Buddha Twirls a Flower

When Buddha was in Grdhrakuta mountain he turned a flower in his fingers and held it before his listeners. Everyone was silent. Only Maha-Kashapa smiled at this revelation, although he tried to control the lines of his face.

Buddha and Maha-Kashapa on Grdhrakuta mountain just hanging out.

Buddha said: “I have the eye of the true teaching, the heart of Nirvana, the true aspect of non-form, and the ineffable stride of Dharma. It is not expressed by words, but especially transmitted beyond teaching. This teaching I have given to Maha-Kashapa.”

 Mumon’s comment: Golden-faced Gautama thought he could cheat anyone. He made the good listeners as bad, and sold dog meat under the sign of mutton. And he himself thought it was wonderful. What if all the audience had laughed together? How could he have transmitted the teaching? And again, if Maha-Kashapa had not smiled, how could he have transmitted the teaching? If he says that realization can be transmitted, he is like the city slicker that cheats the country dub, and if he says it cannot be transmitted, why does he approve of Maha-Kashapa?

At the turning of a flower
His disguise was exposed.
No one in heaven or earth can surpass
Maha-Kashapa’s wrinkled face
.

Zen (?) Gates

As a change from heavy duty strimmer frenzy, I have been trying to fix our electric gate motor. It is 2004 vintage, and I am in email contact with South Africa from whence the motor originated.

The whole factory set up procedure works.

The spare parts if bought in France are ten times the price of the same part bought in South Africa, according to the internet.

Nothing quite like an electrical fault, which is of an intermittent nature to test one’s Zen.

It sounds like a relay has fried. It gets the RF signal {according to the LED} to open but just clicks.

So maybe I’ll have some more things to do waiting for me in my inbox tomorrow.

Hey-ho

Positivity, Negativity or Equanimity?

I’ll make a statement to kick off:

We live in times where black and white thinking is common, and where thought is polarised.

I’ll raise a question:

Can polarised thinking ever be entirely accurate?

A long while ago when I used to do small group personal development facilitation, I was more than a little surprised at the levels of negativity in young capable Ph.D. students. These were able to find holes and faults in just about anything, there was also a high level of cynicism. They were young, smart, healthy and yet they were largely negative. They had loads of reasons why not and not many why to. From one particularly negative group I got my favourite piece of feedback:

“Alan’s ability to find a positive from and in any situation began to get a tad irritating.”

This cloud of negativity seems to be the human default. It seems people prefer to complain about everything. Many moan about prices, lock-down, the government, the weather. Not many of the moaners live in Gaza in the sights of Israeli jets, nor in a Syrian refugee camp, or in Dafur. This negativity saps the will to joy. Few realise just how good they have it, they take so very much for granted. People feel entitled and somehow owed by the universe or society, they believe in the notion of “rights”. Ask a starving refugee what non-binary gender means…it would prefer a bowl of rice.

If one has the negativity virus then one needs a positivity antidote. But one might be careful not to overdose otherwise one ends up in hyper over hyped bullshit land.

I used to advise Ph.D. students doing job applications to be a little more American in their approach but not to go too far as that would not be palatable to British tastes.

To be overly positive can set oneself up to fail, because over positive is idealistic. When ideals are not met one can crash and burn. It is easy to see the positivity-negativity yo-yo in action. We have oscillating quasi bipolar behaviours.

What then is the answer? To gently strive for a balanced objective and non-partisan perception. A perception not coloured by emotions or prejudices, a perception not overly up or down, a state of equanimity.

“Just like this.” Is a notion in Zen but it does not pertain only to Zen, it is accepting reality as actually is. Strangely to my eyes humanity often struggles with the simplicity of reality and rarely has emotional equanimity. Humans are hooked on what I call the heroin of complexity. Humans have a lot of preferences and when these are not met, they get to whinge, moan and complain. It would be rare for someone who likes to complain to imagine that the luxury they are complaining about might be taken away. Balanced perception would recognise that they are pretty damn “lucky”, a bit of frustration is a whole lot better than starvation.

The mid-point between polar perceptions is often more accurate, there are shades of grey. The world is more nuanced than the adamantly held and professed views of many.

It Is Not Mind, It Is Not Buddha, It Is Not Things

A monk asked Nansen: “Is there a teaching no master ever preached before?”

Nansen said: “Yes, there is.”

“What is it?” asked the monk.

Nansen replied: “It is not mind, it is not Buddha, it is not things.”

Mumon’s comment: Old Nansen gave away his treasure-words. He must have been greatly upset.

Nansen was too kind and lost his treasure.
Truly, words have no power
.
Even though the mountain becomes the sea,
Words cannot open another’s mind
.

Taoist Attack / Zen Dream 8-5-21

Here are some dreaming fragments from this morning. The wife said she knew something was up because I was thrashing about in bed.

I am aware that someone, or some people known to me are projecting a malevolent energy in my general direction. I know that this is of Taoist internal arts origin and that the projector(s) have some proficiency in this art. It is shamanic in origin and emotive of bent. They are angry with me and wish me ill. It is not clear if they are fully conscious of the sentiment of malevolence which they are projecting at me. It is nasty and not aligned with the true Tao it is a perversion. In the dream I know that I must not react to the sentiment. I must metaphorically sit in seiza and allow it flow over and around me. I should not make any effort to reflect it back to sender just simply let it pass. I must not get drawn into their emotive game. I must be zen-like and calm. They are being immature and very petty.

