Wednesday, December 18, 2013

My Former X-rated Mind


I was surprised when Jimmy Carter said that he sinned with his mind, not with his body. I would have though that a president was 1) better disciplined than that or 2) better at knowing what to admit and what to lie about.

I’ve often become distressed at some of my thoughts. What is wrong with me, having such obscene thoughts? And what dreams I’ve had! What is that about? I imagine hurting people I love, having sex with people that I shouldn't, and on and on. Who is it that thinks these wrong thoughts? Who is feeding me my stories?

I was surprised learning in my Jewish Torah studies that Jews don't worry about their thoughts, but rather focus on their actions and/or lack of action. That seemed to lift a heavy weight off my shoulders and actually, since learning that, I’ve noticed that my day dreams and night dreams have become a lot less interesting. There is nothing that encourages bad thoughts like trying to not have bad thoughts. So the rabbi, giving me permission to think anything, actually put a break on my x-rated mind. (I just watched the Linda Lovelace film on Netflix and didn’t have a lewd thought … just felt sorry for the poor woman.)

Now to the Zen story of the two monks. One carries the woman in the beautiful Kimono across the river and sets her down. The other, a younger monk, doesn't touch her ... and ends up (lustfully) carrying her in his mind the rest of the day. The suggestion in the story is that the older and wiser monk acts correctly, doing what presumably needs to be done. And the younger monk’s action follows the rules of his religion, though his mind is somewhere else.

This is not an unusual occurrence. I often censure my actions but not my thoughts. I somehow thought I could get away with it. I thought I could whiz through a grocery store and not care about others. Then I realized the other day that I was releasing negative energy throughout the store, pushing my way through the crowds, looking for openings for my shopping cart like it was a football game. Now I'm trying to construct shopping as a loving dance, focusing first on my body and letting it lovingly move the shopping cart. I haven't come yet to the maiden in the kimono who wants to cross the stream, but now I know what to do. Or do I?

Friday, November 29, 2013

... then or now?

Part I:

In a workshop
on mindfulness
I wondered
whether I’d
let go of my past
or
turn to the present.

I worked so hard
on that past,
why throw all that
away,
I wondered?

What a waste!

Why would anyone
throw out the baby
with the bath water?

A Buddhist monk claimed
there is a way to be present
thinking about the past.

Convinced
by what he said,
I understood
nothing more than
he believed he could.




If nothing else,
I was convinced
by his sincerity.

Six years later,
I remember
the monks conviction.

I consider now,
looking back,
how my feet planted
in THIS ground,
thinking
about THAT ground.

If a gust of wind came,
would I blow over
or stand my ground?


Part II:

I remember,
fifty years ago
a loss—
the other guys walked
my girlfriend home.


I discovered jealously,
chasing them down
the asphalt road,
turning to sand
as it neared the surf.

Funny thing was,
now that I go back,
I had never
walked her home,
or even
thought about it.

I missed out
not doing that.

Something incomplete
about that day.

I was so angry
I threw my bike
in the bushes
and yelled something
vile at them
as they passed
over the dunes.

So how do I,
sitting in this chair
many years later
return to this little town,
a few feet from the ocean,
without forgetting
how many miles
and how many days
I am from that ocean.

Without forgetting
how,
on her wedding day,
they drank too much
and went over a cliff.


Part III:

I hear a dog barking.
Is it that lab
that I had picked up roving
near my house
50+ years ago,
or is it a dog
here and now?

And how do
these worlds intersect?

Where might
I be?
Where am I,
there or here,
then or now?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Do ships return?


I wanted to write a poem. The first two lines came to me when I was sitting. They were perfect—so perfect that I knew that I would not forget them. Who forgets something that is so perfect? You? Me? Oh, wait … I just remembered that it was two lines. And there were no fancy words in those lines.

It is coming now. The ship goes off to sea, leaving me behind. It was something like that. Do you ever feel left behind? Like when someone goes on a trip. There we have the crack (this was written in a Zen writing group and our prompt was from my classmates’ (Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge) book, poemcrazy.

We see the ship leave and we know that it is going to another world. We stay in our world. But our world is not the same because the ship is not in it any longer.

I didn't want to think about any more of the poem. I knew that I should be calming the sea and not making waves. I was trying to settle my mind and I had this fantasy that the bell would ring and the meditation session would be over and the rest of the poem would come to me effortlessly.

The ship goes off to sea,
leaving me behind.
What do I do with myself,
waiting for it to return?

Do ships really return?

This isn't going well. Sounds like some dumb sophomoric philosophical journey. Yikes!

But really … Have you had the experience that ships never really return? They have their grand adventure and then are reborn into something else.

Maybe I should write the poem more abstractly? Maybe a haiku?

Ship off,
Me behind, waiting
for nothing.

But maybe that wouldn't be so clear. You know what I mean by nothing. Right? Since the ship can't come back, I can't wait for it. Or I guess I could wait, if I want to set myself up for disappointment.

What is it that we wait for anyway? And is it ever the same when it comes?

Not that thinking again. Feel like hitting myself over the head.

Ship goes off to S E E
Someday to return
a different ship.

Maybe that's closer.

Where is the ship now? Is it dark and still as it is here, or is the sun rising and the waves bellowing? Have the people on the ship bonded into a tribe, making it impossible for anyone else to intervene?When the ship returns will it look the same, even if it is not the ship that left?

Returned ship never left,
only to fool
the watchman
counting the days ...
believing this or that.

Monday, September 16, 2013

My Reality is Terrible

Note: This is a letter I wrote today to a prisoner. We write these letters to encourage their Buddhist practice.


Dear A,

I should preface this by saying that I live a pretty idyllic life. I have wonderful friends, good health, ample resources, and freedom. I’m not sure how I would be in your situation. I admire your efforts to survive.

I enclose Buddha’s sutta on the Dart. When you say “my reality is terrible” you are expressing your idea of your reality. Reality in itself is neither terrible nor wonderful. Some who have “everything” are miserable and others in dire circumstances love every moment they are alive.

http://pleasenowords.blogspot.com
I read about monkeys who were performing tasks for rewards. As long as they received the same reward for the same task, they were happy. But when one received less than the other, he was angry. He might have been satisfied with the lesser reward had he not experienced his buddy getting more. We see the "deprived" monkey constructing a reality that causes him great anguish.

The good news is that one can choose their view of their reality. In the sutta, the Buddha speaks of two darts that come from pain. One is the pain itself, and the second is that pain that we create. For the time being you are stuck in a physical environment. This includes your body, your cell, the other inmates, the guards, etc. This is a given. It is up to you to determine what are you going to do. Are you going to suffer or thrive? The second dart is the one created in our minds. That is the one you need to look at if you want to relieve your suffering.

