Cup of Nirvana Philosophical and Contemplative Explorations

May 10 Contemplations

Zendo light grows dim
Buddha smiles on falling tear
compassion is born, compassion let go
impermanence of the world
take the journey in 12 steps
each of which is dependently arisen
pass through Enlightenment’s door
to the space where flowers bloom and quickly die
but all is just as it is
I am powerless – the starting point of every spiritual transformation.
You are powerless – the starting point of all forgiveness and compassion.
We are powerless – the starting point of all healing.
To repent is to wring out sin from the mind and bleed it out of the heart.
To pray is to confess one’s intrinsic and inescapable limits of power.
To worship is to surrender one’s ego to the perfection of non-ego.
To surrender is to freely acknowledge one’s emptiness.
To love is to treat the present moment as if it were your last.
To meditate is to enter the present without knowing it to be the present.
To study the self is to watch whatever arises in us and to examine with curiosity the suffering intrinsically connected to our sense of being this or that thing.
To reason is to fall into time and forget eternity.
I hear a bird chirping while a feeling of horrendous sadness overwhelms me. In this same consciousness arises the pleasant and unpleasant.  This I like; that I don’t like.  Now move to the space where the chirping bird and sadness are each present, but the mind’s story about them is absent. This is clear seeing, seeing life as it is.
The Buddha-nature is the substance of all things, even greed, anger, and delusion.  For the ego, greed, anger, and delusion are poisons, for non-ego they are enlightenment.
Nirvana is samsara once the ego has dissolved.
The transcending of suffering does not result in the dissolution of unpleasant experiences but only the dissolution of our judgments about them, for our natural peace is disturbed not by the world as it is but rather by the mind’s story about it.
One person notices the crooked wheel and is troubled.  Another person just keeps riding because, of course, the road is bumpy.
Enlightenment is overrated.  Suffering is underrated.
Why Zen? A soft mind is necessary.
While at Starbucks I noticed the customers carried away in anxious conversations about yesterday and tomorrow. The workers were highly focused on their specific tasks: this one focused on preparing steamed milk,  the other on mixing drinks and yet another on delivering orders to the pick-up counter. They were one with their work. They were present. Time dissolved. I thought “this is Zen.”
Zen is being at ease in whatever condition you find yourself.  Falling rain, falling leaves, and falling tears.
To freely feel what arises in us is to watch feelings, perceptions, and thoughts without clinging or aversion.
The witness and what is witnessed are non-different.
When I was inside anger, it engulfed and overwhelmed me.
When I resisted anger, it became a fire that consumed me.
When I was on the outside of anger, it burned but I was neither overwhelmed nor consumed.
When the fire burns, watch it closely.  Know the Dharma.
To watch anything is to be on the outside of it.  To watch anything without reaction, with neither clinging nor aversion, is to realize being non-different from it.
Drink the poison of anger without death.
Every angel has a sinner as a shadow, and every sinner walks in the shadow cast by his own halo.

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