the great way isn’t difficult


The Great Way isn’t difficult
– nor is it easy

aspiring to walk it
one hobbles oneself

better to sit down now,
rest your tired feet

and with a sweet sigh soak up
The Great View


The Great Way by Sengstan (Third Zen Patriarch)

this vast and teeming emptiness


anything to report?

the clang of a hand-held hammer on tin as an early-bird builder begins his day
the roar of a distant jet on its way to the Gold Coast airport
the growl of my empty tummy greeting green tea

warbles of bird-banter from there to there, and here
between my ears, as well

the great Shining, climbing into cloudless cerulean
is throwing its bejeweled finery over the fields

a quiet footfall sounds on bare wooden floorboards
a melodic drippety-drip echoes from the down pipe
and there’s revving engine-speak from a passing garbage truck

the pulsing thump of a water pump
courses through the singing silver silence
of this vast and teeming emptiness


wideawakeness is a contented wallflower


The great Shining suddenly breaks through a gap in the branches and belts me between the eyes.

When they close reflexively against the glare, a dozen Shinings appear against velvet blackness.

They fade very slowly, leaving the screen blank again, ready for the next projection when perception’s movie projector cranks up:

liquidly shimmering spider webs
diamante dewdrops sparkling on long tangled grass
long deep shadows thrown by still-sleepy shrubbery
currawong calling up the day
delicious saturation of greens under cerulean
cool fresh lightning-charged air
billowing lace drapes . . .

Wideawakeness is mindful of the ever-present invitation to join the dance of yesterday and tomorrow, of better and worse,  of regret and resolve, and declines.  Resting on the sidelines, silently smiling  in this sweet suchness, it’s a contented wallflower.


all places and all times are nowhere but now-here


Tamborine Mountain, in the great down-under called Oz, wraps its stony self in subtropical rainforest garb.  Peering through spaces in the forest bordering this property I see cultivated areas of huge avocado and macadamia nut trees. There’s a large tree massed with flowers of scarlet.  Beyond, there’s a stand of huge eucalypts, and it’s through their open arms that the sky shows gold, then pearl, as the great Shining climbs out of the Pacific and over the rainforest rim.

Oh delight!

I notice that as this verdant vista unfolds in perception, it brings up a bouquet of similar delights archived in this particular memory:  Normandie, Norway and New Zealand, the English Lake District, Uttarkashi in the Himalaya, and the Western Ghats in Kerala, India.  Each vignette bears its unique geographical and chronological label, yet all places and all times exist nowhere but nowhere in this vastness of mind.



zafu view: hare and now


On the first day of a new month in New Zealand we used to say “rabbits” before uttering any other words.  I have no idea why rabbits – but it was considered bad luck to forget!

Echoes from Emptiness - Hare on full alert

I’m on the other side of the Tasman on this first morning of a new month.  And I think of those ‘Kiwi’ rabbits as I watch a huge hare feeding in the field outside Bliss Cottage.

There he sits, utterly present, ears poised, munching, washing his face with deft paws, then rubbing those paws together whilst perched on his powerful hind legs, turning to each of the four directions one by one.  He’s a creature wholly at one with his habitat.

The mountain is still rain-cloud shrouded with pale shafts of sunlight breaking through, but hare doesn’t seem to care.  The fresh grass growth is juicy and moist with ever-present mist.  He just gets on with hare-ing naturally in here and now.

Hare. And. Now.

Image: Copyright Austin Thomas


I’m living in a Chinese painting


life in the clouds that shroud a rainforest mountain is languid life
all sound is muffled by mist; even birdcall echoes as from afar
mold and mushrooms thrive

keeping the cottage and its contents dry is impossible
my paintings warp and ripple, my books buckle

suchness is this damp world dripping
mists shrouding
then scrolling back

I’m living in a Chinese painting …

and here, here
the vast no-thing called I
knows no damp or dry