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#3075 - Wednesday, February 13, 2008 - Editor: Gloria Lee  

"Everybody wants to become buddhas; nobody wants to be sentient beings."
  - Chogyam Trungpa
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From: 'Trying to be Human: Zen Talks from Cheri Huber'


Where on earth would we find a boundary between us?
Would it be the air between us that we both breathe?
Would it be the skin on my body that is participating
in the exact same atmosphere as the skin on your body?

The idea of separateness is something we have to make
up, so we say everything that connects us doesn't count
because we can't see it. Of course, if the air weren't
there all of a sudden, it would become important in a
hurry. But for right now, we choose not to pay attention
to it.

Look and see how you make up separateness within yourself.
Look for your sense of "self' and "other." Notice how within
yourself, there are many selves. Inside or outside yourself,
see if you can find a boundary.

gill [email protected]  


Half life

By Stephen Levine
(1937 - )

We walk through half our life
as if it were a fever dream

barely touching the ground

our eyes half open
our heart half closed.

Not half knowing who we are
we watch the ghost of us drift
from room to room
through friends and lovers
never quite as real as advertised.

Not saying half we mean
or meaning half we say
we dream ourselves
from birth to birth
seeking some true self.

Until the fever breaks
and the heart can not abide
a moment longer
as the rest of us awakens,
summoned from the dream,
not half caring for anything but love.

from Breaking the Drought: Visions of Grace, by Stephen Levine

Poetry Chaikhana Home

Most of the time we go through the day, through our activities, our work, our relationships, our conversations, and very rarely do we ground ourselves in an awareness of our bodies. We are lost in our thoughts, our feelings, our emotions, our stories, our plans.

A very simple guide or check on this state of being lost is to pay attention to those times when you feel like you are rushing. Rushing does not have to do with speed. You can rush moving slowly, and you can rush moving quickly. We are rushing when we feel as if we are toppling forward. Our minds run ahead of ourselves; they are out there where we want to get to, instead of being settled back in our bodies. The feeling of rushing is good feedback. Whenever we are not present, right then, in that situation, we should stop and take a few deep breaths. Settle into the body again. Feel yourself sitting. Feel the step of a walk. Be in your body.

The Buddha made a very powerful statement about this: Mindfulness of the body leads to nirvana. Such awareness is not a superficial practice. Mindfulness of the body keeps us present.

-Joseph Goldstein, Transforming the Mind, Healing the World

"Do you have the patience to wait
till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
till the right action arises by itself?
The Master doesn't seek fulfillment.
Not seeking, not expecting,
she is present, and can welcome all things."
- Tao Te Ching, chapter 15

From the book, "The Whole World Is A Single Flower"
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After you wake up you probably open the curtains and look outside. You may even like to open the window and feel the cool morning air with the dew still on the grass. But is what you see really "outside"? In fact, it is your own mind. As the sun sends its rays through the window, you are not just yourself. You are also the beautiful view from your window. You are the Dharmakaya. Dharmakaya literally means the body (kaya) of the Buddha's teachings (Dharma), the way of understanding and love. Before passing away, the Buddha told his disciples, "Only my physical body will pass away. My Dharma body will remain with you forever." In Mahayana Buddhism, the word has come to mean "the essence of all that exists." All phenomena--the song of a bird, the warm rays of the sun, a cup of hot tea--are manifestations of the Dharmakaya. We, too, are of the same nature as these wonders of the universe.

- Thich Nhat Hanh, Present Moment, Wonderful Moment

Milarepa verses with photos by Bob O'Hearn

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