You say that peace is “really hard when a bunch of jerks act stupid.” Letting your peace become dependent on others is stupid. They do what they do. You create a judgment about their actions … and you let that judgment affect your happiness. It is you against them.

Instead, embrace them. They are your brothers and they are doing their best to cope as you are. Show them some kindness and they will respond with kindness.

Eckankar appears to be a cult like Scientology and Hare Krishna. I’m not sure that all organizations aren’t partly a cult. They want followers and work hard to get and retain them. I suggest you take their literature and throw it away. And telling others why they are a cult to you sounds like a responsible thing to do. I don’t think the United Nations will pursue them as they have their plate full with what they probably consider to be more important human rights violations.

I liked your story of the monk and the tigress. Our minds look at actions in various ways and judge these actions according to our perspective.

http://pleasenowords.blogspot.com
Take care and let me know how it goes … accepting that you are the creator of your reality … and as the creator, being the one who can change it.

Mr. Kim

Friday, September 13, 2013

Grandpa Nofun, Part I


I'm no fun. And now, since I became a vegan yesterday after about 5 years of gluttony, I’m probably less fun. Growing up, my sisters called me “a bump on a log.”


When my neighbors played cowboys and Indians, I watched and tried to figure out how they could imagine that they could be anything other than who they were. Maybe if we had a TV I wouldn’t have had this my problem.

I just wanted to take things apart to see how they worked ... and then when I was twelve I discovered art and I just wanted to do that ... and then when I became hooked on computers I wanted to do that and art ... and when I realized I could change things in the world, I started doing that. I don't even drink—not even a soda pop. No donuts, only 100% chocolate … no sugar … zilch! I was eating almond ice cream, but I decided that I don't like how the sweetener makes me feel, so I quit that.

I’m not one for imagination. I don't think of my art as creative or as making thing up. I just take advantage of my lack of talent ... and my faulty memory … and all kinds of good stuff seem to come out. My friend and fellow artist of 50 years, French Fry, has a great imagination. He makes up enough stuff for the two of us. My wife too has been an artist for 1/2 a century, and she too doesn't have too much fun with anything. She just likes to perfect things. Once she had fun in graduate school with some art about her love for peanut butter, but that soon ended.

When I was in high school my girlfriend’s father was a minister and he gave a sermon about how we had to find new ways to celebrate life. I really liked that, but, looking back, I would have been happy celebrating in old ways. In college I got drunk a couple of time, and I went to visit some elephants, but generally my life has been pretty dull and boring. I identified much with Andy Warhol when he came to our college to talk. No matter what he was asked he'd answer, “I don't know. We just work a lot.”

When I studied literature, I wondered if writers made up their thrilling and passionate stories. How could they be serious craftsman and have fun too? What was that about? Did they live the lives they wrote about? Or take a movie actor like James Dean. Was he a craftsman or a hoodlum? I couldn't imagine how someone could be both.

I think I was attracted to Buddhism because it seemed like it would be no fun. All work and no play make Kim happy. Black was the color of choice, and tea was the drink, and silence was the word. Everything was overcast. All was dreary until ...

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Reading Photographs


The assignment was to bring to acting class an object that was very precious to us, and then to do a kind of show and tell, and tell the class what it meant. Many brought photos of things. Some brought objects that were mass-produced. I remember one woman who held a little photo in the palm of her hand and proceeded to tell us that it was her boyfriend. I wondered then how that picture took on the power of a human being.

Kim Mosley
There is a saying in photography that the real subject of photography is the photographer. We make so many decisions when we make a picture that we end up expressing ourselves fully. Sometimes, however, we look at a photograph and believe it is about the object or scene depicted. Our body knows better. We respond viscerally to the photograph as an object, and look through the subject into the creator.
AJ Bunyard
John Szarkowski curated an exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art about 40 years ago called Mirrors and Windows. His view was “that the photograph is seen either as a mirror—a romantic expression  of the photographer's sensibility as it projects itself on the  things and sights of this world or as a window—through which the external world is explored in all its presence and reality.”  I tend to think that he was wrong with his premise and that all photos are about the internal workings of a psyche. Our challenge in reading a photograph is to channel the photographer though the object, as we do when one's friend tells a story. What we listen to is a litany of emotions. We get a sense how they are feeling and who they are. The words themselves just become the carrier of the feeling. In the end, the story is just that. Much more moving is that part of themselves that we have just shared.

Kim Mosley

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Buddhism and the Virtue of Selfishness

N implied that combining Buddhism and Selfishness would be an oxymoron, and I think it would be "birds of a feather."

Before I begin, I think part of the confusion here is that there are two brands of selfishness. One is a psychological illness, where a person is unable to give, share, or love. The other applies to people who work to fulfill their dreams and ambitions, and who create the life of their dreams.

To gather information on this topic, I went on a field trip to a doctor's office, a drug store, and a grocery store (just because the drug store didn't have the right kind of diapers for Charlie).


I wanted to see why people do things. There was a receptionist at the doctors' office who had a big smile on her face. I wasn't sure if it was her hot date last night, or if she was high on some cool drug, or if she was just a smiler. Then I saw the nurse to give me a shot. She was trying to be helpful, giving me screwy information that made no sense in my situation. I tried to be nice about it. Both of these people are paid for their services and wouldn't do their jobs if it wasn't for the pay. They did their jobs relatively well ... well enough that they were still there after an extended period of time. Were they essentially benevolent beings, or were they just doing what they were asked to do? You tell me.

Then at CVS (the drug store), a nice clerk asked me if she could help. I knew that if I just said "diapers" she'd think they were for me. So I asked for "baby diapers" (though I don't think of anyone but a complete new born as a baby) and she told me what aisle I should go to. Again, a helpful person, paid to do a service. Would she stand there without the pay? I doubt it.

I pulled my car into the parking lot of the grocery store, and noticed a woman in the car next to me loading her groceries into her trunk. It looked like she had forgotten two large cans at the bottom of the basket so I mentioned that to her. She said that she had not forgotten them. Then I asked if she'd like me to take her two carts. She looked tired and I thought that would be a nice gesture. It actually gave me a lot of pleasure to do this for her, especially after she smiled and seemed appreciative. I didn't debate with myself about whether I should do this or not. It seemed like doing this would make the world a better place, and would make her day a little better. It gave me a lot of pleasure to contribute this positive energy to her world.

Driving home, I started thinking about how and why my wife puts hand cream on her hands. Is this an altruistic act? Surely it would be if she just did this for me. But actually I think she treasures her hands and treats them with respect. I'd say it was primarily a selfish act.

