Saturday, March 17, 2018

pick a place


Friday, March 16, 2018

by the light of the heart


When the body and mind grow weak, the Self gathers in all the powers of life and descends with them into the heart. As prana leaves the eye, it ceases to see. "He is becoming one," say the wise; "he does not see. He is becoming one; he no longer hears. He is becoming one; he no longer speaks, or tastes, or smells, or thinks, or knows." By the light of the heart the Self leaves the body by one of its gates; and when he leaves, prana follows, and with it all the vital powers of the body. He who is dying merges in consciousness, and thus consciousness accompanies him when he departs, along with the impressions of all that he has done, experienced, and known.


As a caterpillar, having come to the end of one blade of grass, draws itself together and reaches out for the next, so the Self, having come to the end of one life and dispelled all ignorance, gathers in his faculties and reaches out from the old body to a new.

–Brihadaranyaka Upanishad


Thursday, March 15, 2018

the message of the skeleton, excerpts


A melancholy autumn wind
Blows through the world;
The pampas grass waves,
As we drift to the moor,
Drift to the sea.

What can be done
With the mind of a man
That should be clear
But though he is dressed up in a monk’s robe,
Just lets life pass him by?
Why do people
Lavish decorations
On this set of bones
Destined to disappear
Without a trace?
The original body
Must return to
Its original place:
Do not search
For what cannot be found.
No one really knows
The nature of birth
Nor the true dwelling place.
We return to the source
And turn to dust.
Many paths lead
from the foot of the mountain,
But at the peak
We all gaze at the
Single bright moon.

If at the end of our journey
There is no final
Resting place,
Then we need not fear
Losing our Way. 

No beginning,
No end.
Our mind
is born and dies:
The emptiness of emptiness! 

Rain, hail, snow and ice:
All are different,
But when they fall
They become the same water
As the valley stream. 

The ways of proclaiming
The Mind vary,
But the same heavenly truth
Can be seen
In each and every one. 

Cover your path
With the fallen pine needles
So no one will be able
To locate your
True dwelling place.

As Ikkyu does not think of his body
As if it were his body,
He lives in the same place,
Whether it is town or country.

This world
Is but
A fleeting dream
So why by alarmed
At its evanescence? 

The vagaries of life,
Though painful
Teach us
Not to cling
To this floating world. 

If you break open the cherry tree,
Where are the flowers?
But in the spring time, see how they bloom!

To write something and leave it behind us,
It is but a dream.
When we awake we know
There is not even anyone to read it.

Look at the cherry blossoms!
Their color and scent fall with them,
Are gone forever,
Yet mindless
The spring comes again.

why is it all so beautiful this fake dream
this craziness why?

this ink painting of wind
blowing through pines
who hears it?

oh yes things exist like the echo when you yell
at the foot of a huge mountain 

sin like a madman until you can't do anything else
no room for any more

one long pure beautiful road of pain
and the beauty of death and no pain

mirror facing mirror
nowhere else 

sick of it whatever it's called sick of the names
I dedicate every pore to what's here

a well nobody dug filled with no water
ripples and a shapeless weightless man drinks 

oh green green willow wonderfully red flower
but I know the colors are not there

the mind is exactly this tree that grass
without thought or feeling both disappear

not two not one either
and the unpainted breeze in the ink painting feels cool

Ikkyu this body isn't yours I say to myself
wherever I am I'm there 

nature's a killer I won't sing to it
I hold my breath and listen to the dead singing under the grass

suddenly nothing but grief
so I put on my father's old ripped raincoat

when I was forty-seven everybody came to see me
so I walked out forever

my monk friend has a weird endearing habit
he weaves sandals and leaves them secretly by the roadside

even before trees rocks I was nothing
when I'm dead nowhere I'll be nothing

no nothing only those wintry crows
bright black in the sun

if there's nowhere to rest at the end
how can I get lost along the way?

that stone Buddha deserves all the birdshit it gets
I wave my skinny arms like a tall flower in the wind

no words sitting alone night in my hut eyes closed hands open
wisps of an unknown face

the wise know nothing at all
well maybe one song

melons eggplants rice rivers the sky
I offer them to you on this holiday

go down on your silly knees pray
for what? tomorrow is yesterday

I found my sparrow Sonrin dead one morning
and buried him just as gently as I would my own daughter

I hate it I know it's nothing but I
suck out the world's sweet juicy plum

you stand inside me naked infinite love
the dawn bell rips my dreaming heart

When it blows,
The mountain wind is boisterous,
But when it blows not,
It simply blows not.

Dimly for thirty years;
Faintly for thirty years, -
Dinly and faintly for sixty years:
At my death, I pass my faeces and offer them to Brahma.

–Ikkyu Sojun/Ikkyuu Soojun (1394-1481)
Excerpted from Wild Ways
John Stevens translation


Wednesday, March 14, 2018



Let children walk with Nature, let them see the beautiful blendings and communions of death and life, their joyous inseparable unity, as taught in woods and meadows, plains and mountains and streams of our blessed star, and they will learn that death is stingless indeed, and as beautiful as life.

–John Muir


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Sunlight on the Garden, excerpt


... not expecting pardon,
Hardened in heart anew,
But glad to have sat under
Thunder and rain with you,
And grateful too,
For sunlight on the garden.

—Louis MacNeice

Sunday, March 11, 2018

the least brave act


And we the people are so vulnerable. Our bodies are shot with mortality. Our legs are fear and our arms are time. These chill humors seep through our capillaries, weighting each cell with an icy dab of nonbeing, and that dab grows and swells and sucks the cell dry. That is why physical courage is so important - it fills, as it were, the holes - and why it is so invigorating. The least brave act, chance taken and passage won, makes you feel loud as a child.

–Annie Dillard

Friday, March 9, 2018

you are marvelous


your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.

–Charles Bukowski
read by Tom Waits