When you ask your teacher
what happens when you stop thinking, allow no new thoughts what you expect him to tell you?
The dead have no thoughts
but that is not the door to Nirvana.
But if thoughts abandon you
without your effort, without being asked to do so, then the door you seek will open before you.
A reflection on Case 19 of the Book of Equanimity (従容錄,
Buddhism, Buddhist, Japan, Koan, meditation, mind, Philosophy, Photography, Poem, Religion, Uncategorized, Zen
Pause and consider, if only
for a moment, this question, which you need not answer as you will be right and you will be wrong regardless of what you say in response.
What if we are the cat in
some Godly thought experiment and our degradation of the planet is the bit of radioactive material, of which we have in profusion.
Are we alive, or are we dead,
or both, until God again checks in on us, so we must hope He is too busy creating other worlds and correcting the errors he made in this one.
I keep in my pocket
all the treasures of my family, all of the keepsakes from my mother, and those from my father given to me when they died.
I would share them with you,
but they are highly personal and would not mean much to one who never knew my parents or my step brother, the one
with whom I have not spoken
since the text announcing our father’s death, so I cherish what I have in my pocket for nothing was all I hoped for.
Adoption, aging, Family, father, Memory, Mother, parents, Photography, Poem, Time, Uncategorized
I am told that I should write
about my origins, that is the stuff that long poems are made of, or rather the soil from which they bloom.
I have written about my birth mother
and visited her grave in West Virginia seen those of my grandparents, met a cousin, I’ve written all of that.
So its time to write about
my birth father, about the places he was as a child, a young man, where he is buried, dead long before
I discovered his existence, our link,
but I know nothing of Burlington, or Camden and my passing knowledge of New Jersey is limited to Newark and its airport.
That is hardly the stuff of great poetry
or even mediocre memoir, so he will be nothing more than a picture of a gravestone in a national cemetery.
Adoption, aging, Death, Family, father, Grieving, Mother, parents, Photography, Poem, Time, Uncategorized
Symbols have deep meaning
even to those so blind they cannot see them, and our politics have become wholly retail.
Any good retailer will tell you
that $19.95 is significantly less than $20.00, a nickel that swallows the dollars.
So we got out, and nineteen
years and 354 days is considerably shorter than twenty years we are told,
but everything blew up around us,
but I’m sure the politicians will note that a dozen dead, while tragic is far less than a baker’s dozen.
The Rabbi always said that
the highest form of justice would be to teach a man to fish, rather than to donate fish to him.
The Rabbi in question is now
long dead, and in so many places teaching a man to fish will only enable him to poison his family.
We have laid waste to ouir world
assuming someone will clean it up for us, and we do throw money as our attempt at atonement.
So perhaps we should give
out brooms, and hope for the best.
The single greatest problem
with dreams is that they are utterly real when you are dreaming, the absurd is not only permitted but expected, and in that moment it is hardly absurd.
The dead and living come
and go with impunity, and you welcome them as real people because for that period of time they are as real as you are.
But awakening, you realize
it was all a dream, and your life is remarkably absurd, and it all seems so utterly frustrating and wholly unreal.
How many today? Fewer
that is a good sign but don’t get overly excited, we’ve been down this road before and we got lost each time we did.
And while you are out there,
don’t be sure that you can see where you are going, for vision is iffy, and like side view mirrors, things appear closer than they are.
Don’t be despondent, you
are better off than many, but better is a comparative and that can turn to sheer ice when you least expect it.
So go on, but go carefully,
your next fall might, just might, kill you.
It should give you pause
to consider that, in the midst of boundless greed, enmeshed in the near cult of self, rushing always to go nowhere quickly, certain the problems of the world, can be solved tomorrow, using resources that may never be replenished or substituted for,
when we are dead and buried,
we will be the fossil fuels that future generations rightfully shun in horror.
He stares at the collection
of pens crammed tightly into a coffee mug whose handle had long since broken away.
He knows some are dead,
awaiting a proper burial, following a brief memorial service paying homage to their illustrious past.
He is certain that one
or more is secretly harboring the poem or story that he has been meaning to write, the one that the journal on the desk has been waiting its entire lifetime to receive.