Wednesday, July 31, 2013

love letters

Every day, priests minutely examine the Law
and endlessly chant complicated sutras.
Before doing that, though, they should learn
how to read the love letters sent by the wind
and rain, the snow and moon. 

photo:  Peter Bowers

big question

There will be marriage, there will be children,
there will be earning money to maintain a family;
all this will happen in the natural course of events, 
for destiny must fulfill itself; you will go through it without resistance,
facing tasks as they come, attentive and thorough,
both in small things and big. 

But the general attitude will be of affectionate detachment,
enormous goodwill, without expectation of return,
constant giving without asking.

In marriage you are neither the husband nor the wife; 
you are the love between the two.

You are the clarity and kindness that makes everything orderly and happy.
It may seem vague to you, but if you think a little,
you will find that the mystical is most practical,
for it makes your life creatively happy.

Your consciousness is raised to a higher dimension,
from which you see everything much clearer and with greater intensity.

You realize that the person you became at birth
and will cease to be at death is temporary and false.

You are not the sensual, emotional and intellectual person,
gripped by desires and fears.  Find out your real being.

What am I?
is the fundamental question of all philosophy and psychology.
Go into it deeply.


Their Secret Was

A married couple used to come see me once in
a while.  Among the many I knew who were wed,
they appeared the most happy.

One day I said to them, "What marital advice
could you offer to others that might help them
achieve the grace you found?"

And the young woman blushed and so did her
husband; so I did not press them to answer.
But I knew.

Their secret was this:  That once every day, for 
an hour, they treated each other as if they were 
gods and would, with all their heart, do anything, 
anything, their beloved desired.

Sometimes that just meant holding hands and
walking in a forest that renewed their souls.

translation:  Daniel Landinsky

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

the same as everything

We are the same as plants, as trees, as other people, 
as the rain that falls. 

We consist of that which is around us.

We are the same as everything. 

Photo:  Peter Bowers

Beside the Waterfall

At dawn
the big dog - 
Winston by name - 
reached down

into the leaves - tulips and willows mostly - 
beside the white 
and dragged out, 

into plain sight, 
a fawn, 
it was scarcely larger
than a rabbit, 

and thankfully,
it was dead.
looked over the

delicate, spotted body and then
the beautiful flower-like head,

breaking it and
breaking it off and
swallowing it.
All the while this was happening

it was growing lighter.
When I called to him
Winston merely looked up.
Grizzled around the chin

and with kind eyes,
he, too, if you're willing
had a face like a flower; and then the red sun

which had been raising all the while anyway,
clear of the trees and dropped its wild, clawed light
over everything. 

Mary Oliver
Photo:  Peter Bowers

Monday, July 15, 2013

Do you think I know what I'm doing?

Do  you think I know what I'm doing? 

That for one breath or half-breath that I belong to myself? 

As much as a pen knows what it's writing, 

or the ball can guess where it's going next? 

photo:  Peter Bowers

Monday, July 1, 2013


You have travelled up ten thousand steps in search of the dharma.
So many long days in the archives, copying, copying, copying. 

The gravity of the Tang and the profundity of the Sung
make heavy baggage.  

Here ! I've picked you a bunch of wildflowers.
Their meaning is the same
but they're much easier to carry.

Xu Yun