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#1635 - Wednesday, December 03, 2003 - Editor: Joyce (Know_Mystery)




And it won't help any, it won't get us anywhere!
it won't wipe away what has been
nor hold off what is to be
if you hear me saying-
-LOVE is a little white bird-
and the flight of it so fast
you can't see it
and you know it's there
only by the faint whirr of its wings
and the hush song coming so low to your ears
you fear it might be silence
and you listen keen and you listen long
and you know it's more than silence
for you get the hush song so lovely
it hurts and cuts into your heart
and what you want is to give more than you can get
and you'd like to write it but it can't be written
and you'd like to sing it but you don't dare try
because the little white bird sings it better than you can
so you listen and while you listen you pray
and one day it's as though a great slow wind
had washed you clean and strong inside and out
and the little white bird's hush song
is telling you nothing can harm you
the days to come can weave in and weave out
and spin their fabrics and designs for you
and nothing can harm you
unless you change yourself into a thing of harm
nothing can harm you....
I give you the little white bird
-and my thanks for your hearing me-
and my prayers for you
my deep silent prayers.

~ Carl Sandburg ~

Do you think a leaf that falls to the ground is afraid of death? Do you think a bird lives in fear of dying? It meets death when death comes, but it is not concerned about death; it is much too occupied with living, with catching insects, building a nest, singing a song, flying for the very joy of flying. Have you ever watched birds soaring high up in the air without a beat of their wings, being carried along by the wind? How endlessly they seem to enjoy themselves! They are not concerned about death. If death comes, it is all right, they are finished. There is no concern about what is going to happen; they are living from moment to moment, are they not? It is we human beings who are always concerned about death-because we are not living. That is the trouble: we are dying, we are not living.

 ~  J. Krishnamurti  ~

 (from "Think on These Things" cited in "All The Marvelous Earth"; Evelyne Blau and Mark Edwards; Perennial Library – Harper & Row)


Helena Nelson-Reed ~

Phoenix by Helena Nelson-Reed


About The Artist

"Helena Nelson-Reed is an American artist specializing in fine art watercolor painting, pencil drawings, fine art illustration, private/commercial commissions, and portraits. Helena's collections portray a visionary world focused on positive, feminine archetypal imagery. Each painting offers the viewer a portal into their imagination, tapping ancient wellsprings of knowledge and emotion. These collections portray a world filled with light and shadow..."

Silence grew and became intense, wider and deeper. The brain which had listened to the silence -- of the hills, fields, and groves -- was itself, now, silent.... It was still, deep within itself; like a bird that folds its wings, it had folded up on itself. It had entered into depths which were beyond itself. It was a dimension which the brain could not capture or understand.


~  Krishnamurti  ~

(Mystic Fire Video/With a Silent Mind)

The great 14th century Zen master Bassui used this so-called path [Atma Vichara]. He would sit in isolated forests and hear a bird and ask, "Who is it that is hearing this bird?" And he could never find any "I" there, but only awareness itself. There was no "person" hearing it, but only aware spaciousness, like the sky.


~  jim sloman  ~


Actualizing the Fundamental Point

by Eihei Dogen


Translated by Robert Aitken and Kazuaki Tanahashi

Revised at San Francisco Zen Center


As all things are buddha-dharma, there is delusion and realization, practice, and birth and death, and there are buddhas and sentient beings.

As the myriad things are without an abiding self, there is no delusion, no realization, no buddha, no sentient being, no birth and death.

The buddha way is, basically, leaping clear of the many of the one; thus there are birth and death, delusion and realization, sentient beings and buddhas.

Yet in attachment blossoms fall, and in aversion weeds spread.

To carry yourself forward and experience myriad things is delusion. That myriad things come forth and experience themselves is awakening.

Those who have great realization of delusion are buddhas; those who are greatly deluded about realization are sentient beings. Further, there are those who continue realizing beyond realization, who are in delusion throughout delusion.

When buddhas are truly buddhas they do not necessarily notice that they are buddhas. However, they are actualized buddhas, who go on actualizing buddhas.

When you see forms or hear sounds fully engaging body-and-mind, you grasp things directly. Unlike things and their reflections in the mirror, and unlike the moon and its reflection in the water, when one side is illumined the other side is dark.

