from BARDO

The stars are in our belly; the Milky Way our umbilicus.

Is it a consolation that the stuff of which we’re made

is star-stuff too?

– That wherever you go you can never fully disappear –

dispersal only: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen.

Tree, rain, coal, glow-worm, horse, gnat, rock.

Roselle Angwin

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

now and forever flowing: the Zenrin

There are three books that live next to my bed. The first is Jon Kabat-Zinn's wherever you go there you are; the second, Phil Cousineau's Soul of the World; and the third I came across when I was 16, and it triggered and is largely responsible for shaping the path I have been on since. It's called The Gospel According to Zen – beyond the death of God; and in it is an exquisite translation of an older text, the Zenrin. This translation's not attributed, but I think it was by John Daido Loori, abbot of the Zen Mountains and Rivers monastery in the US (he died last year. I can't recommend highly enough his book Zen and Creativity.).

This morning, I give you some couplets from the Zenrin.

There is no place to seek the mind;
   It is like the footprints of the birds in the sky.

Sitting quietly, doing nothing,
  Spring comes, and the grass grows by itself.

Ride your horse along the edge of a sword;
  Hide yourself in the heart of the flames.

Perceiving the sun in the midst of the rain;
  Ladling out clear water from the depths of the fire.

Entering the forest he moves not the grass;
  Entering the water he makes not a ripple.

Meeting, they laugh and laugh –
  The forest grove, the many fallen leaves!

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