Holes

Sun filters through holes left behind..

Sun filters through holes left behind..

All things come and go, come into being then go back again. Sometimes we feel we are left with a huge hole… or where something once was and now is no longer there.

We can reminisce and we can look ahead. We can hide in the past and we can hide in the future. Sometimes it is important to think about the past and future, but we must always be careful to not get trapped there.

So they say, ‘Today is the first day of the rest of your life’….

Is there any other day?

 

 

Luna Fish

LunaFish. She wasn't always looking this grumpy!

LunaFish. She wasn’t always looking this grumpy!

One of my cats had been suffering with an illness that was not going to get any better. She was slowly starving to death and my wife and I decided that we should not let her suffer any longer. What a horrible position to be in, to decide in taking a life. What a worse place for my cat to be in.

Luna-Fish was her name. She was born in Woodstock, New York and flew over when my wife and I moved to England. She was your typical ‘scared-e-cat’. She got spooked by any abrupt noise or movement. Plastic bags and guitars were the worse!

Now, I know cats can’t speak, lol, but she was telling me it was her time. She asked in her own way. She knew. The day the vets came to the house (She was such a gentle and skittish kitty, that we wanted to put her to sleep at her home, to be as comfortable as possible), that day, I had her on my bed. My wife and I took turns sitting with her while the other watched our kids. Luna had spent the past few weeks living under the bed. She loved under there, but it had become the only place she stayed. I crawled underneath to pull her out. She wasnt happy about it, but she also didn’t really stop me either. I put her on top of the bed. And we just sat. And sat. I cried, oh bucket loads of tears. Luna understood.

My mother-in-law took over watching the kids, so my wife and I spent some time together with Luna. She was in constant pain, but now, at that time, she seemed to let go of her suffering, she was, well, relieved. And she was so strong, so brave. She laid up against my leg and rested her head, her chin on my thigh. It was complete gratefulness and love. She was ready. It was horrible yet beautiful. My wife reminded me to be happy for Luna, not sad, but my heart poured tears.

I miss Luna. Where did she go? I don’t know but I wish her well and thank her for being part of my family. She was such a special cat.

 

Some concepts on conception.

Is this a hole? What value does this definition provide? Knowing when to use tools and when to put them down is the art of non-attchment. The Buddha left his raft behind for us. When we cross the shore, it is time to let it adrift, no matter the love and gratitude we hold for it.

Is this a hole? What value does this definition provide? Knowing when to use tools and when to put them down is the art of non-attchment. The Buddha left his raft behind for us. When we cross the shore, it is time to let it adrift, no matter the love and gratitude we hold for it.

Sometimes it feels like the Universe lets us know it is happy with what we are doing. Sometimes I think too much and conceptualize things that no concept can contain.

In fact, as soon as something is defined or conceptualized, it kills off potential possibilities. This is a double-edged sword, of course.

For example, water freezes at 32 F, or 0 C. Now, that can be a very, very useful definition! However, if one attaches themselves firmly to that definition, they kill the possibilities where this might not be true. So, if someone was on a mountain top, expecting their water to freeze at 32 F, they would be ill-prepared when it didn’t freeze at that temperature! Now, this isn’t a science lesson, but it has to do with atmospheric pressure. So, you can expand the definition of the freezing point of water with qualifiers, such as it will freeze at 32 F at sea level. I could go on and on. But the point is, that even good useful definitions are restrictive. But that’s what makes them so useful in the first place! It is focusing energy, like making a knife. The tip of the knife penetrates so well because of the potential energy stored in the blade and handle. It focuses the energy to a small point.

So what is my point? (no pun intended actually, but i like the pun now reading it, haha). The point is that concepts are dangerous. But they are not to be shunned. In Buddhism, conceptualization, of Enlightenment, for example, is a sure-fired way not to realize Enlightenment! However, that does not mean to disregard concepts. The key is about attachment. All our thoughts, our thinking minds, they are ALL concepts. So long as we do not attach ourselves to them, then we will be fine!

So, thinking mind is Buddha mind too… but just do not attach to that concept, lol!

To Buddha or not to Buddha?


Forest Hermitage, Warwickshire, UK

Forest Hermitage, Warwickshire, UK

Being born, in Buddhist terms, means that one is still ‘stuck’ in samsara, stuck in continual rebirth. Not free. Being born is already a mistake.

How depressing! lol.

It is sort of like Original Sin in Christianity. I do not know much about Christianity so I can’t comment much, but I think the idea behind these two thoughts are the same.

So, being born means being born into an unenlightened state.

In Buddhism, being born a human is the best thing to be born… we are very lucky to be human. Even beings ‘above’ us like gods and goddesses, spirits and the like can not experience the freedom realized through Enlightenment. Nor can hungry ghosts and animals.

Now, I feel this is a dangerous model of sorts, as it may serve to boost ones ego, separating them further from Enlightenment. But of course, it can serve as a wonderful motivator for many.

Writing or speaking about Enlightenment is avoided by many Buddhists, including myself. I can liken it to why Muslims do not practice ‘idol worship’. They do not believe images of Mohammad should be created… because once you try to define or describe him, you always fall well short and do a great disservice. Now, in Buddhism, idol worship is OK. Many many Buddha statues everywhere!! But Buddhists, we need to be careful not to let our love and gratitude for the Buddha’s teaching to be obscured by images and statues in his likeness. Hui Neng, the sixth patriarch of Ch’an (Zen) Buddhism beat a copy of the Diamond Sutra with a stick. His point was about this danger… attaching to words, teachings, even the Buddha himself. That’s why there’s a saying in Buddhism, “If you meet the Buddha, you must kill the Buddha!”