To study the buddha way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be actualized by myriad things. When actualized by myriad things, your body and mind as well as the bodies and minds of others drop away. No trace of realization remains, and this no-trace continues endlessly.

When you first seek dharma, you imagine you are far away from its environs. But dharma is already correctly transmitted; you are immediately your original self. When you ride in a boat and watch the shore, you might assume that the shore is moving. But when you keep your eyes closely on the boat, you can see that the boat moves. Similarly, if you examine myriad things with a confused body and mind you might suppose that your mind and nature are permanent. When you practice intimately and return to where you are, it will be clear that nothing at all has unchanging self.

Firewood becomes ash, and it does not become firewood again. Yet, do not suppose that the ash is future and the firewood past. You should understand that firewood abides in the phenomenal expression of firewood, which fully includes past and future and is independent of past and future. Ash abides in the phenomenal expression of ash, which fully includes future and past. Just as firewood does not become firewood again after it is ash, you do not return to birth after death.

This being so, it is an established way in buddha-dharma to deny that birth turns into death. Accordingly, birth is understood as no-birth. It is an unshakable teaching in Buddha's discourse that death does not turn into birth. Accordingly, death is understood as no-death.

Birth is an expression complete this moment. Death is an expression complete this moment. They are like winter and spring. You do not call winter the beginning of spring, nor summer the end of spring.

Enlightenment is like the moon reflected on the water. The moon does not get wet, nor is the water broken. Although its light is wide and great, the moon is reflected even in a puddle an inch wide. The whole moon and the entire sky are reflected in dewdrops on the grass, or even in one drop of water.

Enlightenment does not divide you, just as the moon does not break the water. You cannot hinder enlightenment, just as a drop of water does not hinder the moon in the sky.

The depth of the drop is the height of the moon. Each reflection, however long of short its duration, manifests the vastness of the dewdrop, and realizes the limitlessness of the moonlight in the sky.

When dharma does not fill your whole body and mind, you think it is already sufficient. When dharma fills your body and mind, you understand that something is missing.

For example, when you sail out in a boat to the middle of an ocean where no land is in sight, and view the four directions, the ocean looks circular, and does not look any other way. But the ocean is neither round or square; its features are infinite in variety. It is like a palace. It is like a jewel. It only look circular as far as you can see at that time. All things are like this.

Though there are many features in the dusty world and the world beyond conditions, you see and understand only what your eye of practice can reach. In order to learn the nature of the myriad things, you must know that although they may look round or square, the other features of oceans and mountains are infinite in variety; whole worlds are there. It is so not only around you, but also directly beneath your feet, or in a drop of water.

A fish swims in the ocean, and no matter how far it swims there is no end to the water. A bird flies in the sky, and no matter how far it flies there is no end to the air. However, the fish and the bird have never left their elements. When their activity is large their field is large. When their need is small their field is small. Thus, each of them totally covers its full range, and each of them totally experiences its realm. If the bird leaves the air it will die at once. If the fish leaves the water it will die at once.

Know that water is life and air is life. The bird is life and the fish is life. Life must be the bird and life must be the fish.

It is possible to illustrate this with more analogies. Practice, enlightenment, and people are like this.

Now if a bird or a fish tries to reach the end of its element before moving in it, this bird or this fish will not find its way or its place. When you find your place where you are, practice occurs, actualizing the fundamental point. When you find you way at this moment, practice occurs, actualizing the fundamental point; for the place, the way, is neither large nor small, neither yours nor others'. The place, the way, has not carried over from the past and it is not merely arising now.

Accordingly, in the practice-enlightenment of the buddha way, meeting one thing is mastering it -doing one practice is practicing completely. Here is the place; here the way unfolds. The boundary of realization is not distinct, for the realization comes forth simultaneously with the mastery of buddha-dharma.

Do not suppose that what you realize becomes your knowledge and is grasped by your consciousness. Although actualized immediately, the inconceivable may not be apparent. Its appearance is beyond your knowledge. Zen master Baoche of Mt. Mayu was fanning himself. A monk approached and said, "Master, the nature of wind is permanent and there is no place it does not reach. When, then, do you fan yourself?"

"Although you understand that the nature of the wind is permanent," Baoche replied, "you do not understand the meaning of its reaching everywhere."

"What is the meaning of its reaching everywhere?" asked the monk again. The master just kept fanning himself. The monk bowed deeply.

