City Cave Zen

impermanence

by Dogo

The old teachings tell of monks going to charnel grounds to meditate and face their fears. Good practice, but maybe needlessly theatrical, as our fears are always close by enough for us to smell them. A person would have to be very deep in denial (or perhaps very young) for a journey in search of their fears to be necessary.

We’re always in the charnel ground, but usually pretending we’re not. If we sat long enough in a literal charnel ground, we’d get used to it and become less aware of it, less aware of reality.

#zen #buddhism #FacingOurFears #impermanence #DogoBarryGraham

Email

RSS

This site does not track you.

by Dogo

It is the time of ghosts, the time to acknowledge and celebrate what is always present, never hidden, but usually ignored.

In my dreams, the dead and the living mingle, not separated by time. A cruel man, a man I hated when I was a child, a man dead for many years now, asks me to recommend an iPod. In my dreams, the dead are not dead. In streets and houses, they go about the same business as the living. The Arizona desert is in Glasgow, Scotland.

Conversations are had, work is done, and it is as though old hurts and grudges never happened. In my dreams, the dead are not dead, but their weaknesses and failures are, leaving only people with no one to blame.

The stories we carry are the real and only ghosts. Only stories are born, and only stories die.

#death #MonoNoAware #zen #buddhism #impermanence #DogoBarryGraham

Email

RSS

This site does not track you.

by Dogo

This is Burns Night, and it should be noted that, though he likely never heard of Zen or Buddhism, he was one of the great Zen poets of the West:

But pleasures are like poppies spread, You seize the flower, its bloom is shed; Or like the snow falls in the river, A moment white – then melts for ever; Or like the borealis race, That flit ere you can point their place; Or like the rainbow’s lovely form Evanishing amid the storm. ​

#robertburns #zen #buddhism #poetry #scottishpoetry #impermanence #mononoaware #dogobarrygraham

Email

RSS

This site does not track you.

by Dogo

As part of last Sunday's Dharma talk, I read Sam Hamill's poem The Orchid Flower. I corresponded with him for years, though we never met. He is among the people who have died whom I cannot bring myself to delete from my email contacts. When he died in 2018, I wrote this poem:

Elegy for Sam Hamill

Two days ago you breathed out and didn’t breathe in again. You were in your bed at home in Cascadia. I’m on my couch at home in Glasgow, reading a book of your poems, one of the books you put in a package, took to a post office and mailed to me. I find you in the words, and I look for you in the spaces between.

#zen #poetry #impermanence #death #mononoaware #dukkha #samsara #buddhism #samhamill #dogobarrygraham

Email

RSS

This site does not track you.

by Dogo

Many people go through life with one identity, based on an aggregate of subordinate identities, often a hybrid of job and family role. When we don't hold on to identities, when we let go of old things as we move on to new things (without clinging to the new), we can be amazed as we realise all the different people we have been.

#zen #buddhism #rebirth #identity #impermanence #dogobarrygraham

Email

RSS

This site does not track you.

by Dogo

At today's online sangha meeting, I gave a Dharma talk about jisei, Japanese death poems, particularly this tanka by Shimaki Akahiko:

Where did that dog that used to be here go? I thought about him once again tonight before I went to bed.

For more, read the book Japanese Death Poems, compiled by Yoel Hoffman.

#zen #buddhism #death #poetry #jisei #impermanence #mononoaware #dogobarrygraham

Email

RSS

This site does not track you.