Monday, February 7, 2011

beauty and love



Look at something which you have seen which is actually marvelously beautiful: a statue, a poem, a lily in the pond, or a well-kept lawn. And when you see such a piece of beauty - no, no, when you see such, not piece - when you see such beauty what takes place? 
At that moment, the very majesty of a mountain makes you forget yourself. Right? Have you ever been in that position? When you have seen that you don't exist, only that grandeur exists. But a few seconds later or a minute later the whole cycle begins, the confusion, the chatter. 
So beauty is where you are not. Have you understood this? Do you understand, sir? Oh, what a crowd! The tragedy of it. Truth is where you are not. Beauty, love is where you are not. Because we are not capable to look at this extraordinary thing called truth.

~ J. Krishnamurti
from a talk in Bombay, January 31st 1982


the call away


A cold wind flows over the cornfields;
Fleets of blackbirds ride that ocean.
I want to be in that wild, be
Outdoors, live anywhere in the wind.

I settle down, with my back against
A shed wall where no one can find me.
I stare out at the box elder leaves
Moving in this mysterious water.

What is it that I want? Not money,
Not a large desk, a house with ten rooms.
This is what I want to do: To sit here,
Take no part, be called away by wind.

~ Robert Bly
from Eating the Honey of Words: New and Selected Poems

to a writer of reputation

... the man must remain obscure.
                                   ~ Cezanne

Having begun in public anonymity,
you did not count on this
literary sublimation by which
some body becomes a "name" -
as if you have died and have become
a part of mere geography.  Greet,
therefore, the roadsigns on the road.
Or perhaps you have become deaf and blind,
or merely inanimate, and may 
be studied without embarrassment
by the disinterested, the dispassionate,
and the merely curious,
not fearing to be overheard.
Hello to the grass, then, and to the trees.
Or perhaps you are secretly
still alert and moving, no longer the one
they have named, but another,
named by yourself,
carrying away this morning's showers
for your private delectation.
Hello, river.

~ Wendell Berry
from Given


to bring ourselves to birth


One of the lovely things about being a human is that we are called in each moment to bring ourselves to birth.
Part of the difficulty of our times is that we have reduced the magnificent adventure of being a human being to endless, wearisome projects of self-improvement and self-analysis according to the flattest and most boring maps that could be made

~ John O'Donohue
from Beauty the Invisible Embrace


Friday, February 4, 2011

any road

its logical; if you're not going anywhere
any road is the right one 

~ Ikkyu Sojun (1394 -1481)
he was known his teaching and for his erotic poems and revolutionary shakuhachi music. 
he founded what became known as the "Red Thread," or erotic school of Zen.

under the day

To come back like autumn
to the moss on the stones 
after many seasons 
to recur as a face
backlit on the surface
of a dark pool one day
after the year has turned
from the summer it saw
while the first yellow leaves
stare from their forgetting
and the branches grow spare
is to waken backward
down through the still water
knowing without touching
all that was ever there
and has been forgotten 
and recognize without
name or understanding
without believing or
holding or direction
in the way that we see
at each moment the air.

~ W.S. Merwin
from The Pupil


the comet museum


So the feeling comes afterward
some of it may reach us only
long afterward when the moment 
itself is beyond reckoning
beyond time beyond memory 
as though it were not moving in 
heaven neither burning farther
through any past nor ever to 
arrive again in time to be 
when it has gone the senses wake
all through the day they wait for it
here are pictures that someone took
of what escaped us at the time
only now can we remember

~ W.S. Merwin
from The Pupil


the beauty of the heart


The beauty of the heart
is the lasting beauty:
its lips give to drink
of the water of life.
Truly it is the water,
that which pours,
and the one who drinks.
All three become one when
your talisman is shattered.
That oneness you can't know
by reasoning. 


~ Rumi


Thursday, February 3, 2011



Ryokan's Hut 
located at the present day Gogo-an temple in Niigate prefecture Japan

Blending with the wind, 
Snow falls; 
Blending with the snow, 
The wind blows. 
By the hearth 
I stretch out my legs, 
Idling my time away 
Confined in this hut. 
Counting the days, 
I find that February, too, 
Has come and gone 
Like a dream.