As I drove home, I saw a golf course, streets, stores, telephone and electrical wire, cars and busses. All of this was made by people who have no particular attachment to each other ... yet it is these “selfish” acts that make the world go around. Sure we have the good Samaritans, but generally most of what we do, and what others do, is quid pro quo. I do this for you and then you do something for me.

The primary goal for the Buddha (I think of Buddha as a view rather than a man) is to relieve suffering (sometimes translated as anguish). What better way to do this than to develop and practice skills that make the world a better place? Why do we do it? Usually because that's our job. That supports the people we love and ourselves. That contributes to our feelings of self-worth. Do we relieve suffering? Absolutely. Is this what makes the world go around? Most assuredly.

P.S. Please watch Milton Friedman's piece on ”I the Pencil.” He describes how many people, with nothing in common, with neither love towards or affinity with each other, produce a common good. He once told a mom, "you are primarily concerned with helping your family. I'm concerned with helping the world." Is this far from Buddhism?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Sacred

I tell her that her work is sacred. She asks why. I feel uncomfortable and don't want to admit that my litmus test for sacred is when my heart goes thump in a certain way.

I think of the passionate DH Lawrence who differentiated between ideas and experiences. He says that we like to make experiences into ideas so we don't have to feel them. I do that, fitting ideas neatly into a square hole. But experiences are all over, bursting into the sky and running down our legs like the dribble from a melting ice cream cone.

Visit our new blog at pleasenowords.blogspot.com
I attempt to deconstruct sacred. I ask “what makes something sacred.” That's easier for me than telling why I think it was sacred. I fool myself into believing that taking something apart is a more intelligent response. She stops me in my tracks, yelling “whatever” as a referee would yell “foul.”

Our zen patriarch Dogen said there was no place to spit. After being rebuked for stacking some chairs under an altar, I learn that some spaces are more sacred than others.

I remember the rubrics that some teachers use, assuming that if a student fulfills a number of expectations they would have a good essay. I rebel against the idea, and realize that one could do everything right and say nothing, and they could do everything wrong and say much.

When I label something good I acknowledge that I’m touched in a special way. I’m slowed down and realize what is important. Suddenly there is quiet. Everything glows. I feel an energetic breeze. I see goose bumps on my arms. Big ones. I want to step very carefully, not to disturb anything, hoping I can stay in that space for a moment longer. I become sacred, watching time and space collapse into the here and now.

That's sacred. And when zazen is over, one meditation leader rings the bell twice, as if a walking meditation is to follow. But no, it’s to let us know that as we walk back into our lives, we are just moving to another sacred space.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Intentional Letting Go

Happy go lucky is what many people think is letting go. I've been thinking about another letting go, more like intentional letting go. It is almost a contradiction in terms. I think about this when I prepare to be the doan in the Zendo.  I ring bells to indicate the beginning and end of sitting, and at different points during the service. But before that, I need to get from the front door of the temple to the shoe rack. In other words, I need to walk. Yikes, a challenge! Lifting up one's foot for the first step isn't so hard, at least compared with setting one’s foot down.

Or is it? Actually there is the physical act of lifting one foot up at a time, and then there is the intention. What will I think about as I walk to the shoe rack? Will it be about the tires on my car that need replacing or about the man who promised to send me a report today but didn't? Wait, where am I? “Calling Kim, calling Kim.”

The photographer Minor White spoke of photographers who go on vacation and forgot to take themselves with them. Is this much different than anyone going anywhere and leaving part of herself behind? If I really want to go somewhere wouldn't it be good to take myself along?

I decide to step over the threshold and leave my old tires and the unsent report outside. But wait, isn't this supposed to be about letting go. I did let go of the tires and the unsent report, but what about intentionally lifting up my foot. I could easily become a very affected with a self-conscious gait. So the challenge is to lift my foot up as if that's all I've ever done in my life. “Now my foot leaves the sacred floor and moves like a bird into the sky.” The separation of the foot from the ground will be silent, as in Japanese tea ceremony when a tea bowl is carefully lifted from the mat, without a sound, to be shared with a guest. It is a dance, of sorts. It is the moment, just after touching something, when the moving away is as gentle as the touch itself.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Void Contemplates Void


I read that yesterday. I've been struggling understanding emptiness. Unfortunately, the more I hear about it, I less I know. My modus operandi for understanding is to isolate the object on a pedestal and differentiate it from all other things.  Then I (erroneously) thinking I understand. I describe it by color, weight, mass, temperature when it freezes or turns to gas. I even watch it change, not realizing that I'm looking at just one piece of an infinite puzzle. Or maybe I'm just looking at looking. Or even looking at looking at looking.

When I meditate, I drift between two places. One is being somewhere else, like engaged in a fantasy of some sort, developing a project to do, or worrying that someone just stole a wallet from the zendo's shoe rack. Or I watch my breathing. But I sense my Zen practice could be something else. I separate my mind from my body from my breathing and become a trinity of three desperate elements. I'm exhausted just at the thought of it. I'm discombobulated. Totally discombobulated.

Sunday, in preparation for my Tao study class, I mistakenly read the wrong passage. It was about how a tiger, viewing his prey, has a choice of two actions. One is to leap to devour the prey, and the second is to do nothing. I loved that in the Tao world (actually our world) not acting is an action.

Then I was searching on the Web for the Heart Sutra today to send a prisoner. Lo and behold, the version I came across used the word void for emptiness. How nice I thought! My walking partner reminds me that before things there really was nothing. Space was not a container without contents. It wasn't. No outside. No inside. Nada.

So I've been trying to not busy myself with watching myself breatheseparating the breather, the breath, and the watcherbut rather I'm trying to do none of that. And not to pursue the alternativedrifting off into lala land. Hovering between being present and being vigilance is hard workwork that qualifies under the auspices of the protestation work ethic. No, I want to do something else. A while back we called it be here now, though at that moment when we observe ourselves being here now, we aren't here, but rather observing ourselves being there.

Coming back now to the void contemplating void. What was refreshing to notice when I quit trying so hard to observe was that my body was still breathing. All by itself. And I realized I didn't have to tend to it ... or even watch it. It was the leader of the pack.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Fright on Saturday Night


I've been going through my artifacts box by box as if I've been digging with a spoon into the recesses of my brain. One day I found a creative writing award that my daughter won when she was 11, and a few days later, found the actual story that she had written to win the prize. She said I could put it on my blog.
Melissa at 11 (or so) and her long-haired gerbil, Kinky



Friday, August 2, 2013

My Deepest Secret

At the college where I worked, we’d send troubled students to a psychologist. She'd ask the students, right off the bat, "What is your deepest secret?"