Second fragment after waking briefly and saying to the wife that I was having an attack dream.

I am with a man and a woman in the open countryside. In front of us is a black London cab. The cab is left hand drive, which I note as being odd in the dream. There is a French flavour to the dream. The man gets into the front passenger seat. The woman gets into the back seat, on the right-hand side. The woman and the man usher me to join them. I get into the back on the left-hand side. From the passenger seat the man starts to reverse the car up a long drive. When we get to the top to the exit of the estate the way is blocked. So, he drives us forward down hill a little. A large bus follows us and turns around. It then heads off the estate. The way is clear. The man then turns the taxi around, still driver less and we head between the gates at the edge of the estate.

Next, we are at a seaport. There is a large ocean-going liner. The man and the woman go on ahead. There is an understanding that I will try to find them. There are some formalities that I need to complete. I have only a small rucksack with me. I board the boat and explore, trying to find a seat. The boat is very busy and full. I have difficulty finding a seat and so far, there is no sight of the man and the woman. I arrive at a carpeted floor and the seats are filled with young women who are some kind of a sporting team.  There is one seat amongst them. They usher me to sit on it before it is taken. Which I do.

Dream ends.

April 2007

A few months after I quit my job, I had a basal cell carcinoma sliced out of my face days before I was due to direct a personal development course for Ph.D. students. The upside is that when you look like this people don’t sit next to you on trains.

The room…

The participants

The venue

I guess the stitches leaked a little.

The venue was F.A.B.

Buddha Twirls a Flower

When Buddha was in Grdhrakuta mountain he turned a flower in his fingers and held it before his listeners. Every one was silent. Only Maha-Kashapa smiled at this revelation, although he tried to control the lines of his face.

Buddha said: “I have the eye of the true teaching, the heart of Nirvana, the true aspect of non-form, and the ineffable stride of Dharma. It is not expressed by words, but especially transmitted beyond teaching. This teaching I have given to Maha-Kashapa.”

Mumon’s comment:

Golden-faced Gautama thought he could cheat anyone. He made the good listeners as bad, and sold dog meat under the sign of mutton. And he himself thought it was wonderful. What if all the audience had laughed together? How could he have transmitted the teaching? And again, if Maha-Kashapa had not smiled, how could he have transmitted the teaching? If he says that realization can be transmitted, he is like the city slicker that cheats the country dub, and if he says it cannot be transmitted, why does he approve of Maha-Kashapa?

At the turning of a flower

His disguise was exposed.

No one in heaven or earth can surpass

Maha-Kashapa’s wrinkled face.

Dhyāna “Haiku”

primroses and daisies
wait the passing snow
and then smile

a Fletcher finds
for himself
the feathers in the Dao

silent peaceful roads,
bare hedgerows
six rooks sing in a tree!

a reed in the Dao
bends attentively
a heron looks East

I am a grain
I am nothing
and yet, I am a beginning.

ghosts whisper
their ancient stories
scaring the living

night in her slippers
sneaks along the lanes
getting closer

a candle sways softly
a forgotten tune,
it sheds a waxy tear

the naked willow
combs her hair
and considers

a gnarled old oak
staunch and dependable
waits table

finest
bluebell champagne,
no need of ice

tapestry spiders
busy
catching tears

walk on cornflakes
with toes
the Milky Way

each blade
on parade
shaving the dew

panther sun
resplendent
in cloudy whiskers

on vulture peak
I held
his flower

a collared dove
feels not a chain
and coos

unhurried twigs
the blackbird
gathers

a white feather
surfs the breeze
on its own

dragon’s breath
knits
patterns in silk

the holly wafts
scarlet berries
and coy blushes

pink shirts
the boardroom collars,
flamingos in a pond

a pile of washing
ready to hang,
waiting

how skinny
the end of day shadows
give them rice!!

wanting to be chaste
again
and again

hair in the plughole
piss on the floor
no more farting!

the knot of not
has you,
so very tired

more twinkling
a firmament
of eyes

dreaming
in a colander
spaghetti words

dawn chorus
a smoker coughs
expectant

behind the sofa
under the cushions
two-pound coins!!

cows sunbathe
sunglasses
and a bonnet

small blue eggs
at the bus stop
over easy

the rooster
flapping his wings
so profound

preening parrot
objects his cage
he will not leave

the fog embraces
dripping
with silence

the compass
of hush
in all the quarters

Physical Plane Reality

Irrespective of what I may write about here, what ideas and what dreams, this is the physical plane reality I face each morning. I sit on the sofa, drink my coffee and take my Seretide inhaler. I look out of the window and this is the view, now, in April. It will change, soon the rhododendrons will flower too.

Over the last few days, I have been picking up a triangulation which I shall call D-K-J. I even had D in my dreams last night. Why? I will never know for sure.

This pandemic is doing some weird shit aside from the illness. Where it leaves humanity remains to be seen. It will be a long-lasting scar in the psyche.

But this is physical plane reality behind the gates where time is marked by the monthly need for a buzz-cut to keep the shampoo costs down. Slowly the central section is getting cleared and when the weather changes, it will be back to DIY. There are so few time markers.

The world stands still.