a long time—
your cups, saucers, plates and so on. When you first had them 
they were clean and shining, but now after using them for so long,
 they’re starting to wear out. Some are already broken, some have disappeared, 
and those that are left are deteriorating: they have no stable form,
 and it’s their nature to be like that. Your body is the same way. 
It has been continually changing right from the day you were born, 
through childhood and youth, until now it has reached old age. 

Allow the mind to let go of its attachments. The time is ripe.

Even if your house is flooded or burnt to the ground, 
whatever the danger that threatens it,
 let it concern only the house. 
If there’s a flood, don’t let it flood your mind. 
If there’s a fire, don’t let it burn your heart.
 Let it be merely the house, that which is external to you, 
that is flooded and burned. Allow the mind to let go of its attachments.
 The time is ripe.

It is the same with your wealth, your possessions, and your family—
they are all yours only in name; they don’t really belong to you, 
they belong to nature.

It’s like the water of a river. It naturally flows down the gradient; 
it never flows against it, and that is its nature. If a person were to go
 and stand on a river bank and, seeing the water flowing swiftly 
down its course, foolishly want it to flow back up the gradient, 
he would suffer. Whatever he was doing, his wrong thinking 
would allow him no peace of mind. He would be unhappy
 because of his wrong view, thinking against the stream.

Find your real home
~  Ajahn Chah
excerpt from:
 First published on January 1, 1994 by permission of the Abbot, 
Wat Pah Nanachat, Thailand
found in Lions Roar

Monday, September 6, 2021

one light

‘I’ and ‘you’ are but the lattices,
in the niches of a lamp,
through which the One Light shines.
‘I’ and ‘you’ are the veil
between heaven and earth;
lift this veil and you will see
no longer the bonds of sects and creeds.
When ‘I’ and ‘you’ do not exist,
what is mosque, what is synagogue?
What is the Temple of Fire?

~ Mahmud Shabistari

Mahmud Shabistari was one of Sufi’s greatest poets of the 14th Century. Like Rumi, Shabistari lived in turbulent times. This period was often fraught with dangers, in particular the Mongol invasions brought much devastation. However Shabistari was able to write much poetry and synthesise much of the Sufi wisdom. He had a style similar to Ibn Arabi and expressed Sufi philosophy in a moving and simple language. As David Fieldler says of Shabistari

“ Shabistari possessed a unique genius for summarizing the profound and often complex teachings of Sufism in a beautiful, aphoristic, and concise fashion, which often leaves the reader speechless when the deeper meanings of his verse are grasped. “

The Secret Rose Garden by Shabistari Shabistari (1317 A.D.) must be reckoned among the greatest mystical poetry of any time or land. Treating such themes as the Self and the One, The Spiritual Journey, Time and this Dream-World, and the ecstasy of Divine Inebriation, Shabistari’s work is a perennial witness to the capabilities and destiny of humanity. Stressing the One Light that exists at the heart of all religious traditions, Shabistari's work is one of the clearest and most concise guides to the inner meaning of Sufism, and offers a stunningly direct exposition of Sufi mystical thought in poetic form.

~ Comments from Poet Seers


Whether drifting through life on a boat or 
climbing toward old age leading a horse, 
each day is a journey and the journey itself is home. 

~ Basho


Like ev'ry flower wilts, like youth is fading
and turns to age, so also one's achieving:
Each virtue and each wisdom needs parading
in one's own time, and must not last forever.
The heart must be, at each new call for leaving,
prepared to part and start without the tragic,
without the grief - with courage to endeavor
a novel bond, a disparate connection:
for each beginning bears a special magic
that nurtures living and bestows protection.
We'll walk from space to space in glad progression
and should not cling to one as homestead for us.
The cosmic spirit will not bind nor bore us;
it lifts and widens us in ev'ry session:
for hardly set in one of life's expanses
we make it home, and apathy commences.
But only he, who travels and takes chances,
can break the habits' paralyzing stances.
It even may be that the last of hours
will make us once again a youthful lover:
The call of life to us forever flowers...
Anon, my heart! Do part and do recover!

~ Hermann Hesse
translated by Walter A. Aue