Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Monday, January 28, 2019

Southern California-

Darius and Eden, Joshua Tree, Mary and Ayah Vimila (my teachers) and the desert in bloom.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Before she said so, I knew (every book dedicated to Molly Malone Cook)

In Blackwater Woods
             Mary Oliver (9/10/35-1/17/2019)

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars
of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,
the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders
of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is
nameless now.
Every year
I have ever learned
in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side
is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it
to let it go.

She wrote the same poem over and over, but so masterfully and well. I have a shelf full of her poetry.

Beautiful line breaks, no extraneous words, clear and clean. This poem is a perfect example. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Prartho Sereno


Who gathered the straw and the twigs?
Who wove the nest and laid the egg
of this world? What patient one sat
and warmed it till it broke out in octopus
and chickadee, walrus and snake?
Who came up with all the comings and goings?
The breathing and eating. Sleeping
and waking. Who conjured the laugh?
Who thought up sex and where
we drop when we fall in?
Who dreamed the river of tears?
Who charmed the embryo’s polliwog body
to flower into elbows and ears?
Who jolted the heart to throb?
Who thought up growing old?
What melancholic dramatist chose loss
for every scene—tragic, comic, slice-of-life?
And who is it that can’t stop humming

as she sweeps up the stardust backstage?

Thursday, January 10, 2019


The rain is raining all around. This time of year, the lake below my house is visible through the trees, which are bare of leaves.

I've received an application for some Buddhist training which is quite daunting. It's asking for the story of my life (!) which, at this age, is rather full. What do I include? What do I leave out? The divorces? (not relevant) the suicides (also not relevant except that my brother's death propelled me into deeper practice)

They are looking for reliable folk who will stay the course and offer substance to their local community. All well and good. But. I'm old. And white. So there's that. They've warned me that they will be reading many more applications than they can accommodate so the whole thing  may be moot. And I'm not sure where I stand right now with all of it.

After this past year of turmoil in one of my Dharma communities arounds sexual misconduct and the larger Me Too movement, I am suspicious of old forms. Including the 'sage on the stage' model of teaching Buddhism. this isn't to say that I revere and love my teachers, all cut from that model, but I'm looking for something different, something that brings everyone into the room with their own wisdom. Call me impatient and I know just getting the hang of meditating is an important first step, but I oppose the hierarchy that is modeled in Dharma centers. Oppose it. And I believe when we put someone on a throne, abuse of power happens. There are plentiful examples.

Perhaps a Dharma teacher can set me straight but I've long felt uncomfortable with the structure. Almost all religions have a similar structure-the 'expert' who doles out advice and spiritual teachings, and the audience, who presumably doesn't have access to those same teachings. The Buddha did it by himself, he taught himself the path to liberation from suffering and his many teachings all point to that. But he didn't say, worship me and all will be well. He said, try it for yourself and see if it works. So I literally follow that.

Sure I have Buddhas and Quan Yins all over my house. But don't mistake that. They are reminders that we (WE) have the answers in our own heart-minds. The Buddhas or Gods or whatever you wanna call it are all WITHIN US, not in some external place or person.

Noticing I'm hyperventilating. Sorry.

Enough of this rant. Feel free to argue with me, or agree, it's all good. I"m just trying to figure it out. For as long as I have more time to be alive, I will be investigating the truth of the end of suffering, for the benefit of all beings.

Love and kisses,