I have concluded that God created the cat in a moment of exhaustion or of extreme pique. How else to explain such a soft fur covered creature capable at once of a gentle caress and a claw lunging out at a hand or face deemed too close. Why else this projectile constantly launched only at those places it was not to be, fine wood tables etched with reminders of its sudden presence and rapid departure. What else to explain this shedding ball of multihued fur that always curls in sleep in the one place you wish to sit and even when it cedes a seat to you, smirks in the realization you will soon an unexpectedly be half covered in fur. Why this package of fluff and terror crawls beneath your blanket as you verge on sleep curls tightly against you and begins its gentle rhythmic purring that draws you deeply into a world of fur filled dreams.
First Published in ZOOANTHOLOGY, Sweetycat Press, August 2022
If you go in search of Buddha should you see him, do not stop or speak but run away. If you do not see the Buddha run away from that place. If you stop, to take water from the edge of a still pond look carefully, for the Buddha is there just above the water’s surface.
A reflection on case 80 of Dogen’s Shobogenzo Koans (True Dharma Eye)
In this moment we, the two of us, are here in this precise place and there are an infinite number of places we might be. But we want to be here, just here, nowhere else. We are aging, but in this moment we are exactly the right age and to be younger or older would do nothing for us. When I curl against you as the morning light struggles to pierce the pulled blinds and stroke your arm my fingers are in the only place my fingers want to be. Here, now, together.
Tonight, when the sun has finally conceded the day to its distant but ever larger kin, the moon will again sing her ever waning song hoping we will join in a chorus we have so long forgotten, bound to the earth in body and in waxing thought.
We will stop and listen perhaps, over the din of the city, the traffic, the animals conversing with the sky, our thoughts, but the words will now be an alien language for which we have no dictionary, only the faint memory of the place from which both we and the moon share cosmic ancestry.
He never imagined for a moment that he would be here, here of all places, on the precipice of an abyss the likes of which he only visited in nightmares.
And he knew, when he looked back he knew he would see the pack of Abyssinians heading for him, and that was another nightmare given his cat allergy and his intense Ailurophobia.
So there it was, on one hand the abyss, on the the other the Abyssinians, simply an abysmal Morton’s fork and he felt he had to face death, and in that moment the alarm went off and he was awake in a pool of sweat.
As you wander around looking for a place to build a temple, looking for eden, looking for nirvana, stop and simply sit, listen to the breeze teaching you the Dharma, the clouds chanting the sutras in a harmony beyond your hearing. Look down for you are in your temple, sitting in eden nirvana at your feet.
A reflection on case 4 of the Book of Equanimity Koans
You learn to shop carefully, always searching for where an item is made, avoiding places you know are not socially responsible.
The search is complicated by the lack of nearby stores, by the ubiquity of Amazon, by the certainty that the product won’t arrive for some time, and when you find one you like, you scroll down and see the magic buzzword “Imported” and you know from experience that is another way of saying China, and the search goes on.
The good and the bad of acquiring a new work of art is that you have to listen carefully when it tells you just where in your home it has to be. You may have other ideas, but it is best to set them aside, for ultimately the art knows far better than you. All you must do is listen carefully, and mindfully but devoid of preconceptions. And new works of art come with a knowledge of how those domino mazes are constructed, for once they find where they need and must be, the art that occupied that place is duty bound to tell you where it wants next to be, and so on. So gather up your tools, ladder, picture hooks and nails for this is going to be a much longer day than you envisioned.