When I shared this startling invasion with others they were often shocked. My colleagues thought that secrets should come in time, but not be sought after at the beginning of a first session.The therapist might ask something like “why are you here” but certainly nothing as abrupt as demanding the revelation of one’s darkest secret.

I started thinking about my secrets and finally realized that they probably aren't much different than anyone else. Freud spoke of the Oedipus and Electra complexes that probably date back to the Garden of Eden. As a kid, I was sent for some psychological testing. Afterwards my mom consulted with the psychologist and was told that I had “extreme hostility toward my dad.” I couldn't wait to tell him when he came home. We laughed (which for Freud would have cemented the deal).

Back to the Garden of Eden, where we feasted on the forbidden fruit. We smoked and drank and swore, and God forbid, touched our bodies in places that felt good.

We all lied and cheated at some point in our life. When shopping, I would complain if I was “short changed” but not if I was mistakenly given a five instead of a one in change.

We injured others. We said hurtful things and did harmful things to others. Sometimes it was to get what we wanted, and sometimes because we didn't know the effect of our actions. We now wish, perhaps, that we could turn back the clock and reverse our actions, but that is not in the cards.

We swim from one fantasy to another.  We are essentially romantics, falling in love again and again and again. For me, it might be a food, a new place, a new teacher, a newly discovered artist or writer, or a friend. Today it is 12 oz vintage Tupperware tumblers. It or they become the object of my fantasies, until the next fantasy arises like a phoenix. The cycle continues, over and over again.

What is your deepest secret?





Friday, July 26, 2013

Disorderly Memories

I've been cleaning up for about six weeks. Actually have been going through most every box of things I own and finding all kinds of gems.

I received the card above from a photographer today. It was perfect. I'm intrigued how these little memories I'm finding jog my thick skull (see picture below) and are so meaningful ... at least to me.
Then my good friend FD sent me this picture today (above) of the two of us in our Hawaiian garb in St. Louis 30+ years ago. My skull looks thick. I'm on the right (in more ways than one). My daughter did the painting on the left (she's on the left). She was disappointed that I didn't know where that painting was. I guess there are still the art boxes to go through to find that treasure.

We went to visit FD and J in Maine about 20 years ago. Linda did tea on the rocks (not like Scotch on the rocks). Here's evidence:
I think my high school's 50th reunion last month has made me very nostalgic. I felt then, and as I go through my boxes, now, that I'm walking on the clouds in heaven, revisiting people and times from many years ago. It is quite a treat. (Click on pictures to make them larger.)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

How are you too?

Photo by Francois Deschamps
She asked me (again) this morning. I responded, “Have you read my blog post” and she said “Yes.”

I understood the “how are” much better than the “you,” which at that moment totally mystified me. I wondered where was the “you” to evaluate its happiness? Was this going to be an inside job, with “you” evaluating “you”?

I knew that I had a body, but at that moment, especially as this was my Pilates (yes, I did her photos) session, my body felt like a machine, breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth and pointing my feet and keeping my knees two fists apart and not bending my legs. So it wasn't “you” doing all that but rather my body. If there were a “you,” where was it? Could I have left my "you" at home? Or worst yet, could “you” have been lost in a fantasy, constructed by my mind? And if so, how did it know when to join my body and when to strike out on its own?

To relieve the difficulty of this question, and to allow my Pilates session to be beneficial, I asked her, “Well, how are you?” She answered in such a way that I had little clue how she really was, so I added, “On a scale of one to ten?” And, expecting a number and the end to this ridiculous dialogue, she replied, “Better than last week.”

Then I went to see my chiropractor who straightens me out with his magic touch. No sooner had I passed through the door of his office, he asked, "How is the world treating you?" I was unprepared for this. Discovering that the world was actually engaged in a practice of treating me was quite an unwelcome revelation. I explained to him that his question was a dualism, separating me from the rest of the world. He agreed and started telling me about a movie called the Secret, about some holy grail. I then remembered that I tried to read the book, maybe at Costco, and if I were Holden Caulfield, I'd say that I wanted to barf, but since I'm not, I starting thinking about the other patients who were waiting to see him, and that pretty much ended our conversation.

Later in the day, I opened the door for a woman coming into the Austin Zen Center. She quietly asked me how I was. “Fine,” I said. And then, as I took off my shoes, I realized I hadn't asked her. “How rude,” I thought. So I asked her and was glad that she was fine too.

Photo by Francois Deschamps

Monday, July 15, 2013

What's in a Name?

I found this among my father's papers. His name was Ed (Edmond) too.

Here's a photo of Ed Dibble. I doubt it is the same one in the limerick. My dad was a fan of Edward Lear.
On safari a man
     named Ed Dibble
Had the bad judgment
     to quibble
With a cannibal chief
His survival was brief
Poor Ed ended up
     as a nibble.

Walls and More Walls ... trying to explain why I don't want to be in a tribe.


Me: I'm bothered continually in the Torah class how Jews see themselves as members of the Jewish tribe as opposed to the human tribe.

He: I know a lot of Jews ... being one myself ... I've never yet met one that considers themselves separate from the human tribe ... in fact one of the central teachings, Tikkun Olam, is about how we all have a responsibility to repair a broken world and make it a better place for everyone. I've never heard any Jew saying those of other faiths would go to Hell, or were any less loved by God ... something I do hear quite often from our non-Jewish friends. Also, notice most Jews wear their mezuzahs inside their shirts, not feeling it necessary to broadcast to the world their faith ... it's a personal thing ... I've always wondered why others feel it necessary to display theirs ... often very garishly ... seems to be a “I'm holier than thou” kind of thing.

She: What does this have to do with Jewish people? Most jews that I know (and that includes family and friends) embrace cultural understanding and mutual respect for ideas that they might not share. They see themselves as very much a part of the human tribe, extending energy and other personal resources trying to better the human condition without regard to race and/or different religions.

Me: I really like what he and she said. I agree with every word, and still stick by what I said. Here are some words by a rabbi about interfaith marriage: http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/39606/jewish/Why-Do-Jews-Exclude-Other-People.htm In the talk, he uses the phrase, "we Jewish people." For me (a Jew by most definitions), that phrase separates us from others. It would be as if I said, "we people with a white gold wedding ring." Immediately I see set up two groups where one has excluded the other. It is great that the white golds do such good in the world. But I think that (also) that do gooders can be seen as demeaning. If I knocked on your door and said, "let me care for you" then I've identified you as one who is both separate from me, and one needing to be cared for. (I hypocritically took the Buddhist vow to save all beings from suffering. I suspect that has the same shortcomings of being both a separator and a demeanor.

