Thursday, September 25, 2008

Where is the Franny in my life?

I miss Franny. I miss her idealism, her wit, her obsession, and her courage. She is perfect.

Where are you Franny? Why haven't I found you yet?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Zen Mind

Emptying Your Cup

One of my favorite stories concerns a Buddhist scholar and a Zen Master. The scholar had an extensive background in Buddhist Studies and was an expert on the Nirvana Sutra. He came to study with the master and after making the customary bows, asked her to teach him Zen. Then, he began to talk about his extensive doctrinal background and rambled on and on about the many sutras he had studied.

The master listened patiently and then began to make tea. When it was ready, she poured the tea into the scholar's cup until it began to overflow and run all over the floor. The scholar saw what was happening and shouted, "Stop, stop! The cup is full; you can't get anymore in."

The master stopped pouring and said: "You are like this cup; you are full of ideas about Buddha's Way. You come and ask for teaching, but your cup is full; I can't put anything in. Before I can teach you, you'll have to empty your cup."

This story is and old one, but it continues to be played out in our lives day-by-day. We are so enamored of our own ideas and opinions and so trapped by our conditioning that we fill ourselves up to the brim and nothing can get in.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

What is Wabi-Sabi?

Let's start what it is not - a dipping sauce for sushi.

Wabi-sabi is a Japanese aesthetic that embraces a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. The emphasis on subtle details, even if noticed only by vigilant viewers.

Less is more. The importance of small doses and looking closely. Having quiet authority without having to be the center of attention. Simplicity. Working with a limited palette and keeping features to a minimum.

Realize somethings "interestingness" has nothing to do with how complex it is.

It is the opposite of being monumental, spectacular, and enduring.

The simplicity of wabi-sabi is best described as the state of grace arrived at by a sober, modest, heartfelt intelligence.

In Japanese they have a phrase for describing it - "natsukashii furusato," or an old memory of my hometown.

It is a richly mellow beauty that sticks with you for a long, long time.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Lonely Sherperd

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Pebble

While sitting still and breathing slowly, think of yourself as a pebble which is falling through a clear stream. While sinking, there is no intention to guide your movement. Sink toward the spot of total rest on the gentle sand of the riverbed. Continue meditating on the pebble until your mind and body are at complete rest: a pebble resting on the sand. Maintain this peace and joy for a half hour while watching your breath. No thought about the past or future can pull you away from your present peace and joy. The universe exists in this present moment. No desire can pull you away from this present peace, not even the desire to become a Buddha or the desire to save all beings. Know that to become a Buddha and to save all beings can only be realized on the foundation of the pure peace of the present moment.

- From The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh