Monday, October 27, 2008

Squirrel zen

Squirrel zen
Originally uploaded by Peg Syverson.

Even a squirrel sitting in zazen is enlightened. Why would you imagine you are lacking?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

How simple can you let this be?

Here is an interesting visualization of my poem, "How simple can you let this be":

You can play with the visualizations using the tabs at the top of the image. It's made using the community data visualization site Many Eyes, created at IBM:

I thought this tool might interest some folks. It is a new way of looking at things: numbers, words, and communities.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

October Intensive

We have just finished the Ordinary Mind October Practice Intensive, led by Flint and Peg. We worked with a much-loved Dogen piece, Jijuyu Zammai, Self-fulfilling Samadhi, and the David Whyte poem, Faces at Braga. We also shared poetry by David Wagoner, and a new poem by Peg. During service, we chanted Bodhisattva's Vow, by Toreii Zenji. It was a deep and rich experience, as we practiced zazen, worked together cleaning and preparing meals, and gathered for inquiry groups and dharma talks. I've linked here the readings to share this work with all of you. And I want to add a footnote, as Flint mentioned in the inquiry group, that comes from the Afterword in Taking Our Places. In it Norman Fischer recounts a story from the Lotus Sutra:
It comes at a crucial moment in the narrative, as the Buddha is revealing the esoteric meaning of his teachings to a vast assembly of astonished practitioners. "In the past," the Buddha tells them, "I taught in a linear and straightforward manner about what's wholesome and what's not, about suffering and the end of suffering, about samsara and nirvana. I taught ethical conduct, meditation, and insight, setting forth a path of practice that was clear and manageable.
But all of this," Buddha confesses, "was merely skillful means I had to use, knowing that it was as much as you were capable of understanding at that time. Now I am revealing a deeper truth—that the path, the teachings, the practice, is much larger than I indicated before—in fact it is infinte in scope, limitless, because beings are infinite and limitless. Although I defined it before, in truth the path cannot be defined. No ordinary person could possibly know it, for it is beyond all knowing."
Fischer continues,
Now comes my line: "Only a Buddha and a Buddha," he says, "can understand it." Even a Buddha by himself can't understand it. Only a Buddha and a Buddha can. Only through profound relationship, deep encounter, ineffable meeting, can we ever hope to appreciate the immense dimensions of our human life. (186)

So until we meet again, please appreciate your life, and the pivotal human opportunity of meeting as a Buddha and a Buddha in all of your myriad relationships.

October Intensive Readings link

Friday, October 17, 2008

Installing stone and gravel paths

Installing stone and gravel paths
Originally uploaded by Peg Syverson.

Today the landscape plan moved forward a great step, thanks to Scott Thurmon and his skillful crew. It is delightful to see what a difference the gravel and stone make. When you visit Ordinary Mind now, you will not have to swim through a sea of mud or a desert of dust. The craftsmanship of the workers and the great care they are taking with this taxing physical labor is inspiring. If you click on the photo you can see a few other views.