Judaism, like all religions, separates some from the many. I don't think that how some take care of the many alleviates that separation. In the talk cited above, Rabbi Freeman says, “Any person who wishes to join the Jewish people and their holy mission is welcome, regardless of race, color, sex or family background. We only ask that they commit to keeping the rules G-d gave us ..."

My friend H sends me, almost daily, articles about the separation in the Middle East between the Jew and the non-Jew. I feel like saying “Duh, if you separate yourself from others then you shouldn't complain that you are seen as separate.” The photographer Edward Steichen was so brilliant when he coined the term, the Family of Man. He did that partially in response to his mom who scolded him when, as a kid, he yelled out an anti-Semitic remark. He worked tirelessly for the benefit of all beings, not as a member of one religion, but as a bonafide human being.

William Blake: I must create a system or be enslaved by another mans; I will not reason and compare: my business is to create.

Me: I imagine that each of us resides in a circle in a vend diagram. We have constructed that circle, be it artist, female, or Jew. My Zen teacher reminded me the other day (as I talked to him about my dislike of separating one from another) that the separation is only occurring in the mind. I feel sometimes that we have the walls around ourselves that the ancient cities had/have in Europe. We understand why they needed their walls. But do we need them as well?

Dad: “Please, when I die, don't have a service in any church or temple. I don't want to favor one faith over another.” “Would you like to see a priest or a rabbi?” they asked him on his death bed, “no,” he answered, “a philosopher.”

Note one: I learned in Torah class last week that it is not okay to be satisfied as long as their is some injustice or unmet need in the world. I liked that. Seems that as the little girl is throwing back the sand dollars into the ocean, one by one, satisfaction would only cause her to hesitate and a few (more) sand dollars would dry up from the sun.

Note two: I'm attempting to see if I can not join anything in an effort not to separate myself from others. Of course, that may be counterproductive and the ultimate separation.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

How are you?

How are you?
She asked.

I was startled. I'd been
thinking of more stuff
than one should,
but not that.

Should I let the other
stuff go and dig deep
into the recesses of
my mind,
ascertaining how I am,
or simply say,
just fine, 
and you?

I told her I made an
art piece about that
once. I went to a
Jewish deli with my
aunt and her friends
and someone asked
someone how are
you and I expected
a fine and you? and
instead got a G_d
awful litany of ills,
the like of which
I had not heard of,
that is, not in or from
one person.

Now when I hear those
friendly empathetic sympathetic
words, the litany returns and I
just want to hide my head,
returning to peaceful
mindless discriminating
meanderings.

How am I?

I'm just fine,
and you?

Note one: When my wife left today, I was going through the garbage container outdoors, looking desperately for my favorite scissors that I had last night ... and that I've had for over 20 years. I had thrown in a tub of queso that wouldn't go down the sink—it was so thick and nasty. It was all over my hands. She asked how I was and I said "Terrible. I lost my scissors." 

They are my muse. I even went to order a new pair ... and then looked once more where they were supposed to be ... and they were there. Yea!!!!!

Note two: "Whenever someone asked a certain Zen master how he was, he would always answer 'I'm okay.' Finally one of his students said, 'Roshi, how can you always be okay? Don't you ever have a bad day?' The Zen Master answered, 'Sure I do. On bad days, I'm okay. On good days, I'm okay.'"

Note three: Here's the piece I did in 1984. The text says, "How are you? Well, about 6 months ago I fell down and was unconscious for three wks. and then my brain started bleeding and they started to feed me interveniously[sic] and they had to do 9 brain scans and I don't look so bad now, do I?" The innocent "How are you?" (Click on image to enlarge.)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Photography Don'ts

When I first started teaching photography (1969) we used the Focal Encyclopedia for Photography as a text. There weren't any textbooks. Then Charles Swedlund wrote one, followed by Henry Horenstein's books for which I wrote accompanying workbooks (see: http://kimmosley.com/workbook/).

The rule for the students was not to have a built-in meter, a telephoto, nor a zoom lens. How 44 years has corrupted me! Now my favorite camera (other than a $10,000 Leica that I don't have) is my iphone. Here's a picture of my grandson with his new camera, taken by my son with his iPhone.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Certainty and Uncertainty

Downstairs they are discussing the “certainty of uncertainty,” or is it the “uncertainty of certainty”? I am not sure. It seems a bit of contradiction to be certain of anything, even uncertainty ... so I'll vote for the uncertainty of certainty, while, at the same time, envying people who have certainty.

My long-time friend Greg has had a few conversations with the almighty. There is no doubt in his mind. He is beyond the point of belief. He has experienced him directly. I hear a lot about Moses’ conversations with God in my Torah study class and I wonder if others in the class think that Moses is a liar, crazed, or being fooled by a guy behind the bushes? Or, is he actually hearing his voice? Or is it a combination of those four theories, or perhaps even a fifth or sixth or seventh?

I'm not certain of much of anything. And that's ok with me. It seems that to be certain you not only need a bulletproof proof, but you also need faith that you are right. Einstein was asked, “Suppose an experiment disproved your theory. Would you change your mind?” “No,” he said, “the experiment would be wrong.”



I can imagine a proof that would be pretty convincing. I drop a coin 1000 times and it hits the ground each time. That indicates it probably will hit the ground the next time I drop it (that is, unless gravity reverses its course, or a thief reached her hand out). But am I certain? No.

I've been fooled many times, as have most of us. As a kid I did magic tricks. I learned from the tricks that what you see might not be the whole story.

I can hear Uncle Ed asking if any of this makes a difference. Would certainty give one a better life? Or would uncertainty? If I were certain that a certain path would take me where I'd like to go I could probably walk more confidently. But if I ended up at a dump rather than a BBQ restaurant, I would be devastated. On the other hand, if I were uncertain of the path, I would worry so much that I might not hear the birds sing.

I think it does make a difference which way you say it, but you can't choose one over another just for convenience or happiness. A more practical approach might be to realize that certainty is a continuum and that in any situation we have some degree of certainty ... and, fortunately, some degree of uncertainty.

I Like You


This is the same place where, in the men's john, it is writ, "I love you is back." It warmed my heart to know that not only is love back, but liking is as well.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Cousin CC Gets A Sore Toe (A Story For Peter Kriss)

(Note: this is a guest post by my dad (Edmond Mosley) who passed to another place nine years ago.)

When Peter's great uncle Edmond lived in Long Beach, New York, in the early days, he loved to eat sandwiches. It didn't matter what was inside the sandwich as long as there was bread on the outside. A good excuse to get to eat a lot of sandwiches was to have a picnic.

