Saturday, March 31, 2012

Song of Solomon


my Beloved!

Let us go fearless to the bonfire!

Let us spend our dark night among the holy

hyenas and all that would rip and tear at

our facades until we are cleansed raw

of any pretense, any subtle sense of self

believed in need of preserving.

Let us rise early to the mist-kissed vineyards,

let our lingering sleepiness and dreamy self-images

 be crushed like bunched grape clusters --

tart juice to sweet fruit wine.

Let us see if the vine of real love has budded,

its vulnerable tenderness blossomed open, light

into light, a song, a miracle of sound birth,

what no heart has even known, this

particular touch, this one.

Ancient balm, ever-fresh, the supernal grace

of welcoming spaciousness, of blue sky

dawning, this touch of Presence,

the mysterious movement

of life itself.

The jasmine beckons with its fragrance,

and at our doors are delicious fruits,

both new and old,

which I have kept for you,

my Beloved --

each is perfect death to

one whose appetite for truth is

greater than their need to salvage

dusty relics from the weary search.

By night on my worn cushion

I sought that which my soul loves;

I sought it, but I found it not.

I rose up then, and searched

the temples and high holy places,

and yet found it not, that which

my soul loves, that which

grants the heart

true peace.

Oh my Beloved,

you who tantalize the very air

with your majestic absence, why do you

yet hide your countenance from me,

why hold your sweet tongue mute?

My Beloved is mine, I am My Beloved’s.

Between us is the vast and windy chaos,

a filmy, blowsy garment stitched of

luminous dreams and dark imagination.

When we are at last stripped bare in the furnace

of love’s annihilation,  our naked brilliance will

outshine sun and moon; our starry joy, bliss

entwined, will whirl through the shattered

gates of time.

Yes, for what I have sought, I am

not other; the eternal is not elsewhere,

and what I am, Beloved, and where I am,

You are.

Come, come my Beloved,

my Radiant One, my breath,

my blood, my tender heart beat!

The fire awaits, its impersonal flames

leap up at our approach.

Come, my Beloved—

we sleep now, but our

heart wakens.


Song of Mind

The nature of mind is non-arising,
what need is there of knowledge and views?

Originally there is not a single dharma,
why dwell over beliefs and methods?

Coming and going without beginning,
sought for, it is never seen.

No need to do anything --
It is bright, still, self-apparent.

The past is like empty space,
know anything and the basic principle is lost.

Casting a clear light on the world,
Illuminating yet obscured.

If recognition is obscured,
all dharmas are misunderstood.

Coming and going, endlessly modifying --
is there even need for inquiry?

Arising without the mark of arising,
arising and illumination are the same.

Want to purify the mind?
What mind will you use for that effort?

Throughout time and space
nothing is illuminated.

This is most profound.

Knowing dharmas is not knowing;
Not knowing is knowing the essential.

Using the mind to maintain quietude,
you still fail to quit the sickness.

Birth and death forgotten --
this is Original Nature.

The highest principle cannot be explained;
It is neither free nor bound.

Lively and attuned to everything,
It is always right before you.

There is nothing in front of you;
nothing, yet everything is as usual.

Do not belabor wisdom to examine it;
substance itself is empty and obscure.

Thoughts arise and pass away,
one no different from the rest.

If the succeeding thought does not arise,
the preceding thought cuts itself off.

In past, present and future there is nothing;
no mind, no Buddha.

Sentient beings are without mind --
out of no-mind, they manifest.

Distinguishing between sacred and mundane,
their anxiety flourishes.

Seeking the false,
one gives up the true.

Discarding both is the cure,
transparent, bright, pure.

No need for hard work or skill;
be like a child.

Alertly knowing,
the net of views abounds.

Stillness without seeing,
not moving in a dark room.

Wakeful without wandering,
mind is tranquil yet bright.

All phenomena are real and eternal,
Various, yet of a single form.

Going, coming, sitting, standing --
don't attach to anything,
don’t linger anywhere.

Given there’s no direction,
can there be arrival or departure?

There is neither expansion nor contraction,
neither sudden nor gradual.

Brightness and tranquility are just as they are;
they cannot be explained in words.

Mind is without alienation --
no need to manipulate desire.

Nature being empty,
desire will depart by itself.

Allow the mind to float and sink.

Neither clear nor clouded,
neither shallow nor deep –
then it was not old,
now it is not new.

Now it is non-abiding!
Now it is Original Mind!

Originally it did not exist.
"Origin" is now.

Truth has always existed,
no need to preserve it.

The struggle is not real,
no need to end it.

Natural wisdom is self-illuminating;
All dharmas return to thusness.

There is no returning, no receiving!
Stop contemplating, forget keeping.

The four virtues are unborn;
the three bodies have always existed.

In awareness there are no wandering thoughts,
the myriad conditions harmonize.

Mind and nature are originally alike;
together, yet not mutually dependent.

Without arising, dancing with forms,
Abiding hidden everywhere.

Light out of darkness,
illuminating the darkness itself.

As to gain and loss,
why call either good or bad?

The totality of universal functioning
originally was uncreated.

Realize that mind is not mind.
There is no sickness, no medicine.

When confused, you set things aside.
Enlightened, it makes no difference.

Originally there is nothing to obtain --
now what use is there in renouncing?

When someone claims to see demons,
we may talk of emptiness, yet
the phenomena are there.

Don't destroy the myths of common people;
only teach the cessation of thoughts.

When thoughts are gone, mind is abolished.
When mind is gone, action is terminated.

No need to confirm emptiness --
naturally, there is clear comprehension.

