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#1672 - Friday, January 9, 2004 - Editor: Gloria Lee  

"Long Way Home" photo by Alan Larus  


we tell stories, build
from fragments of our lives
maps to guide us to each other.
We make collages of the way
it might have been
had it been as we remembered,
as we think perhaps it was,
tallying in our middle age
diminishing returns.

Last night the lake was still;
all along the shoreline
bright pencil marks of light, and
children in the dark canoe pleading
Tell us scary stories.
Fingers trailing in the water,
I said someone I loved who died
told me in a dream
to not be lonely, told me
not to ever be afraid.

And they were silent, the children,
listening to the water
lick the sides of the canoe.

It's what we love the most
can make us most afraid, can make us
for the first time understand
how we are rocking in a dark boat on the water,
taking the long way home.


Your boat, they will tell you,
cannot leave the harbor
without discipline.

But they will neglect to mention
that discipline has a vanishing point,
an invisible horizon where belief takes over.

They will not whisper to you the secret
that they themselves have not fully
understood: that
belief is the only wind with breath enough

to take you past the deadly calms, the
stopped motion
toward that place you have imagined,
the existence of which you cannot prove

except by going there.


Welcoming Angels   Between the last war
and the next one,
waiting for the northbound train
that travels by the river,
I sit alone in the middle of the night
and welcome angels.
Welcome back old hymns, old songs,
all the music, the rhyme and rhythm,
welcome angels, archangels,
welcome early guesses
at the names of things,
welcome wings.

I have grown tired of disbelief.
What once was brave is boring.
Welcome back to my embrace stranger,
visitor beside the Jabbok.
Welcome wrestling until dawn,
until it is my hip thrown out of joint,
my pillow stone, my ladder
of antique assumptions.
Welcome what is not my own;
glory on the top rung, coming down.

Poems by Pat Schneider from Long Way Home (Amherst Writers and Artists Press).

From: 'Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers'
by Thich Nhat Hanh

In East Asia, we speak of the human body as a
mini-cosmos. The cosmos is our home, and we can touch it
by being aware of our body. Meditation is to be still:
to sit still, to stand still, and to walk with
stillness. Meditation means to look deeply, to touch
deeply so we can realize we are already home. Our home is
available right here and now. [...]

Our True Home

When you practice the bell of mindfulness, you breathe in, and you listen deeply to the sound of the bell, and you say, "Listen, listen." Then you breathe out and you say, "This wonderful sound brings me back to my true home. Our true home is something we all want to go back to. Some of us feel we don't have a home.

What is the meaning of "true home"? In the last Dharma talk, we talked about a wave. Does a wave have a home? When a wave looks deeply into herself, she will realize the presence of all the other waves. When we are mindful, fully living each moment of our daily lives, we may realize that everyone and everything around us is our home.

Isn't it true that the air we breathe is our home, that the blue sky, the rivers, the mountains, the people around us, the trees, and the animals are our home? A wave looking deeply into herself will see that she is made up of all the other waves and will no longer feel she is cut off from everything around her. She will be able to recognize that the other waves are also her home. When you practice walking meditation, walk in such a way that you recognize your home, in the here and the now. See the trees as your home, the air as your home, the blue sky as your home, and the earth that you tread as your home. This can only be done in the here and the now.

Sometimes we have a feeling of alienation. We feel lonely and as if we are cut off from everything. We have been a wanderer and have tried hard but have never been able to reach our true home. However, we all have a home, and this is our practice, the practice of going home.

It's funny. In my country, the husband refers to his wife as "my home." The wife refers to her husband as "my home." Talking with another person he might say, "My home said that" or "My home is not here at the moment." There must be some feeling behind this.

When we say, "Home sweet home," where is it? When we practice looking deeply, we realize that our home is everywhere. We have to be able to see that the trees are our home and the blue sky is our home. It looks like a difficult practice, but it's really easy. You only need to stop being a wanderer in order to be at home. "Listen, listen. This wonderful sound brings me back to my true home." The voice of the Buddha, the sound of the bell, the sunshine, everything is calling us back to our true home. Once you are back in your true home, you'll feel the peace and the joy you deserve.

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All of you!  If you want to return to your homes,
simply wake up to your true nature.  This mind nature
is the original source of all Buddhas.  It is the
names of all the sutras.  Sometimes it is referred to
as the Unique and Wonderful Dharma, sometimes as
Perfect Awakening, sometimes as the Void, sometimes as
the World, sometimes as the Pure Land.  All of these
names simply point to the One Mind.  Though there are
ten thousand different names, there are not even two
dharma realities.

 - Mud and Water
- A Collection of Talks by the Zen Master Bassui

"Self is what you are, You are That fathomless in which experience and concepts
appear. Self is the Moment which has no coming or going, It is the Heart, Atman,
Emptiness, It shines to Itself, by Itself, in Itself. Self is what gives breath to
life, You need not search for It, It is Here. You are That through which you
would search. You are what you are looking for! And That is all it is. Only Self is." 

 -Sri H.W.L. Poonja 

  "If we understand and feel that here in this life we already have a  link with the
infinite, desires and attitudes change. In the final  analysis, we count for
something only because of the essential we  embody, and if we do not embody
that, life is wasted. In our  relationships to other men, too, the crucial question is
whether an  element of boundlessness is expressed in the relationship." 
- C.G. Jung 

Pete - NDS

When Shirai was dying, Shiri burst into his room and exclaimed, "How wonderful! What is this that is happening to you? Would you become  the liver of a rat, or the elbow of a worm?" Shirai reply, " I'm like a small child, I have no choice but to go wherever my mother takes me."   Shosi  

I have just three things to teach:
Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.

Simple in actions and in thoughts,
You return to the source of being.

Patient with both friends and enemies,
You accord with the way things are.

Compassionate toward yourself,
You reconcile all beings in the world.

- Lao Tzu

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Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression Home

Jerry Katz
photography & writings

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