The best place to have a picnic if you lived in Long Beach was over the bay to a little Island called “Bird Island” which was a bird preserve. Long Beach is on the Atlantic Ocean. On the west side of Long Beach there is a small bay. If you go about a half mile across the bay you get to Bird Island.

When I told my friend Seymour and his brother Martin (who loved sandwiches even more than I do if that is possible) about my plan for a picnic on Bird Island, Martin jumped with joy. Seymour, who was very philosophical because he had just finished reading all the works of the ancient philosphers including two or three of the modern ones, only snickered but agree to come. We planned to make forty Lwo sandwiches (twenty for me,.twenty for Martin and two for Seymour. We tried to be nice to Seymour and hoped that he would eat only one sandwich so that Martin and I could split the other ones.

One thing you can sure about cousin CC. If there is food around be is sure to appear. On the very day of the picnic, which was on a Saturday, CC appeared. He lived in Boston, quite a distance from Long Beach but somehow he got wind about what was going on. He asked to come with us and promised that he would not be hungry and ask for any of the sandwiches, “Well,” he said, “perhaps only three or five.” It was just like CC to skip "four"since he was not very good in arithmetic.

We liked cousin CC and did not begrudge him the food but we knew that every time he was around something strange would happen. It was to be no different this time. Anyway, we decided to keep a careful eye on him to see that we did not get into trouble.

Now to get to Bird Island we needed to rent a rowboat. When we got to a pier across from the Island, there were several rowboats for rent. We picked the largest and sturdiest looking boat. When we all got into the boat, cousin CC was the happiest. “See,” he said, “I have been with you guys for an hour and nothing bad has happened!” Martin said he would row and picked up the oars. CC said wait a minute. He told us about how when he lived in Cairo which is on the Nile river he was acclaimed as the best oarsman on the Nile and begged us to let him row. When Cousin CC pleads for something he rolls his eyes in such a way that it is difficult to refuse him. The right eye rolls clockwise and the left eye rolls counterclockwise. If you refuse him, he reverses the rolls until you give in.

We let him take the oars. If he was the best oarsman on the Nile, the others must have been a great disaster. The more CC rowed, the furthur from the Island we seemed to be. “Row harder!” we told him, which was a mistake. He rowed so hard that one oar slipped into the water. The current took it away from the boat. Cousin CC did not seem worried—in fact he began to smile. Whenever CC smiles there is more trouble.

Before we could tell Cousin CC how angry we were for his losing the oar, he told us that on the Nile he would never use two oars but he would row with one while standing in the rear of the boat. Before we could stop him, he slipped to the rear of the boat, stepping on our sandwiches, and began to paddle. His paddling was even worse than his rowing. All we did was to go around in a circle and as he changed his footing he smashed more and more our sandwiches. Not only that, but with every stroke he splashed water in the boat. Soon, our feet were soacked in water, let alone the smashed sandwiches.

Seymour began frantically to search his brain trying to recollect if there was anything that the philosophers have said that would rescue the situation. When we complained to Cousin CC about all the water he was splashing into the boat, he said not to worry. He walked to the bow of the boat and bent down. We thought he was searching for a pail. Strangely, Cousin CC had bent down , taken a small drill from his trousers and drilled a small hole in the bottom of the boat. “See,” he said, “now all the water will run out—just like in the bathtub!”

Cousin CC could not be more wrong. Tbe ocean water gushed through the hole. Our poor sandwiches were swept out to sea. Suddenly, Seymour remebered that Plato, a philosopher he admired, had sald something about the big toe having some useful purpose, or was it Darwln? Without wasting time to determine who said what, he ordered Cousin CC to take off his shoe and stick his toe into the hole. CC did as he was told, feeling proud that he was being noticed. It was a tight fit for the toe but CC squeezed it in.

The trick worked. The water stopped coming in. Martin grabbed the oar and paddled us back to the pier. Seymour, Martin and I scrambled out of the boat and called for CC. CC could not move—his big toe was firmly stuck in hole. His eyes began to do their roll. Try as we might, we could not pull the toe out. Cousin CC suggested that we burn the boat and then he could pull his toe out. This was a dumb idea, even for Cousin CC.

This time the solution came from Martin who was more practical than Seymour and myself even though Martin had built a boat in his garage that turned out to be to wide to be pulled out. He said that we should carry the boat with CC stuck in to the hospital and have a doctor operate on the boat. It was a bright idea, at least CC said it was. We turned the boat upside down and carried the boat on our shoulders. Cousin CC was dangling upside down, his big toe firmly in the hole.

We had to walk through the town to get to the hospital. No one we met acted surprised at seeing a boat being carried with a person hanging upside down because in those early days people were very polite and did not stare or laugh at uncommon sights. Things are different these days because of television. People laugh at everything now to become part of canned laughter.

When we got to the hospital Cousin CC asked for the most skilled surgeon on the staff. It was Dr. Sawbones. Dr. Sawbones took the boat with CC attached to the operating room. A series of x-rays indicated that Cousin CC's foot was stuck in a hole at the boat's bottom. Dr. Sawbones asked for two skilled assistants and for the hospital carpenter. We went to the viewing gallery. The operation took three hours and forty minutes. We could not really see what was going on but we did hear a lot of sawing and hammering. Cousin CC was given an anesthetic not because he needed one, according to Dr. Sawbuck, but because he started to criticise the way the operation was being done. Anyway, Cousin CC came out fine except for a little swelling in the toe. He said he had a great tlme at the picnic.

Note: This story is partly true. There is a cousin CC and Seymour and martin were my friends in long beach. There is also a bird island reserve which scouts were allowed to visit. The loss of sandwiches really happened when my Uncle Ted invited thirty people including myself on a fishing trip and forgot to bring the food. Cousin CC lived in cairo before coming to America at the age of eight.

CC is the guy in the middle of the women, with his thumb up. Click on picture to enlarge it.
Kim's note: Here's Seymour (http://merton.org/Research/Correspondence/y1.aspx?id=695), CC (http://www.ancientfaces.com/person/clement-saban/50155059), some mention of the Freedgood brothers (here) and Edmond (http://boards.ancestry.com/surnames.mosley/790/mb.ashx)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Crying

From Ruby's BBQ, men's rest room, Austin, TX
One of my eyes has been crying lately. Maybe it has been crying a long time and I just didn't notice. Sometimes I think this is a problem. Should I get it fixed? And then I wonder which eye should be repaired: the cryer or the tight-fisted “I'm not going to feel anything eye.” It is my right eye that cries. Normally, it is the left that is known to cry. Like most things, I have it mixed up.

It feels good to cry. I never was much good at it. My father told me to stop crying when my mother died. That wouldn't have been so bad except it was so hard to cry that I was glad I was crying—glad that I was feeling something.

