Saturday, May 29, 2010

"The lotus has no enemies, the lotus has no anger, the lotus knows not whom to please or whom to offend, the lotus judges not. The lotus gives pleasure to saints and sinners alike. Why can't humans be like a lotus? ... How can anyone dissolve anger with more anger? Fire cannot be extinguished by adding more fuel--only water can extinguish fire. Only with love can we overcome hate. Only with trust can we overcome fear."

--Satish Kumar, The Buddha and the Terrorist

(Again, these are waterlilies.)

Be Like a Lotus

"Look at it--look at this lotus. Its roots are deep in the mud, but the flower is always above the water. However much rain falls, the lotus shakes it off. The lotus is soft, gentle, pleasing, beautiful, and friendly. We, too, can be like a lotus if we embrace its qualities."

--Satish Kumar, The Buddha and the Terrorist

(Yes, I realize these are waterlilies.)

Happiness Is Born of Kindness

"How can you predict that you will be happy in the future, when you are sowing the seeds of unhappiness in the present? How can you sow thistles and expect roses? Now is the moment to live fully, and live in happiness. If there is no happiness today, how can you expect to be happy tomorrow? Happiness is born of kindness. When you are kind you are happy, and when you are happy you are kind."

--Satish Kumar, The Buddha and the Terrorist

The Power of Love

"Like a tree grows from a seed, the power of love grows from the self; seek your power within and be your own light."

--Satish Kumar, The Buddha and the Terrorist

In the Labyrinth with Lao Tzu

"In the Labyrinth with Lao Tzu"
A poem by Erica Jong
Be broken to be whole.
Twist to be straight.
Be empty to be full.
--Lao Tzu (trans. Ursula Le Guin)

Hoping to walk
The circle of my life,
I put my toe
On the labyrinth's edge.

A crowd of black crows
Veers above
And drops fall
In this place
Where it never rains.

Writing has been my life
But my writing is stopped
By the crows
And the deaths they portend.

In the middle of the labyrinth of my twisting life,
I find myself under a cloud of crows
and the straight way is lost.

Lao Tzu would say
I must learn to write
Despite the haggling of the crows.

And perhaps he would also say
there is no
Straight way and no
Middle of the road
Of anyone's life.

Oh Lao Tzu, muse of labyrinths,
I should listen to you
And not the everlasting cawing
Of the crows.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Being Human

"The Guest House"

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

~ Rumi ~

(The Essential Rumi, versions by Coleman Barks)

The Bandaged Wound

Trust your wound to a teacher's surgery.
Flies collect on a wound. They cover it,
those flies of your self-protecting feelings,
your love for what you think is yours.
Let a teacher wave away the flies
and put a plaster on the wound.
Don't turn your head. Keep looking
at the bandaged wound. That's where
the light enters you.
And don't believe for a moment
that you're healing yourself.