I personally feel the benefits of having Buddha images in my home outweigh the potential dangers. They remind me that it is possible to realize our Enlightened nature. They remind me that the Buddha was a man, a human, nothing more, nothing less. He suffered and he worked hard to figure out how to stop this. He taught the Way. He also taught, as he was dying, for us to be lamps upon our own selves. Our Enlightened nature is within us, or rather among us.

Lets not fear talking about Enlightenment. It is the goal of all Buddhists, is it not? Of course, making it a goal destroys it. That’s why it is sometimes called the goalless goal! lol. Oh these tricky Buddhists! I sometimes hate talk like that! Just tell me the answer, not riddles! hahaha.

When Dogen said that Time-Being is a sixteen foot Buddha statue, he meant it. What does that mean?! Just tell me! hahaha.

May all beings realize their inherent Enlightened nature and for love to continue to spread throughout the Universe.

Helping others

Boddhisattva’s vow… a beautiful heart.

zenandsewing

If in my entire life I just help one person find the door to liberation from suffering I will be very happy with what I accomplished.  If I just helped one person live without fear what could be greater.  But as  one who aspires to be a Bodhisattva I vow to save all beings even though not a single being exits.  #Chan  #Zen

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Bam!

The Universe is exploding with wonder and dleight!

The Universe is exploding with wonder and delight!

In my last post, I wrote that compassionate acts are the Way. I also wrote that acts of horrific violence are also the Way. I feel I need to ensure it is clear what I mean by that. I do not condone acts of violence. Acts of violence will not help dissolve the illusion of our ego-mind. In very practical terms, they are not the Way. However, what I was doing, was referring to the operation of the Universe. In one sense, if any actions do not violate the laws of physics, then they are the Way of the cosmos. The Way is not merely the laws of physics though.

So, what am I saying? I suppose it is all about natural function and flow. I am reminded of the following comic:

cartoon

Now, a penguins natural function is not to climb trees. It can sure as hell try, and may even get somewhere. What is a humans natural function? What is you natural function?

Now, of course, the great thing about evolution is that animals (and plants, etc) can adapt so over time, a penguin would become an excellent tree climber!* So, there is a dance. We must learn our natural function and be in tune with that, but also be open to the fact that our ‘natural function’ is empty of inherent substance. It is always in flux. So we dance with our abilities, what we have been adapted to do, along with those things we are not adapted to do and therefore sometimes we trip and fall flat on our face!

I have veered away from my point however, lol. In the end, our natural function is about allowing the Universe to flow freely through us, beyond us. Our ‘free will’ and our ‘fate’ both dissolve into meaningless…. Neither exist as the Universe flows.

When we dissolve our ego-minds, who is left to experience free will or fate? Both are illusionary traps.

I trust the Universe and the Universe trusts me, we make the best team, the natural team, its our natural function, is it not?

 

*I seem to recall that maybe there are some tree climbing penguin species down in South America’s tip perhaps. Maybe I am wrong though!

Crow Time

Crow dancing with the Universe

Crow dancing with the Universe

Sometimes there are no right answers, yet this is the Way.

Sometimes the answer is crystal clear, and this is the Way.

The saying goes.. the Sun will still rise tomorrow, and this is the Way.

One day, billions of years from now grant you, the Sun will not rise tomorrow, yet this is the Way.

Triumphs and follies, compassionate acts and acts of horrific violence, they are all the Way.

The ‘Way’ is nothing more and nothing less than the Universe, all that is. It flows… sometimes smoothly without hindrance, sometimes rocky yet no hindrance is inherent in that hindering rockiness.

This Time has happened long ago and yet has never happened yet… but only is ever happening Now. Sometimes, we can see that the future actually flows into our Present and this changes the past.

How many times has this experience happened? Only once, yet countless of billions of times as well. Our counting minds, like crows counting up to 5 or 6, do not understand, yet the crow knows how to look past its counting and spread its wings and trust the abilities it has.

I can’t count that high, but that’s ok, my heart counts with a different mathematics and always gets the correct sum.

Black feathers ruffle in the gusting wind, head bobs up and down, flying to the ground. A worm awaits and is ripped apart and nourishes the counting-less heart. Caw Caw Caw.

Free your heart, full of love and understanding and let the tears stream down your face. Caw Caw Caw!!!

Who Do We Meditate For?

Buddha at the Forest Hermitage

Buddha at the Forest Hermitage

Who do we meditate for?

Ourselves?

Our Children?

Everyone?

No one?

All beings?

Meditation for

anyone or anything, be it ourselves, all beings, enlightenment, lower blood pressure… is dangerous!

Haha! Lower blood pressure is dangerous? Of course not!

Meditation for ….fill in the blank….. may be incredibly useful and powerful, but that’s not what the Buddha was getting at. Meditation for…. existed for a long time before the Buddha was born. Meditating for….. is dangerous because it instantly separates … and when all that is, empty of independent nature, separation is illusion.

Mediation is a sort of confirmation of the wholeness of all that is. It helps the Universe to flow freely. Just as eating raw vegetables over greasy cheeseburgers will help your blood flow more in tune with its natural function, meditation without purpose becomes the purpose itself.

 

May all beings not suffer.