But then, when he was dying, he got mad at me because I wasn't crying. He told me that this was a very somber moment and that I should be sad. But he was so beautiful in his acceptance of death that I laughed.

It is convenient to half cry because I can wipe my tears with one hand. Tears are kind of salty and cool. Maybe that's why they feel so good.

I suspect it is my body that cries. My mind looks at things very differently. It views the costs and benefits of the situation. A tree dies and I say to myself, “now the sunlight can hit the pond.” I don't feel much for the tree, until I feel this cool drip seeping down my cheek. Then I ponder, “Oh no, the grand tree is gone!”

P.S. As I read this out loud to my writing group, tears started coming from the left too. Someone handed me a box of tissues. That's a first for me.

P.P.S. Think I'll call the eye doctor, in hopes that it is my heart and not something less serious.

P.P.P.S. I have an eye appointment at 2pm. Stay tuned.

P.P.P.P.S. The eye doc said I have matted eye lashes and that I should wash them three times a day with Johnson Baby Shampoo, diluted 1:1, for a week. He was concerned that I didn't know what 1:1 meant. I told him that photographers know that. Of course, this disease has a cool name: blepharitis. He said I could read about it on the web.


Sunday, June 16, 2013

A (Linguistic) Proof for the Existence of God ... or, God is Like an Apple

My wife and I were talking God at dinner and she came up with a very simple proof that it exists.

But first let's talk about an apple. An apple is the round fruit of a tree of the rose family, which typically has thin red or green skin and crisp flesh. If you find such a fruit then the apple exists.

Suppose we say that God is love and goodness. We don't deny that love and goodness exist. Therefore God exists.

I was referring to the idea of God being "just" a word. We would not call an apple "just a word," even if "apple" is a word. I bite into an apple and I taste it. It satisfies the conditions for something being real. I touch it. I can see it. I can smell it. I hear it squeak as I run my hand over it. As much as something is real it is real.

With God, it is the same. My senses all tell me that love and goodness prevail. I see evidence of them in every moment. If God is love and goodness, then it exists, just like an apple.

All things are "just" a word. What more can a thing be? The word "just" was unfair. Am I "just" a human being? I might be "just" a human being if I knock on a door and someone fears that a hungry lion is at the door. Then the word "just" is warranted. But that word doesn't make me less than a human. In fact, that may be all I can be. And "goodness and love" may be all that God can be ... and not a mean accomplishment either.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Strange Things are Happening

My friend Greg, and Moses both have spoken to God. I imagine that, if there were no God, some would still believe that they had met him. When we believe something, our mind can play lots of tricks. Some with prejudice against another actually flipped in their head who was attacking whom when shown some photos. Psychotic people imagine things, but also all of us "see things."

Likewise, miracles will occur from time to time. Unexplainable activities, such as a flipped coin landing on its head, appear to defy the scientific "laws." This is the nature of probabilities. Every once in while "strange things are happening" (to quote Red Buttons).



Some use "God" as the word describing such events as creation, goodness, and love. When "God" is more than a word I imagine that "it" is either physical and not. If physical, then one could theoretically find "it" if they combed through the universe(s). If not physical, then one could not find "it," but they could feel its presence and see its work.

One interesting question is whether "it" plays dice with the universe. I suppose those that believe that "it" does use the existence of miracles as their proof. And those that think "it" just set up life believe that miracles simple indicate our lack of knowledge, information or imagination.

It seems to me that the non-believers, like Bertrand Russel or Dawkins, use rationality to disprove "it." I find many contradictions in this approach. For one, much of our lives are immersed in the unexplainable, from love to life itself. And we don't do much with rationality if we believe that our unconscious makes decisions milliseconds before our (rational) consciousness believes that it does. Anyone who has made art knows that rationality is our enemy, not our friend. One teacher used the negative term, "pre-meditated" to criticize some of the art that "didn't make it."

When I asked a colleague if she would still believe in God if I proved that "it" didn't exist, she said, of course, "I've experienced it." I imagine that in a world without "it" we'd still have that experience.

So where does that leave us? I know we use the word "God" to mean many different things. "Is there a God?" is an ambiguous question. "Is there a God that plays dice with the universe, circumventing the laws of nature?" Maybe that's a better question. Or, "is there a god that created the universe with some degree of thought or consciousness?" Or, "is there a place "Heaven" (like Australia) where creature "God" resides and judges us by our deeds?

My suspicion is that "God" is, for some, a very pivotal, and perhaps useful, word.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

50th High School Reunion Memory Book Page


I spent my life in school, much of the time believing that it wasn't the real world. I taught art in colleges for about 35 years and then became dean of liberal arts for three and a half years, my first real job. I thought being a dean would be a good opportunity to grow up and that maybe I could accomplish that in a year or so. Little did I know that it would only take a couple of days … and it would let me see the real world.

Retirement in 2007 was an interesting challenge. I had imagined that I would wake up one day and wonder, "what will I do today?" That hasn't happened yet, and it has been six years. Instead, I set a goal for myself: to prepare for another career as a teacher. But this time I wanted to know the truth. I decided to investigate Buddhism or Judaism—so I did both. I found two terrific teachers. I didn't like Judaism because it just seemed about the past, so I went with Buddhism, which I've been involved with for about six years. And I've become much more interested in early writing rather than contemporary teachings. Oh, and I also thoroughly enjoy a Torah study group which is taught by a number of rabbis, all of whom like to linger over the meaning of a word or phrase. That’s probably one of my favorite pastimes. And I've become totally uninterested in the truth, realizing that emptying my teacup is a far better way to embracing new ideas.

As a teacher and then college administrator I was aware of the power of students. Their only constraint is often that they don't know what they can do. Now I'm having fun as a student, especially with my interest and ability to change organizations. The one colleague who always butted heads with me complained that, "The trouble with Kim is that he has these ideas and then he does them." That sums up much of my life (and as I read about my classmates, most of our lives).

When I was young I had a speech problem when has led me up interesting mountains. I noticed in the yearbook that I never was in any "clubs." Once in grade school everyone in music class had to sing in front of the class, everyone, that is, but Kim. I was both relieved and insulted. In high school a bunch of guys came into Gordon's to get something to eat. One of them noticed I was sitting there and said they should invite me over. Another said, "Oh Kim, he has nothing to say." Then my senior English teacher told me I wouldn't pass Freshman English in college. Once I told Mom that I was doing something new, and she said, “Oh, you probably aren't any good at that either.” Even in a drawing class in college, my teacher (who loved what I did) said to the class, “Anyone can learn to draw. Then he looked over at me, and said, “Anyone, that is, but Mosley.” (That turned out to be blessing.)

