zen moments of the senior kind

Happy Hermit

 

The continuation of the spiritual journey really depends on how crazy we’re willing to be.
– Reggie Ray

I had no idea I’d end up this crazy. Or this contented. Or this fulfilled. Don’t ask me about happiness – it’s a sub-category these days. Imagine being happy to be unhappy? Imagine being contented to feel like shit? Imagine being at peace with pain and weariness? Imagine being ok with depression, flatness, confusion? If this isn’t your version of liberation I totally understand. (We all start out on this journey imagining ‘waking up’ will magically erase all discomfort from our experience.)

But this absurd liberation lives here, and this is what the crazy cow offers tonight: five three-liners of the slightly nonsensical variety. They like to think they are haiku, but would duck and hide in the presence of ‘real’ haiku. Apologies for my warping of noble zen aphorisms, koans and haiku. I mean no disrespect; after all these years they are deeply embroidered in the fabric of this brain and have a life of their own.

My sanity does too. Where the hell did I put it?


old flesh, old bones

on the zafu, aches come and go

just like I used to

~

weary old mind

data flows in, data drops out

plop!

~

music to my ears…

the sound of someone else

chopping

~

puddle on zafu

old cow’s melted-down stories

moo!

~

relentless koan:

what is the sound of my neighbor’s dog

barking?

 

~

 


About the image.  This delightful brush drawing comes from the cover of an exhibition catalogue: L’Au-delà dans l’art japonaise. Paris 1963. Nowhere in the book does it mention the name of the artist whose work is featured on the cover. My instincts tend towards Sengai… what do you think?


 

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.


 

how free are you?

one haiku, twelve ways

… depending on one’s particular aversion/s.

 

How free are you?

 

tell me this my friend

how free are you, when you won’t

 

[choose your aversion/s]

 

spin with the Sufis?

kneel with the Muslims?

pray with the Mystics?

sit with the Zenners?

gaze with the Atis?

drink with the Taoists?

chant with the Bhaktis?

probe with the Jnanis?

dunk with the Baptists?

bow with the Buddhists?

dream with the Shamans?

laugh with the Skeptics?

 


raking rocks on the emptiness allotment

 

what I’ve noticed
since the free-fall into foolishness
is that
only a phantom called ‘me’
with its program of personal purpose
and its visions of attainment
– whether altruistic or mundane –
could demand of Life
(when the shit hits the fan)

but why?

why me?

?

Echoes from Emptiness: Ingo Leth: the spirit of zen, 2011, acrylic paint on linen

a space-filled nobody
(the absence of a ‘me’body)
makes no demands;
it doesn’t mind what happens

it has no agenda beyond
the health and well-being of the organism
(all organisms actually)
and no fantasies of an improved future

it just streams on regardless
from now to now to now
often wearing a quiet smile
and surreptitiously
inviting
more playmates to rake rocks
on the emptiness allotment

(the home base, dears,
of radical activism)


Painting by Ingo Leth


omega-mind, original-mind

153

Self-inquiry, for she-who scribbles, is pretty straight forward.  There’s no agenda involved and conclusions are avoided.  I simply sit (or whatever – it happens as often as remembering does) and watch the arising of thoughts.  There’s now no inclination to consider that thoughts are ‘mine’ or that they have significance.  Nevertheless they ebb and flow, as is their nature, and I’m curious by nature so I watch them like a researcher.

In my ‘thinking’ research, I find two distinct types of ‘knowing’ seem to occur.  For ease of reference, and without being esoteric, I’ll call them alpha and omega.

So-called alpha thinking is linear (think alpha-bet/language) with all lines of thought moving out from and returning to me.  The lines form ruts with habitual use, ruts of conditioned reflexes.  My alpha thinking corresponds with intellect.

Omega ‘knowing’ is different and calling it thinking is inaccurate for it’s beyond language, beyond all that can be conceived.  I’ll call it Omega-mind.  It’s unconditioned, has no centre, is ubiquitous.  It probably corresponds to impersonal intelligence.

When creative learning or action is occurring, omega-mind is in action, and when that learning needs to be recalled and written-up, alpha thinking comes into play.

Alpha thinking’s arena is the past and the future:  it’s the inventor of the persona that plays in the field of time.

But omega-mind is always present as the background unknowable knowingness that alpha thinking arises within.  There’s no persona involved, and time and space aren’t relevant.  I wonder if my omega-mind might correspond to the original-mind of Zen?

~