~ Ryokan
from Dewdrops on a Lotus Leaf: Zen Poems of Ryokan
 translated by John Stevens


Wednesday, February 2, 2011




Like the little stream 
Making its way 
Through the mossy crevices 
I, too, quietly 
Turn clear and transparent.

~ Daigu Ryokan (1758-1831)

from Dewdrops on a Lotus Leaf: Zen Poems of Ryokan
 translated by John Stevens


remembering now


You think you will never forget any of this, you will remember it always just the way it was. But you can't remember it the way it was. To know it, you have to be living in the presence of it right as it is happening. It can return only by surprise. Speaking of these things tells you that there are no words for them that are equal to them or that can restore them to your mind. And so you have a life that you are living only now, now and now and now, gone before you can speak of it, and you must be thankful for living day by day, moment by moment, in this presence.

But you have a life too that you remember. It stays with you. You have lived a life in the breath and pulse and living light of the present, and your memories of it, remember now, are of a different life in a different world and time. When you remember the past, you are not remembering it as it was. You are remembering it as it is. It is a vision or a dream, present with you in the present, alive with you in the only time you are alive.

~ Wendell Berry
thanks to whiskey river




Elsewhere shows pictures as language
where no words exist.
Elsewhere describes vague places;
undefined and only to be discovered intuitively.
Visual moments elude clear descriptions.
Elsewhere touches edges of perception
and gives the suppressed attention.
Elsewhere is fleeing
away from here.
From finding without searching.
It needs the here
to be elsewhere.
At the place studying the unknown
far away, understanding home.
Longing as a companion.
Elsewhere unifies contradictions.
It overcomes inside and outside.
In the distance it is narrow.
Elsewhere is noise in the silence.
Shocks are dull and quiet.
Elsewhere raises questions
merely for the sake of the questions.
And causes contented comfort to be questionable.
Sometimes it is cold from the inside.

~   Mareile Mack
with thanks to Crashingly Beautiful


Tuesday, February 1, 2011


The shallow “I” of individualism can be possessed,
 developed, cultivated, pandered to, 
satisfied: it is the center of all our strivings for gain and satisfaction, 
whether material or spiritual.

But the deep “I” of the spirit, of solitude and of love, 
cannot be had, possessed, developed, perfected.
 It can only be, and act, 
according to the inner laws that are not of man’s contriving,
 but which come from God. . . .
It is beyond limitation. It is beyond selfish affirmation.

~ Thomas Merton

cease clinging and hankering

Many students come to see me from all over the place. 

Many of them are not free from their entanglement with objective things. 
I treat them right on the spot. 
If their trouble is due to grasping hands, I strike there.
 If their trouble is a loose mouth, I strike them there.
 If their trouble is hidden behind their eyes, it is there I strike. 
So far I have not found anyone who can set himself free.
 This is because they have all been caught up in the useless ways of the old masters. 
As for me, I do not have one only method which I give to everyone,
 but I relieve whatever the trouble is and set men free.

Friends, I tell you this: there is no Buddha, 
no spiritual path to follow,
 no training and no realization. 
What are you so feverishly running after? 
Putting a head on top of your own head, you blind idiots? 
Your head is right where it should be. 
The trouble lies in your not believing in yourselves enough. 
Because you don't believe in yourselves 
you are knocked here and there by all the conditions in which you find yourselves. 
Being enslaved and turned around by objective situations,
 you have no freedom whatever, you are not masters of yourselves. 
Stop turning to the outside and don't be attached to my words either. 
Just cease clinging to the past and hankering after the future. 
This will be better than ten years' pilgrimage..

~ Master Lin Chi Yi-Sen

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Dissolver of sugar, dissolve me


Dissolver of sugar, dissolve me,
if this is the time.
Do it gently with a touch of a hand,  or a look.
Every morning I wait at dawn.  That's when
it's happened before.  Or do it suddenly
like an execution.  How else
can I get ready for death?
~ Rumi