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Friday April 18, 2014


The top
grain on the peak
weighs next
to nothing and,
by a mountain,
has no burden,
but nearly
ready to float,
to summit wind,
it endures
the rigors of having
no further
figure to complete
and a
blank sky
to guide its dreaming

~ A.R. Ammons


Chocolate Pudding

Thursday April 17, 2014

Life Before Google

1886 is considered the birth-year of the modern automobile; and the first commercial airline flight happened sometime around 1920.

So now, imagine .... living 200 or even just 150 years ago, before the advent of these modern modes of physical transport; and well before the advent of all the various information and communication technologies which a majority of humans now have at our fingertips (e.g. telephones, Skype, and the internet with its various high-powered search-engines).  What a different world! And yet, has the core of human suffering, and our desire for lasting happiness, changed all that much? ... Read more

Just Because

Sunday April 13, 2014


alone on a rock
crimson and alive with song:
spring robin in snow



Saturday April 12, 2014

A couple days ago, I was riding my bicycle on a city path which runs along a shallow aqueduct:  a narrow creek-like channel, through which mountain-water flows. It's not uncommon to see ducks and geese hanging out near or in this little creek. What caught my eye, however, on this particular day -- and registered as a bit odd, if not downright silly -- was a single duck, traveling down the creek not by floating or by swimming, but rather by walking: step-by-step wading through the water.

This brought a quizzical smile to my face, as I thought, "how strange! ... that a creature well-equipped to both swim and fly, would choose instead to walk like that through the water." Was it part of the duck's exercise regimen, I wondered -- a new water-aerobics routine, perhaps? Did the duck have a little bit too much champagne, temporarily clouding his judgment? Or maybe the duck was going through some kind of adolescent rebellion against more conventionally duck-ish modes of transport? Or engaged in a new form of walking meditation?

What, upon further reflection, seemed more likely,

The Flower's Deepest Heart

Thursday April 10, 2014


How pliant the body
When the sun
Suddenly appears --
Each cell turning as one

Like the gleaming shoal
Or swift-spiralling cloud
Of birds and fish
Moving in unison.

How every leaf and stem
Lifts upward,
Drawn to the the light,
And every petal opens --

The flower's deepest heart
Thirsty for radiance,
And beating now
With the same slow pulse as the sun.

How, once suffused with heat
And luminous, each cell
At dusk yearns for noon --
In the darkness, remembers you.

~ Heather Allen


Beads Of Liquid Life

Monday April 7, 2014


Imagine being common, crow-common,
Lupine-common, an oak surrounded by dry
Wild grasses common.

One day, I cross a high school parking lot,
Common asphalt, meeting my common soles.
Before me, an explosion of gulls,
White as a bride's dress, shoot as one
Up, then spill over, a fountain pouring perfectly
Each bird, a bead of liquid life. Again,
They explode, shoot skyward and spill over
Again and again, threaded through by trails
Of blue-black crows, woven into the flying
Fabric by necessity, desire and instinct.

I comment to a man pushing a compost can,
Remark at the remarkable. He says, "Oh,
They do that every day. At lunch the students,
Leave behind bits of bread," treasures
From barely-noticed food, common fare eaten daily.

I want to be that common,
Common as the gulls, rising and descending,
And the crows, weaving their way
To the feast, that bread,
That common manna.

~ Rebecca del Rio


Pure & Simple

Saturday April 5, 2014

Several days ago, when browsing in a bookstore, I happened upon Original Perfection: Vairotsana's Five Early Transmissions -- Keith Dowman's recent (2013) translation of and commentary on five pithy Dzogchen texts attributed to the Tibetan master Vairotsana (via the latter's own guru, the Indian sage Shri Singha). Included among the five translated texts is the so-called Six Vajra Verses, which, a year and a half or so ago, I had posted here in a more expanded English version. Mr. Dowman's more concise translation is as follows:

Hey, Mahasattva, Magnificent Being, listen!

The nature of multiplicity is nondual
and things in themselves are pure and simple;
being here and now is construct-free
and it shines out in all forms, always all good;
it is already perfect, so exertion is redundant
and spontaneity is ever immanent.

In Taoist lingo, what this short text is addressing is the relationship between Tao and the ten-thousand-things, i.e. between the apparent multiplicity of phenomenal appearances, and their common Source.

What I love about the verse is how it points to the "construct-free" nature of "things" -- how the Truth of phenomena perpetually (and blessedly!) escapes our attempts to capture them conceptually -- while at the same time hinting at the infinite effulgence of That which spontaneously "shines out" from each and every phenomena. Their simplicity is their richness. Their infinite purity is their spontaneously-arising functional precision. Their emptiness of a conceptually-imputed "separated self" is the radiance of their Unborn Nature.

When I opened the book, glanced at its table of contents, and then began to read the introduction, what I became most aware of was a kind of energetic transmission: the text felt "alive" in the sense of catalyzing a feeling of flowing energy and buzzing charge within my bodymind. What a strange and mysterious thing! I've noticed this response to reading a book perhaps a dozen times previously (most recently via the Ribhu Gita) -- and always it brings up the question: what's happening here? Some kind of melting of conceptual, perceptual and/or physical rigidity, which renders the appearance of Elizabeth's body in the mode of vibration or spaciousness, much more than in the mode of (apparent) solidity. Fascinating .....


The Light Of Tao

Thursday April 3, 2014

Q: How many theoretical physicists specializing in general relativity does it take to change a light bulb?

A: Two. One to hold the bulb and one to rotate the universe.


Q: How many realized Sages does it take to change a light bulb?

A: Not-two. One to be the bulb and One to emanate the universe. (And even after all that .... still no real change :)


Look --

Tuesday April 1, 2014

In all ten directions of the universe,
there is only one truth.
When we see clearly, the great teachings are the same.
What can ever be lost? What can be attained?
If we attain something,
it was there from the beginning of time.
If we lose something, it is hiding somewhere near us.
Look: this ball in my pocket:
can you see how priceless it is?

~ Ryokan


Springing Up In Dampness

Friday March 28, 2014

Apropos of looking for things and not finding them -- here's our friend Zhuangzi, in search of the true Source of mushrooms ....

"Joy, anger, grief, delight, worry, regret, fickleness, inflexibility, modesty, willfulness, candor, insolence... mushrooms springing up in dampness, day and night replacing each other before us, and no one knows where they sprout from. Let it be! Let it be! ... I do not know what makes them the way they are. It would seem as though they have some True Master, and yet I find no trace of him. He can act -- that is certain. Yet I cannot see his form. He has identity but no form. The hundred [bodily] joints, the nine openings, the six organs, all come together and exist here [as my body]. But which part should I feel closest to? ... If they are all servants, how can they keep order among themselves? ... It would seem as though there must be some True Lord among them. But whether I succeed in discovering his identity or not, it neither adds to nor detracts from his Truth."


As I reach for my cup of tea, I might say: "I'm picking up the cup of tea."

Yet I could also say: "My body is picking up the cup of tea."

Or instead I might say:

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