Archive for February, 2010

The mind has lost shore for a very long time.

The heart like a small “post-it” note, stuck and unstuck so many times, it has lost the sticky and has now fallen to the ground under Holy Feet.

The egoic like bread k(needed) too long. it shall not rise.

Modern culture and the ancient stone idols all have broken arms.

Words have become like a lonely child’s imaginary unicorns which alway flee at morning’s dawn.

Prayers in her language do not form, yet some old utterance from an unknown language deep within lifts the soul to Mother’s Holy Hands.

Her quest for spirituality as silly as ‘a dog thinking it must chase it tail to attain it’s tail’.

The world’s conditioned beliefs are little fools that pursue false dreams leading to blind alleys and box canyons.

None of her words about ideals, beliefs, opinions, thoughts and surely not this tattered little poem are real, another fatal blow to both the seeking and the seeker.

All the edges of the Gods and Goddesses are dissolving into formless One.

Longing for the Divine is like sitting by the great river crying for a sip of water.

Life is a surprise, moment to moment, resting in an awareness that does not know addition, only subtraction.

Her known world like a luminous bubble bursting into emptiness.

Like the bad Witch in The Land of Oz, the last words “What a world, What a world”.

She is ready to lose her world.


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Immovable Mind
By Yung-ming Yen-shou
(904 – 975)
English version by John C.H. Wu

You wish to know the spirit of Yung-ming Zen?
Look at the lake in front of the gate.
When the sun shines, it radiates light and brightness,
When the wind comes, there arise ripples and waves.
Yung-ming Yen-shou was the third patriarch of the Pure Land branch of Ch’an (Zen) Buddhism in China. He is said to have been a military official who converted from Confucianism to Buddhism.


Let’s contemplate this image Yung-ming has given us: What does a lake have to do with Zen practice and the nature of mind?

When the sun shines, it radiates light and brightness,
When the wind comes, there arise ripples and waves.

Like the mind, the lake naturally reflects its environment. When the sun is out, the lake/mind automatically “radiates light and brightness.” But when wind arises, the lake/mind’s surface is disturbed and disjointed.

Let’s carry this image a little further into the question of duality and unity. When the sun shines, the lake reflects that singular brightness. Witnessed from the right angle, you won’t see anything else but the shining radiance, all other detail consumed in the light.

Now let’s picture a blustery night. Even if the sky is clear enough to show us the moon, the choppy surface of the lake reflects not one moon, but a thousand moons, each jostling and crashing into the others.

This is how the perception of duality emerges in the mind. The surface of the mind becomes agitated. Rather than a single calm surface, a multiplicity of ripples and waves appear, move about, collide, and disappear again. And each wave has it’s own incomplete reflective face, each with its own fragmented snapshot of reality, in conflict with the thousand other slightly different images.

But are there truly a thousand moons in the night sky? Of course not, just the one. But the only way to discover this is to bring the lake’s surface to quiet stillness again. It doesn’t even require any effort. The mind’s “water” naturally returns to a still, placid state. All we must do is cease to agitate the surface.

Only then do we discover the one moon at night. Only then do we properly radiate the sun’s brightness.

One last thing I’d like to point out: Even during the most violent storm, no matter how much the surface of the lake churns and crashes, in its depths the lake remains still and at peace.

Ivan from Poetry chaikhana

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