Death don’t have no mercy in this land
Death don’t have no mercy in this land
He’ll come to your house and he won’t stay long
You look in bed the morning and somebody will be gone.
With all its eyes, the natural world looks out into the Open.
Only our eyes are turned backward, and surround plant, animal, child like traps, as they emerge into their freedom.
We know what is really out there only from the animal's gaze; for we take the very young child and force it around, so that it sees objects - not the Open, which is so deep in animals' faces. Free from death.
We, only, can see death; the free animal has its decline in back of it, forever, and God in front, and when it moves, it moves already in eternity, like a fountain.
Never, not for a single day, do we have before us that pure space into which flowers endlessly open. Always there is World and never Nowhere without the No: that pure unseparated element which one breathes without desire and endlessly knows.
A child may wander there for hours, through the timeless stillness, may get lost in it and be shaken back. Or someone dies and is it.For, nearing death, one doesn't see death; but stares beyond, perhaps with an animal's vast gaze.
Lovers, if the beloved were not there blocking the view, are close to it, and marvel...As if by some mistake, it opens for them behind each other... But neither can move past the other, and it changes back to World. Forever turned toward objects, we see in them the mere reflection of the realm of freedom, which we have dimmed.
Or when some animal mutely, serenely, looks us through and through. That is what fate means: to be opposite, to be opposite and nothing else, forever.
–Rainer Mara Rilke
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, havingcome to the end of one life and dispelledall ignorance, gathers in his faculties andreaches out from the old body to a new.
–The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad
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.
In a mist of light
falling with the rain
I walk this ground
of which dead men
and women I have loved
are part, as they
are part of me.
in blood, in mind,
the dead and living
into each other pass,
as the living pass
in and out of loves
as stepping to a song.
The way I go is
marriage to this place,
grace beyond chance,
love's braided dance
covering the world.
You find a flower half-buried in leaves,
And in your eye its very fate resides.
Loving beauty, you caress the bloom;
Soon enough, you’ll sweep petals from the floor.
Terrible to love the lovely so,
To count your own years, to say “I’m old,”
To see a flower half-buried in leaves
And come face to face with what you are.
–寒山 Han Shan.
When we hear the sound of the bell, we should open ourselves up
to allow all the generations of ancestors in us to hear the bell
at the same time as we do.It means we shouldn’t imprison ourselves in a shell of self –
we should allow our ancestors to listen to the bell at the same time.That is our practice at that moment, because all the generations of ancestors,
including our father and our mother are in us in a very concrete way –
in every cell of our body.The body contains the mind – the soma contains the psyche,
and we could say that the mind also contains the body.That means that the psyche contains the soma and that psyche includes
feelings, perceptions, mental formations and consciousness
and we should learn to see our mental formations are made out of cells,
just as the body is made out of cells.The cells of the body contain the cells of the consciousness
and the cells of the consciousness contain the cells of the body.–Thich Nhat Hanh
If all is an eternal existence of life and nature—the true “self”—what can die?
Birth and death are apprehended as illusions, and this perception is accompanied by conviction, a sense of certainty. It is cognized as a recognition of reality rather than as an acquisition of a new idea.
Beyond Biocentrism: Rethinking Time, Space, Consciousness and the Illusion of Death
The leaves are falling, falling as if from far up,as if orchards were dying high in space.Each leaf falls as if it were motioning “no.”And tonight the heavy earth is fallingaway from all other stars in the loneliness.We’re all falling. This hand here is falling.And look at the other one. It’s in them all.And yet there is Someone, whose handsare infinitely calm, holding up all this falling.
–Rainer Maria Rilke
When it is not yet day
I am walking on centuries of dead chestnut leaves
In a place without grief
Though the oriole
Out of another life warns me
That I am awake
In the dark while the rain fell
The gold chanterelles pushed through a sleep that was not mine
So that I came up the mountain to find them
Where they appear it seems I have been before
I recognize their haunts as though remembering
Where else am I walking even now
Looking for me
— W.S. Merwin
The Lice, 1967
This is the time of hidden regeneration.
Mist hangs above the ground.
Frost forms on open fields.
The tree is still.
It stands alone and quiet.
In the darkness of the early morning, nature is asleep.
There is no movement in the air,
no hint of trembling in the branches.
The tree is silent in the darkness like a stone -
a pillar in the courtyard of an empty temple.
A distant sound breaks through the stillness.
The day's first light advances on the earth.
The shadow of the tree moves with the dawn,
but the tree is motionless.
The ground beneath the tree is frozen hard.
Above the ground, the bark is cold, the limbs are stiff.
A passer-by might wonder if the tree will live in spring.
But underneath the ground the earth is warm.
The weight of all the tree sinks to its roots.
They are indifferent to the frozen soil,
they grow toward the centre of the earth.
The tree is not afraid.
It was a seed: it knows the earth is holding it.
Within its core, a vital ring is being formed.
Around its spine, a new life is rising from the earth,
while flakes of snow are settling on the silent and unmoving tree.
–Master Lam Kam Chuen
from the way of energy
In heaven it is always autumn. The leaves are always near
to falling there but never fall, and pairs of souls out walking
heaven's paths no longer feel the weight of years upon them.
Safe in heaven's calm, they take each other's arm,
the light shining through them, all joy and terror gone.
But we are far from heaven here, in a garden ragged and unkept
as Eden would be with the walls knocked down,
the paths littered
with the unswept leaves of many years, bright keepsakes
for children of the Fall. The light is gold, the sun pulling
the long shadow soul out of each thing, disclosing an outcome.
The last roses of the year nod their frail heads,
like listeners listening to all that's said, to ask,
What brought us here? What seed? What rain? What light?
What forced us upward through dark earth? What made us bloom?
What wind shall take us soon, sweeping the garden bare?
Their voiceless voices hang there, as ours might,
if we were roses, too. Their beds are blanketed with leaves,
tended by an absent gardener whose life is elsewhere.
It is the last of many last days. Is it enough?
To rest in this moment? To turn our faces to the sun?
To watch the lineaments of a world passing?
To feel the metal of a black iron chair, cool and eternal,
press against our skin? To apprehend a chill as clouds
pass overhead, turning us to shivering shade and shadow?
And then to be restored, small miracle, the sun
as before? We go on, you leading the way, a figure
leaning on a cane that leaves its mark on the earth.
My friend, you have led me farther than I have ever been.
To a garden in autumn. To a heaven of impermanence
where the final falling off is slow, a slow and radiant happening.
The light is gold. And while we're here, I think it must
from Now the Green Blade Rises