walking forth, legless

 

walking forth,
legless,
into the theatre of my life
after 39 days immersion in a
silent Dzochen retreat

 

miriam louisa simons, Wangapeka journal - Dzogchen retreat, New Zealand, 2010

 


I recently came upon a journal written on a 6 week silent Dzogchen retreat at Wangapeka Study and Retreat Centre in Nelson, Aotearoa-New Zealand, in 2010. (The Lama had asked me to do this as part of my practice.) Other writings from this period have been posted at this unlit light blog but the scribblings in this journal haven’t been shared before. The one above, written on the last day of silence, packed a punch from which I will never recover.

This is what happens on a retreat that goes long enough, deep enough, wide enough – you get ripped in three and re-braided.

“formations”? – anything that takes shape in consciousness: a thought, a feeling, a memory, a story, a self, an other…

“universe”? – the changeless, ever-present, immeasurable, all-inclusive and inescapable THIS.

“preferred”? – by whom? by what? (there being no chooser to be found) By the universe ITself, as the miraculous and incomprehensible expression of ITself.

“why”? – make up a good story; it doesn’t matter what you conceive … all stories are formations, fluffy consolations for a mind made redundant.

(Best not to attend such retreats unless prepared for obliteration of the old concepts and fixations around self-identity and world-view.)


time forgets to tick

New Years Day, 2016 – according to the calendar. Three micro-poems which might or might not be haiku. I offer them as they landed. The first one is a selfie and makes me chuckle. The last – well, if you’ve experienced an Australian morning you’ll know about the predawn antics of the rowdy kookaburras… In between, a quiet reflection on – how it is.

 

Gerrit Dou: Old Woman with a Jug at Window

 

xliv

the caged bird long flown

an old woman waters flowers

time forgets to tick

 

xlv

abandoned at last

by meaning and purpose

I sit with my tea

 

xlvi

3am – seems they know

it’s the dawn of a New Year

kookabloodyburras

 


Image: Gerrit Dou, Old Woman with a Jug at Window, c 1660 – 1665
Oil on Panel, 28.3 x 22.8
Kunsthistoriches Museum, Vienna


 

oh how I love being so deluded

 

Andrew Wyeth: Wind from the Sea, detail

 

I was asked to find my mind

and

I failed

I was asked to find my thoughts

and

I failed

I was asked to find my self

and

I failed

 

So then it seemed timely to try to find

the I

that was so successful at failing

 

ha!

it couldn’t be found

yet

it can’t be escaped

 

oh how I love being so deluded

that simply watching words leak out of a pen

can deliver shameless delight!

 


Image: Andrew Wyeth – Wind from the Sea
Tempera on hardboard, 1947, detail
[What moves – the curtain or the wind?]
Source: Washington Post


All writing on this blog leaks from the pen of Miriam Louisa Simons.  Over at my other blog this unlit light, you’ll find more of a smorgasbord of writing, including some of my own.
I chose this WordPress theme for its uncluttered minimalism, and because it’s responsive (i.e., it displays readably on all devices).  All the links that normally appear in a sidebar or footer are hidden behind the menu icon at the top of the page.  If you feel inclined to explore the offerings posted here since 2010, please click that icon.  You’ll also find a way to follow this blog by email there.  I promise you won’t be overwhelmed – emptiness has erratic and unpredictable habits.  Posts turn up.  I marvel.

– mls
Copyright © Emptiness


if

nothing

comes

next

 

Utagawa Kuniyoshi: Hotei

 

best keep an eye out for it!

 


Image: Painting of Hotei by Utagawa Kuniyoshi.

Hotei is one of Japan’s seven lucky gods. Officially he’s the God of Contentment and Happiness; in the West he’s known as the Laughing Buddha.

He carries a large cloth bag over his back, one that never empties, for he uses it to feed the poor and needy. It includes an inexhaustible cache of treasures, including food and drink. Indeed, the Japanese spelling of “Hotei” literally means “cloth bag.” He also holds a Chinese fan called an oogi  (said to be a “wish giving” fan — in the distant past, this type of fan was used by the aristocracy to indicate to vassals that their requests would be granted). Hotei is most likely based on the itinerant 10th-century Chinese Buddhist monk and hermit Budaishi (d. 917), who is said to be an incarnation of Miroku Bodhisattva (Maitreya in Sanskrit).

More information here.


 

three spring haiku

Unknown painter: Sparrows singing their hearts out

 

xli

heavy spring showers

my sleeves wet with the world’s tears

how sweet the birdsong!

 

xlii

everything happens

they say it’s ‘for a reason’

I say stop right there

 

xliii

here’s a great secret:

all does not have to be well

to be perfection

 


Ink painting, artist unknown. I suspected Ohara Koson but fail to find attribution.
Let me know if you can read the chop and solve the mystery.


well-being & being well

 

Agnes Martin - Gratitude, 2001

 

There’s a mindset that runs a mythical story asserting that one’s “accomplishment” of awakening, and the attendant ease of well-being, is negated or compromised by any experience of being unwell. Beware of these myths!

Awakening is never “accomplished” or attained. It is simply a system-restore to the Natural State.

The Natural State – I call it wild wideawakeness – has no preference whatsoever for what might be being experienced by the body or the mind. It remains the essential experience, enabling and infusing all others. Its impartiality – and re-cognition of this – is what dissolves suffering and enables well-being – regardless of the passing play of one’s life.

Well-being does not depend upon being well.

It’s true that the more unshakeable one’s well-being, the more sensitive the organism becomes, bringing understanding and prompting changes that may lead to less physical and mental dysfunction. But well-being remains unaffected. Period.

I have been with frail, aged folk in heart-wrenching discomfort and pain and fully aware of the approach of their end days, who were aglow with well-being.

I have been with a close friend when she received a diagnosis that would strike terror into the heart of most people; she exuded such well-being that her surgeons and friends were at once amazed and relieved. (She has now fully recovered.)

I have been with myself during debilitating illness, pain, grief. At these times the litmus test for the extent of my freedom is a little inquiry: am I suffering?

And I have to say no; I can no longer find a solid-state ‘person’ here who could own a story about suffering.

If there is illness, no problem – I’ll seek help, I’ll take the medicine, but I won’t suffer.

Well-being is unaffected.
Well-being is the Natural State.
The Natural State is what one is.

Because the Natural State is ever-present and inescapable, accepting the entire array of experience without question, I’ve come to know it as Love. Love Divine. 

Whatever you call it – God, Divine Presence, Love, Suchness, The Great Perfection, Beloved – you are naming yourself and the entirety of your experience.

Along with everyone and everything else…

 


Painting by Agnes Martin, Gratitude, 2001. Courtesy of the Tate Gallery, London.


sunyata in shoes

Three September haiku. It’s been quite a month: planets going backwards, the occurrence of the spring equinox (in Australia), and multiple eclipses of the moon… Moon business always seems to open a little gate here and the three-liners tumble through, fully formed. Wondrous!

 

Painting by Duy Huynh http://www.duyhuynh.com/artwork/selected-archives/

 

XXXVIII

sunyata in shoes

befriended by light and flight

she moves as the wind

 

XXXIX

faith and trust and grace

you only find their presence

when you disappear

 

XL

on this year’s soulstice

something in me swelled and surged

the tide has turned

 


Painting  by Duy Huynh


Śūnyatā – see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Śūnyatā