a weathered home

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Ricoh Caplio GX100     f/4.1    1/73s    7.3m

…Just beyond the field is a house weathered gray by the seasons and weakened by the stresses of time. In the golden rays of the morning light, the young girl is kicking up dust clouds, searching through the barren soil for seeds of her past, and desiring to be freed from yesterday’s delusions. She walks over to the side of the road and bends over; as she stands, I see three keys, dangling from her left hand. One key is silver, another is gold, and the third is made of diamonds. I feel the pain of fear awaken as the warmth of this early autumn day touches the frozen shield that embraces her heart

…literature provided me with alternate threads by which to darn a harmonious, yet delusional, understanding of death, of fatherless children, of a family. To move into this realm is to be cuddled in the arms of a chair, mesmerized by the pages of a book unfolding like an accordion, embraced by a transparent sound barrier, and transported into fantasies found through fictional characters. While my mind’s eye grasped the hand of my naïve emotional self and together we observed the telling of storied lives, there was a seeking mind that simultaneously identified revealing markers to create a map, not to a place of hidden treasures, but to a place that felt like a home.

B Catherine Koeford, A Meditative Journey with Saldage

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a flower is not a flower

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Aryeah Kaplan wrote that when one is in a meditative state, one has obtained the ability to turn off faint after-images that are constantly with us and interfere with seeing objects with total clarity. He noted that when one is able “to turn off the spontaneous self-generated images . . . the beauty of the flower . . . seen in these higher states of awareness is indescribable [and] appears to radiate beauty.

~Aryeah, Kaplan, Jewish Meditation: A Practical Guide, p.9

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A flower is not a flower.  It is made only of non-flower elements–sunshine, clouds, time, space, earth, minerals, gardeners, and so on. A true flower contains the whole universe. If we return any one of these non-flower elements to its source, there will be no flower. That is why we can say, “A rose is not a rose. That is why it is an authentic rose.” We have to remove our concept of rose if we want to touch the real rose.

~Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, p. 129

 

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…when we hold a rose we see that it is composed of multiple elements, some tangible – leaves, stem, thorns, petals, stamens – and others intangible – scent, color, memories. If you were to remove any of these constituent parts, would you find an entity know as “rose”? As we are unable to find the rose in the absence of any one of these parts, we are also unable to find an enduring solid rose in any one of these elements.

~B Catherine Koeford, A Meditative Journey with Saldage, pp152-153

wpc: beloved

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Imagine the dimension of time as a vertical line. Place yourself in the present on that line with the past above you and the future below you. Establish yourself in time. See all your ancestors that have come before you. The youngest generation of your ancestors is your parents. All of them are above you on this line of time. Then below you, see all your dependents, your children, your grandchildren, and all their future descendants. If you have no children, your descendants are the people you have touched in your life, and all the people they in turn influence. 

In you are both your blood ancestors and your spiritual ancestors. You touch the presence of your father and mother in each cell of your body. They are truly in you, along with your grandparents and great-grandparents. Doing this, you realize their continuation. You may have thought that your ancestors no longer existed, but even scientist will say that they are present in you, in your genetic heritage, which is in every cell of your body. 

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Look into a plum tree. In each plum on the tree there is a pit. That pit contains the plum tree and all previous generations of plum tree. The plum pit contains an eternity of plum trees. Inside the pit is an intelligence and wisdom that knows how to become a plum tree, how to produce branches, leaves, flowers, and plums. It cannot do this on its own. It can only do this because it has received the experience and heritage of so many generations of ancestors. You are the same. ~Thich Nhat Hanh (No Death, No Fear, 137-138)

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This posting  was created in memory of Dustin, Bob, Elberta, Donna, Chris, Larry, and Margaret who all live on within the lives of my beloved.

consciousness in a …

May I find the Equanimity
that will lift this veil of shamed despair
and acquaint me to the perceived and perceiver
absent of greed, anger, and ignorance.

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When we say, ‘I can see my consciousness in the flower.’ it means we can see the cloud, the sunshine, the earth, and the minerals in it. But how can we see our consciousness in a flower? The flower is our consciousness. It is the object of our perception. It is our perception. To perceive means to to perceive something. Perception means the coming into existence of the perceiver and the perceived. The flower that we are looking at is part of our consciousness. The idea that our consciousness is outside of the flower has to be removed. It is impossible to have a subject without an object. It is impossible to remove one and retain the other.

~Thich Nhat Hanh (The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, p.53)

Working homelessness in America…a glaring manifestation of income disparity.

manifest

 

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Before its so-called birth, this goats beard already existed in other forms – clouds, sunshine, seeds, soil, and many other elements. Rather than birth and rebirth it is more accurate to say, “manifestation and re-manifestation”.  It’s  so-called birthday is really a day of its re-manifestation. It has already been here in various forms, and now it has made an effort to re-manifest.

When conditions are no longer sufficient and a plant ceases to manifest, we say it has died, but that is not correct either. Its constituents have merely transformed themselves into other elements.

 

a heart that was deeply wounded

brendakofford_dandelionproject9118b-webThe ocean of suffering is immense, but if you turn around, you can see the land. The seed of suffering in you may be strong, but don’t wait until you have no more suffering before allowing yourself to be happy. When one tree in the garden is sick, you have to care for it. But don’t overlook all the healthy trees. Even while you have pain in your heart, you can enjoy the many wonders of life — the beautiful sunset, the smile of a child, the many flowers and trees. To suffer is not enough. Please don’t be imprisoned by your suffering. … When you have suffered, you know how to appreciate the elements of paradise that are present. If you dwell only in your suffering, you will miss paradise. Don’t ignore your suffering, but don’t forget to enjoy the wonders of life. For your sake and the benefit of many beings.

When I was young, I wrote this poem. I penetrated the heart of the Buddha with a heart that was deeply wounded.

My youth
an unripe plum.
Your teeth have left their marks on it.
The tooth marks still vibrate.
I remember always,
remember always

Since I learned how to love you,
the door of my soul has been left wide open
in the winds of the four directions.
Reality calls for change.
The fruit of awareness is already ripe,
and the door can never be closed again.

Fire consumes this century,
and mountains and forest bear its mark.
The wind howls across my ears,
while the whole sky shakes violently in the snowstorm.

Winter’s wounds lie still,
Missing the frozen blade,
Restless, tossing and turning
in agony all night.

I grew up in a time of war…Once the door of awareness has been opened, you cannot close it. The wounds of war in me are still not all healed. … Embrace your suffering, and let it reveal to you the way to peace.

~Thich Nhat Hanh (The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, pp. 3-5)

Nighttime in the forest…

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Nighttime in the forest is not like nighttime in the city or on a farm. At night, the sacred forest declares its absolute authority. The curtain of darkness is thick and secretive. …I heard many eerie cries coming from the forest. By eight o’clock it was already night, and the forest’s dominance was restored. The whole universe sank into a profound silence that, at the same time, vibrated with life. I could almost hear the majestic steps of the mountain god as he leaped between the towering trees. 

On full moon nights, none of us could sleep. One time, I was up late writing… When the moon and forest were together they created a profoundly marvelous and mysterious atmosphere, unlike any we had experienced before. The silence was total, yet, we could hear moon and forest speaking to each other. They were no longer two, but had become one. If you took away the moon, the forest would cease to be. If you took away the forest, the moon would not be. We wouldn’t be standing by the moonlit window if moon and forest ceased to be. 

~Thich Nhat Hanh (Fragrant Palm Leaves, pg. 22)