But I had a very nurturing grandfather and some good friends. And the biggest hope came from a story my father told me about Demosthenes, an Ancient Greek who stuttered and was inarticulate. He put pebbles into his mouth and gave speeches over the roar of the ocean. Continuing with this practice daily he became a great orator. Though I loved pebbles I never gave a speech to the roar of the waves (except once when I was drunk), but I did find myself in situations where I need to talk in front of a crowd, starting with freshman English that was combined with a speech class. That morphed into almost finishing a degree in English, which was cut short by a French requirement (more on that to come). I finally earned a BFA. In my second teaching job I I realized that I had no idea how to sit with a room of peers and talk. I started joining all the committees I could and soon started leading them.

I think our greatest accomplishment is our ability to attend to this present moment in a wholehearted way. That might be the summation of this journey I've been on for 67 years. Marcus Aurelius said that we should leave each day as if we’ll be judged on that for eternity. That idea stuck in my head 50 years ago; I knew that there was something valuable there that I couldn’t understand yet. We each build all kinds of things in our lives: families, places, and relationships, but the real accomplishment is how manage the next moment. Between my Zen practice and my wife’s practice of Japanese tea ceremony, I’ve come to realize that nothing is more important than how we touch something or someone. That is why I now begin all emails with the word “Dear.” It reminds me how special we all are, and that I’m now going to show that I care for this person.

All that I have is my ability to contend with the challenge of this moment. And this moment moves into the next, and as I pass that moment, I face a new challenge. Today I was stressed because I had done something that one person didn't approve ... others did. It was a no-win situation. As I sat in meditation, I became aware that it was my body was sitting and breathing gently. The stress that my mind had created moved on as my breath went in and out. Then I could write this. I am thankful for the opportunity to struggle, to love, and to learn. What a privilege it is to be human, and how lucky to reconnect with so many of you.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Breathing the Four Seasons

Being born is kind of simple. I've read about schoolgirls going out to the woods during recess and delivering their baby before the bell rings.

I was surprised to hear Buddhists believe that birth is one of the four causes of suffering, along with sickness, old age and death. Why?

The world where the fetus grows is very different from its next environment. Are we then done with birth? Not at all—our life and our birthing has just begun.  We contend (over and over again) with not getting what we want, and getting what we don't want. This goes on and on until we grow old and die.

In the meantime, we experience sickness and old age. As we recover from one mode of suffering we start a new one. So why is it so special to be human?

As I sat tonight I went from spring to summer to autumn to winter in each breath. I'd watch my breath arrive and it was spring. Soon what was so pleasurable became bothersome, so I would breathe out feeling pleasure. Yet the grasping for another breath soon followed that relief, and the cycle continued … on and on.

We welcome each new breath as it is born and grieve it when it leaves us a moment later. The cycle continues. And this cycle replicates itself in every mode of life.

Relationships start and stop. What was once glorious is replaced by excruciating pain. My grandfather, after losing his last dog, said he couldn't endure the pain of losing another one. He had lost his wife (the love of his life) when he was in his twenties. “No more loss for me,” he said.

So why is it so special to be human? Because we can watch as we bounce back with each exhale and enjoy the next fresh breath that bathes our lungs, our blood, and our psyche. It is our ability to watch that separates us from other life forms. 


Friday, April 26, 2013

Favorite Child (More) and Art Saved by Prayer




Here are a couple more messages from Jesus today.


In ancient times, God would appear by placing a cloud over a tent. In Austin, he produces a little clump of snow.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Who Is My Favorite Child?

Where Am I?




Here's a workshop I took with Kokyo Henkel last weekend on mirror awareness in case you didn't know this was about a Zen teaching:

http://austinzencenter.org/teachings/audio/mp3s/kh042013p1.mp3
http://austinzencenter.org/teachings/audio/mp3s/kh042013p2.mp3

Or, if you don't want to spend three hours, then read this:


Song of the Jewel Mirror Awareness

The Dharma of thusness
Is intimately conveyed by Buddha Ancestors.
Now you have it, Keep it well.
Filling a silver bowl with snow,
Hiding a heron in the moonlight.
They are similar though not the same.
Side by side you can see the differences.
The meaning is not in the words,
Yet one pivotal instant can reveal it.
Move and you are trapped;
Miss and you fall into confusion and doubt.
Turning away and touching are both wrong,
For it is like a massive fire.
To depict it with complex words
Is to defile it.
In the darkest night,
It is perfectly clear.
In the brilliance of dawn,
It remains hidden.
It acts as a guide for beings.
Its use removes all suffering.
Although it is not created,
It is not beyond words.
It is like facing a jewel mirror;
Form and image behold each other.
You are not it; Yet it is you.
Like a newborn child,
It is endowed with five aspects.
No coming, no going,
no arising no abiding.
“Baba wawa” is there anything said or not?
In truth, this has no meaning,
For the words are not yet clear.
Like the six lines of the double split hexagram,
The relative and absolute integrate.
Piled up, they make three;
The complete transformation makes five.
It is like the taste of the five-flavored herb,
Like the diamond thunderbolt.
Wondrously embraced within the absolute,
drumming and singing go together.
Penetrating the source and traveling the way;
You cover the territory and embrace the road.
Complications are auspicious;
Do not resist them.
What is natural and inconceivable,
Belongs neither to delusion nor enlightenment.
Causes and conditions at this moment
Shine completely in the silence.
So fine, it enters nowhere,
So vast it exceeds all bounds.
A hairsbreadth deviation
And you are out of harmony.
Through the teachings of sudden and gradual,
Different methods have arisen.
Even though you master such teachings,
The truth keeps on escaping.
Sitting still, yet inwardly moving,
Like a tethered colt, a trapped rat.
The Ancestors pitied them,
And offered them the teachings.
According to their delusions,
they called black as white.
When delusions disappear,
The natural mind reveals itself.
If you want to follow the ancient path,
Please observe the Ancients of former times.
Some try to attain the Buddha Way
By gazing at a tree for ten eons
They are like a tiger with tattered ears
Or a hobbled horse.
With low aspirations,
You will see jewel pedestals, fine clothing.
And with a sense of wonder,
You will see black badgers and white bulls.
Yi, with his archer's skill,
Could hit the mark from a hundred paces.
But when arrow points meet head on,
How could it be a matter of skill?
When the wooden man begins to sing,
The stone woman gets up to dance.
This does not come by knowing,
Nor does it involve ideas.
Ministers serve their lords
Children obey their guardians.
Not obeying is not filial,
Failure to serve is of no help.
Practice invisibly, work intimately,
Be the fool with no voice.
For realizing true continuation
Is called ∞ the host within ∞ the host.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013