|St. Luke, Portia. "Nude Ball." Graphite on paper. 1998.|
Daihonzan Suiren-Ji *
just put the skipping rope down.
Hear, grown man, you put this serious mask just yesterday on.
With respect for the inspiration of the ancestors,
I say this only once,
for we should never meet each other like this again.This is a dream! An illusion.
The self you assume you are is a dream image.
A clear distinct personality.
Just as the movie star projected in shimmering light on the silver screen, you, too, are a projection.
The light of a star exploded long ago in time of yore, the movie star long gone.
Walk out of the cave of Plato, leave the movie theater.
I know !!… It is a captivating movie, one you do not let go.
But the captivity that binds you is as illusionary as the movie.
Lose yourself in the movie,
become one with it and discover that your illusion consists of pure suffering.
Just as a table is made of wood, your dream is made of suffering.
O, sincere seeker, through the whole world you find monks, nuns, beggars, and hermits
who jingle bells, beat drums and gongs, blow horns, and cry out to wake us up.
To warn us that our illusion consists of pure greed, of burning passion for suffering.
Forget, forget your illusion, turn around, turn back to the place woven for the time.
Wake up, break the endless confusion that men teach each other.
Eternity is now, and now is eternity.
Hereafter does not exist.
There is only the eternal and forever lasting moment of now.
An egoless now, no I to attach to it.
Who, what, where you are or should you be.
What would you do with a self?
Ah, to give a name, confirm, affirm, captivate, and try to affix the illusion.
~And that is an illusion indeed!~
Zen has become a comfort, in the way that the rhythmic praying of the rosary was before. Allowing time for daily meditation has allowed my mind the time to find stillness, without judgement or criticism. Zen never denies God's grace, and never ridicules me for feeling "the deep magic" (~ C.S. Lewis) as an undeniable force in my life. All it asks is for me to release that, if only for now, and allow it to rest. In this, the deep magic can live alongside a deep peace. I don't need to be the ideal of enlightened perfection... Like raku pottery or lovingly mended kintsugi ceramics, the irregularities that critics condemn as flaws are cherished because of the unique beauty they add and the story they tell.
Irony or paradox, but while Zen allow joyful acceptance of my own truth, it prevents hanging too much identity on it. Whether I see myself as that intentionally imperfect raku pot, warped before I was ever fired, or the ["sweetly broken"][http://youtu.be/O5_Z3ZZYLDc] kintisugi, Zen reminds me perception is limited and distorted to the point that it might as well be complete illusion. There may be no "imperfection," at all... or each of us might be a hot mess. What matters is that it does not matter."Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they're yours." - Richard Bach
"Convictions create convicts." ~ R.A. Wilson
Meditation is a daily practice, minutes to learn and a lifetime to perfect, but I am enjoying the journey.
* Daihonzan = Head Temple (of) Suiren-Ji = the Soto Zen school where this was written.