Contentment, Sufficiency and Adequacy…

I am in this wonderful spot of not knowing anything.

I have no real plans; my expectations are so limited that

I cannot give voice to them. My disappointments are so

Vaporous they never appear fully, and yet this is not a

Dream I’m living in. This is the nature of the

World, and of  my memories and desires, and wants and of

Perceived needs. Perceived mis-needs are like

Perceived mis-deeds.

They are simply mistakes, yes

Mis-takes on reality. Often I don’t see clearly. Until,

Until, I slow down Sufficiently and see the world as a Gift. Then

Contentment flows naturally, for I see the Adequacy in

All of life as it appears so naturally in this that I claim as

Mine.

So many variations of perception. So many interpretations of what is real and what is worthwhile. One’s head does, and should, spin. Yet, if I make the choice to sit by myself for just a few minutes each day and display my willingness to just see, not judge, a slight clarity develops.

If I were to have been raised in a a big cardboard box that allowed no light in, and I lived there for 67 years I would naturally base all of my life on the knowledge I gained in the darkness. If however, a pinhole appeared, somehow; in that box, letting in a tiny amount of light, my whole world would be different. I would have a brand new context for all of my previous understanding of the world I live in. That pinhole is the few minutes I attend in sitting by myself each day.

Pain A gain?…

Pain. Our obsessive cranky teacher
Stalks the Body and demands
We listen. We attend to the
Repetition and droning of
Its teaching. Slowly it recedes,
Waving half-hearted goodby as we
Scramble to remember why, and all
We have to show for it is a Scar.
Yet, we are the better for it.
The mystery and the power of the
Healing wounds we endure is
In the Stillness of Not Self.

I just wrote the above to a good Friend who is recovering from another major surgery. To bear the pains of old age, some of them the price extracted for the careless presumptuous ways we treated, and depended upon, our bodies.

Action is the doer of karma, feelings the reaper. We experience “our karma” through feelings for things we did or set in motion in the past. That we can’t often remember what it was we set in motion or may have done in the past, does not release us from the reaping  (through feelings) of that karma. Karma is an inexorable law of the universe. Like gravity.

So, when we experience our karma we have some choices. These choices can have us railing against how we are feeling (about anything), or we can see our feelings as teachers that have come to show us something about ourselves, for our own good.

My friend in pain is in the fortunate position of being able to train with her karma (pain and it’s concomitant feelings) in the mode of acceptance and learning from that teacher.

I suspect she is in great pain, but not in great suffering. A slight shift in how we choose to see something can alleviate all the suffering of the world. Very difficult to do though, so we do our best in the circumstance we are in. Right now. And then, again…

Altered States…

A long 14 day journey. In part pilgrimage.

A week at our monastery for the Daijukai (Receiving the Precepts), retreat. Very vivid, very informative. I learned a lot by just seeing how we all worked in unison even when we didn’t. Lot’s of ceremony and ritual (which I personally like very much), but can be a bit of a surprise to those that think Zen has no such thing. It is the fully half of the training, and all of the training in that we bring our meditation to these active practices. The same meditation we bring to our sitting practice. I had some great meetings with old friends and  also great communion with all of the others who were there in preparing and participating in the five ceremonies that comprise this weeklong retreat. Several things I learned seemed to be of the type that penetrate the heart and slowly take root and become real and true. The Dharma talks and discussions were also very helpful.

One aspect that I liked very much was the fact that several of the monks there were laypeople with me years ago and their practice has matured in the form of a Monk; and mine, I was pleasantly surprised to realize, had also matured in the form of the Householder, or layperson.

After seven days I went on to Joseph, OR to visit the Wallowa Buddhist Temple, where RM Meido and Reverend Clairissa reside and teach. They are just in the process of putting some final touches on a four year long project that culminated in a beautiful, comfortable and completely peaceful guesthouse at the bottom of the the Wallowa Mountains and adjacent to Hurricane Creek. Stunning! A true temple were Zen is taught and transmitted through words and kindness. I would recommend this to anyone. The Temple, the mountains, the Valley, the people, the rivers and lakes; the community. Priceless.

After three days there I went on to eastern Washington to spend some time renewing acquaintance with my neighbors there and picked up a lot of my Buddhist things (altars, statues, etc) and once again experienced the deep sense of community that was displayed during the 10 year or so Linda and I lived there. The love and caring that we experienced there as we entered the community and then as Linda became sicker and then died in January of last year, was still evident. Tekoa, WA. Those little towns are a different world from the hustle and bustle of the urban life. Yes there are many things exactly the same, but also some really important differences.

I also had a chance to visit with another Monk friend who has the small Benewah Buddhist Temple, in St. Maries, ID. A major logging town in the Panhandle. We had a great lunch at the St. Maries Golf course. A great little Mexican restaurant with a terrific view of this mountain golf course. One can watch all sorts of deer, turkey, and assorted wildlife on the course, with the occasional golfer spotted too.

Now back and winding down, have my altar set up in the little apartment I’m temporarily in and looking forward to whatever is next.20150407_122705_resized