The actualization of the buddha-dharma, the vital path of its correct transmission, is like this. If you say that you do not need to fan yourself because the nature of wind is permanent and you can have wind without fanning, you will understand neither permanence nor the nature of wind. The nature of wind is permanent; because of that, the wind of the buddha's house brings for the gold of the earth and makes fragrant the cream of the long river.

Written in mid-autumn, the first year of Tempuku 1233, and given to my lay student Koshu Yo of Kyushu Island. {Revised in} the fourth year of Kencho {I252}.






Just as a bird leaves no trail in the sky as it flies, the true teaching leaves no trace in memory. The teaching must have no teacher and no student. If the teaching comes from the past or memory or concept, is it preaching not teaching. This teaching never was... It never will be... And it never is.



While a small bird attempts to save a burning forest, engaged in a seemingly futile mission, she flies back and forth from the river dripping water from her beak. As the lone bird is running out of energy, the Buddhist gods, representing a compassionate function in the universe, see her desperate efforts and are so moved by her sincerity that they begin to cry. The "rain" of their tears extinguishes the fire and the forest survives. - A Buddhist parable

joyce ~ Insightpractice (archives)


A Buddhist bird?

There's a rare New Zealand bird to consider. As Douglas Adams
reflects on searching for the kakapo in "Last Chance to See" :
"...that evening I fell to wondering why it was that I was so
intensely keen to find and see a kakapo and so little bothered by all
the other birds."

"I think it's its flightlessness."  

"There is something gripping about the idea that this creature has
actually given up doing something that virtually every human being
has yearned to do since the very first of us looked upward... it's
not merely the fact that it's given up that which we all so intensely
desire, it's also the fact that it has made a terrible mistake which
makes it so compelling. This is a bird you can warm to. I wanted very
much to find one." ("Last Chance to See", Douglas Adams and Mark

Have you ever watched a cat or dog in their sleep, tails and whiskers
twitching, fore and hind legs jerking, and imagined that they were
dreaming of running or playing or stalking some prey?

So, these birds that have renounced flight makes me wonder. Do they
have little birdie dreams of flying? Or, when they're awake, do they
ever have day-dreams of soaring over the canyons? Of flying up so
high they could touch the sun? Or the stars? Do they? Do they ever
take the notion of flying out of it's hiding place there beneath
their feathered breast and toy with it, turn it around in their mind
and look at it upside down, inside out, and backwards? I wonder.

They say that two other flightless birds, ostriches and emu, are mean
and deadly, capable of killing with those powerful hind legs. Did the
frustration of being flightless push them to that violent nature, I

Douglas Adams observes: "The kakapo is a bird out of time. If you
look one in its large, round, greeny-brown face, it has a look of
serenely innocent incomprehension that makes you want to hug it and
tell it that everything will be all right, though you know that it
probably will not be."

"Sadly, however, it seems that not only has the kakapo forgotten how
to fly, but it has also forgotten that it has forgotten how to fly.
Apparently a seriously worried kakapo will sometimes run up a tree
and jump out of it, whereupon it flies like brick and lands in a
graceless heap on the ground."

"By and large, though, the kakapo has never learned to worry. It's
never had anything much to worry about."

"Most birds, faced with a predator, will at least realise that
something's up and make a bolt for safety, even it if means
abandoning any eggs or chicks in its nest. But not the kakapo. Its
reaction when confronted with a predator is that it simply doesn't
know what the form is. It has no conception of the idea that anything
could possibly want to hurt it, so it tends just to sit on its nest
in a state of complete confusion and leaves the other animal to make
the next move - which is usually a fairly swift and final one."

I've been thinking about the kakapo lately. I've decided that the
kakapo is a buddhist bird, for is it not in a way a bird who, subject
to death, is not afraid or in terror of death?

Read more about the kakapo:

A Short Story - Picture of Peace

There once was a King who offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best picture of peace. Many artists tried. The King looked at all the pictures, but there were only two he really liked and he had to choose between them.


One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror for peaceful towering mountains were all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace.


The other picture had mountains too. But these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky from which rain fell, and in which lightening played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all. But when the King looked, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In the bush a mother bird had built her nest. There, in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest ... perfect peace.


Which picture do you think won the prize? The King chose the second picture.


