In the East the moon is a symbol of Enlightenment, in the West of the Unconscious. Times of difficulty can be times of growth
Although the wind
blows terribly here,
the moonlight also leaks
between the roof planks
of this ruined house.
Izumi Shikibu, Japanese poet, 974-1034, one of the thirty-six female immortals of poetry.
A nice poem for a rainy Saturday.
Her capacity to see wonder in nature, and in life, no matter what the weather, was extraordinary
the rain spoke to me
to come falling out of the brisk cloud,
to be happy again
in a new way on the earth!
That’s what it said
as it dropped,
smelling of iron,
and vanished like a dream of the ocean
into the branches
and the grass below.
Then it was over.
The sky cleared.
I was standing
under a tree.
The tree was a tree with happy leaves,
and I was myself,
and there were stars in the sky
that were also themselves at the moment,
at which moment
my right hand was holding my left hand
which was holding the tree
which was filled with stars
and the soft rain—
the wild and wondrous journeys
still to be ours.
Mary Oliver, Last Night the Rain Spoke to Me
A stormy morning here with high winds predicted for the day. Turbulent news reports also these days, full of dire predictions and evidence that we live in an age of division and suspicion.
Of a great need
We are all holding hands and climbing.
Not loving is a letting go.
Listen, the terrain around here
Hafiz, from The Gift: Poems by Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky.
A Japanese Zen story about responding to whatever happens in the present moment with acceptance, or about observing troubling emotions with kindness. Like all of these stories it functions on a symbolic level, challenging us to open up to new ways of living when faced with surprises and disruptive situations:
The Zen master Hakuin was praised by his neighbours in the village as one who lived a pure life. Then a beautiful girl in the village became pregnant. Her angry parents demanded to know who was the father. At first resistant to confess, the anxious girl finally pointed to Hakuin, whom everyone revered for his pure life. When the outraged parents confronted Hakuin with their daughter’s accusation, he simply replied “Is that so”
When the child was born, the parents brought it to the Hakuin, who now was viewed as a outcast by the whole village. They demanded that he take care of the child. It was now his responsibility. He said simply “I see” and calmly accepted the child.
For many months he took very good care of the child until the girl could no longer withstand the lie she had told. She confessed that the real father was a young man in the village whom she had tried to protect. The parents immediately went to Hakuin to see if he would return the baby. With profuse apologies they explained what had happened. “Is that so” Hakuin said as he handed them the child.
Hakuin Ekaku, 1686 – 1769, was one of the most influential figures in the history of Zen.
The Japanese, Sōdesu ka, translated normally as “Is that so” can also be rendered as “I see”
Still in China. This time an even earlier thinker. We could save ourselves a lot of hassle if we truly lived this:
We cling to our own point of view, as if everything depended on it.
Yet our views have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away.
Chuang Tzu, Chinese Philosopher, 4th century
Looking East today, to mark the Chinese New Year, with a similar idea to yesterday’s post
Among the sixteen types of meditation, the baby’s practice is the best.
YuanWu Keqin, Chinese Chan monk, 1063–1135