April 2018

"Agents of Grace" by William Martin

The sage can find a welcome
in the most inhospitable places
because no one perceives a threat.

"Haiku: Eastern Culture" - Translations and commentary by Reginald H. Blyth

Haiku 12
A haiku is not a poem, it is not literature;
it is a hand becoming,
a door half-opened,
a mirror wiped clean. 
It is a way of returning to nature,
to our moon nature,
our cherry blossom nature,
our falling leaf nature,
in short, to our Buddha nature. 

It is a way in which the cold winter rain,
the swallows of evening,
even the very day in its hotness,
and the length of the night,
become truly alive,
share in our humanity,
speak their own silent
and expressive language.

—Haiku: Eastern Culture, 1949, Volume One, p. 243.
Translations and commentary by Reginald H. Blyth


"THE WELCOMING" by Michael Stillwater

Let yourself relax into this moment.
Let yourself be held without any need to hold yourself up.

Let yourself meet the unknown.
It’s OK. It’s a place we don’t have to know with our mind.

What if there were angels all around you and you just couldn’t see them? What if there was a love so vast that you could never be apart from it? What if it was impossible for you to go anywhere Where this love could not find you?

You are entering the Beauty not far from your heart. It’s a place that embraces you as you are. I trust that you will be met by a welcoming presence that knows you, and that meets you with a deeper love than you have ever imagined in this world.

May you know, without any doubt, the precious gift that you are. And may you be welcomed by a presence so loving that all fear subsides.

Far beyond where winds have blown, waking into realms unknown Footsteps free of space and time, silent thunder, holy mind In the heart a song of peace and mercy, calling me back home.

Zen Story: Impermanence — Author Unknown

A revered Zen teacher once approached the king’s palace late at night. The guards did not stop him as he made his way inside to where the king was seated upon his throne. The king recognized him too. 

“Welcome, sir. What do you want?” the king asked.

“I wish to sleep in this inn tonight”, said the teacher.

Taken aback, the king snorted, “This is no inn! It is my palace!”

The teacher politely asked, “If I may ask, who owned this palace before you?”

“Why, my father, of course! He is dead now.”

“And who lived here before your father?””

“My grandfather, naturally. He’s dead too.”

“This building where people live for some time and go away, did you say that it is not an inn?”

"Scars" (excerpt) 365 TAO by Deng Ming Dao

Markings in dry clay disappear
Only when the clay is soft again.
Scars upon the self disappear
Only when one becomes soft within.

Throughout our life, but especially during our youth, many scars are inflicted upon us. Some of them are the results of violence, abuse, rape, or warfare. Others arise from bad education. A few come from humiliation and failure. Others are caused by our own misadventures. Unless we recover from these injuries, the scars mar us forever.

Classical scriptures urge us to withdraw from our own lusts and sins. But scars that have happened through no fault of our own may also bar us from spiritual success. Unfortunately, it is often easier to give up a bad habit than to recover from the incisions of others' violence. The only way is through self-cultivation. Doctors and priests can only do so much. The true course of healing is up to us alone. To do this, we must acquire many methods, travel widely, struggle to overcome our personal phobias, and perhaps most importantly of all, try to acquire as few new problems as possible. Unless we do, each one of them will bar us from true communion with Tao.

Indie Bound.org