Do you know why?


"Because," explained the King, "peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace."


Mace Mealer ~ Illuminata (archives) & Alan Larus ~ HarshaSatsangh


Present Untense   What grows but that the senses reap?
What moves the eyes to see?
What carries us to gentle sleep
and brings our song to be?
In all that round this world does dance,
in wind and wing and tree.
Our place is now and here my love,
and flies forever free.                                                                                                 


Green Finch

Photo by Alan Larus




She Responded
The birds' favorite songs
You do not hear,


For their most flamboyant music takes place
When their wings are stretched
Above the trees


And they are smoking the opium
Of pure freedom.


It is healthy for the prisoner
To have faith


That one day he will again move about
Wherever he wants,
Feel the wondrous grit of life -
Less structured,


Find all wounds, debts stamped canceled,


I once asked a bird,
"How is it that you fly in this gravity
Of darkness?"


She responded,


"Love lifts
~  Hafiz  ~
Daniel Ladinsky; "The Gift"

...My purpose is to make men unconditionally free, for I maintain that the only spirituality is the incorruptibility of the self which is eternal, is the harmony between reason and love.  This is the absolute, unconditioned truth, which is life itself.  I want, therefore, to set man free, rejoicing as a bird in the clear sky, unburdened, independent, ecstatic in that freedom...


~  Jiddu Krishnamurti  ~

From his Speech of August 2, 1929

joyce (know_mystery) ~ Deep_Well & Alan Larus ~ TrueVision


If not...

Come and stretch
Your morning self,
unlock Your nighttime's heart...

The day anew
has words for You,
She's been saving all this time:

"If not to touch the sky,
why have wings at all?"

joyce (know_mystery)



Spiritual-Friends (archives)   The Most-Sacred Mountain
Space, and the twelve clean winds of heaven,
And this sharp exultation, like a cry, after the slow six thousand
steps of climbing!
This is Tai Shan, the beautiful, the most holy.
Below my feet the foot-hills nestle, brown with flecks of green;
and lower down the flat brown plain, the floor of earth,
stretches away to blue infinity.
Beside me in this airy space the temple roofs cut their slow curves against the sky,
And one black bird circles above the void.
Space, and the twelve clean winds are here;
And with them broods eternity -- a swift, white peace, a presence manifest.
The rhythm ceases here. Time has no place. This is the end that has no end.
Here, when Confucius came, a half a thousand years before the Nazarene,
he stepped, with me, thus into timelessness.
The stone beside us waxes old, the carven stone that says: "On this spot once
Confucius stood and felt the smallness of the world below."
The stone grows old:
Eternity is not for stones.
But I shall go down from this airy place, this swift white peace,
this stinging exultation.
And time will close about me, and my soul stir to the rhythm
of the daily round.
Yet, having known, life will not press so close, and always I shall feel time
ravel thin about me;
For once I stood
In the white windy presence of eternity.
~ Eunice Tietjens ~

Mace Mealer ~ Illuminata (archives) & Alan Larus ~ TrueVision



Hand To Mouth
When scattering bread for the birds
there will always be those who do not partake.
What matters
that some
will take their sustenance
in solitude,
on the wing,
in higher places?
  Mace Mealer  

Panhala ~ Joe Riley 

The Deer
You never know.
The body of night opens
like a river, it drifts upward like white smoke,
like so many wrappings of mist.
And on the hillside two dear are walking along
just as though this wasn't
the owned, tilled earth of today
but the past.
I did not see them the next day, or the next,
but in my mind's eye -
there they are, in the long grass,
like two sisters.
This is the earnest work.  Each of us is given
only so many mornings to do it -
to look around and love
the oily fur of our lives,
the hoof and the grass-stained muzzle.
Days I don't do this
I feel the terror of idleness,
like a red thirst.
Death isn't just an idea.
When we die the body breaks open
like a river;
the old body goes on, climbing the hill.
~ Mary Oliver ~
(House of Light)

Jan Sultan ~ AdvaitaToZen

The birds have vanished into the sky,
and now the last cloud drains away.
We sit together, the mountain and me,
Until only the mountain remains.

~  Li Po  ~

Faith is the bird that feels the light, and sings when the dawn is still dark. 
~   Rabindranath Tagore  ~

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Jerry Katz
photography & writings

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