Completely seeing through birth and death,
the profound mind enters the Principle.

Opening your eyes and seeing forms,
mind is born in accord with the scene.

Within mind there is no scene;
within the scene there is no mind.

Use mind to abolish the scene
and both will be disturbed.

With mind still and scene as it is,
not avoiding, not grasping,
mind and scene vanish together.

When neither arise,
there is rest.

The reflection of Truth shines
in the immaculate pool of mind.

The nature of wisdom is like a fool --
it does not conceive of boundaries.

Praise and blame don’t change it,
It doesn't choose its abode.

All relations suddenly cease;
everything is forgotten.

Eternal day is like night,
eternal night, like day.

Outwardly like a complete fool,
inwardly mind is empty and real.

Those not moved by what changes
move truly.

There is neither seer nor seeing;
without seeing there is ceaseless manifestation.

Completely penetrating everything,
It has always pervaded everywhere.

Thinking confuses, sinking and
bewildering the spirit, but
use mind to stop activity
and it becomes even more erratic.

The ten thousand dharmas are everywhere,
yet there is only one door.

Neither entering nor leaving,
neither quiet nor noisy.

The wisdom of the holy ones
cannot explain it.

Actually, there is not a single thing;
only mystery exists.

The original face is limitless;
It cannot be probed by mind.

True enlightenment is no enlightenment,
Real emptiness is not empty.

All Buddhas of the past, present and future --
all ride on this basic Principle.

The tip of a hair of this basic principle
contains worlds the intellect cannot imagine!

Do not concern yourself with anything;
fix the mind nowhere.

Releasing any fixation,
limitless brightness shows itself.

Tranquil and non-arising,
set free in boundless time and space.

Wherever it moves, there is no obstruction;
going and staying are equal.

The sun of wisdom is tranquil,
the light of Recognition bright.

Illuminating the galaxies of no forms,
shining full on our town tonight!

After all relationships are forgotten,
the argument with oneself is forgotten,
the war is over -- nobody survived.

Not rising from the mountain seat,
sleeping peacefully in a vacant room.

Taking pleasure in Tao is relaxing,
flowing free and easy as you please!

No action and nothing to attain,
relying on nothing, manifesting naturally.

Everyone is on their way home, but if mind
is not born, what will discriminate
here from there?

Knowing arising is non-arising,
awareness itself awakens to itself.

If you understand,
no words are necessary.

If not, no words will suffice.

~Niu Tou Fa Jong (594-657)
transliteration by b


Song of Freedom

  (Based on the Shodoka, or Cheng-Tao-Ko, by Yongjia)

Here comes Mr. Natural, at ease as you please, walking the Talk by keeping quiet and letting his feet do the speaking, not running toward or away, just walking on.

The essence of confusion and wisdom is identical, this dusty skin bag is Light’s own body!

When we finally see how things really are, what words can we muster to describe nothing?

We all share the same original innocence, that’s why the truth is so true.

Thoughts and sensations change like the weather -- the night sky doesn’t complain when the stars come out.

When we eventually sober up a little, concepts like me and mine, self and other, past and future no longer have the juice to intoxicate us.

Even that’s a tale – really, nothing happens.

See for yourself! Once we open our eyes, everything is obvious.

In the dream, there’s plenty of drama. When we awaken, where does it all go?

Ups and downs, profit and loss – none of it can touch our immaculate peace.

We’ve all heard about polishing the mirror, but wait, look directly – there is no mirror. That’s what I call clean!

Who am I? If I’m truly neither this nor that, I’m this and that too.

Ask a corpse to explain itself! How can we find ourselves by searching outside ourselves?

Give up the struggle – relax.

Everything changes. When we resist, we suffer. What more do you need to know?

Recognizing and understanding the intimate relationship between what changes and what doesn’t is wisdom; actualizing it is love.

If you don’t agree, it doesn’t matter. Life clarifies itself.

Even being in opposition is not being in opposition. It’s all one thing! No, not even that! It’s easy, don’t worry!

We’re lived by mystery, empty and marvelous – don’t try to figure out perfection with mind, just rest in it, in harmony, surrendered, released of any complication.

Beyond fear and desire, just be.

Just BE.

The wise don’t linger in concepts, regrets, plans, or frowns.

In this way, they’re like children – clinging to nothing, rejecting nothing.

Since there is no other, they go on their way, unnoticed. Since everyone is inherently free, they’re inconspicuous in their absence.

Truth is simple and open to all. Those who understand may not be rich, but they’re happy.

What better gift to share than one’s own original beauty?

To earnest seekers, all self-images are like tattered old costumes that never quite fit. They appreciate the naked freedom of their own unself-conscious nature – they’ve got nothing to prove.

People say all sorts of things, but what’s prior to the first word? Let them say what they will – the extent of any reactivity is a good test of true equanimity.

To become a natural human being, don’t linger in any provisional state or get bogged down in beliefs.

This is actually the way of things – fluid, dynamic, non-dwelling.

Most get frightened when they contemplate their own impermanence, but a rare one now and then wakes up laughing in the midst of the dream.

Walking, sitting, speaking, silent – it’s all the same. Let the Wheel spin. When raining, rain, when shining, shine.

I don’t mind.

When the arrow hit home, there was nobody there – not even a forwarding address.

What care I for fame or disgrace – the arrow does the work.

In the grace of supreme beauty, radiance, I discovered my own.

It is not mine, this love is for everyone. All revolve in perfection within me. There is no coming or going, all are already home.

No need for a pat on the back, who’s patting whom?

“Who knew it would be like this?”

What more can one say?

The moon still shines, the wind still blows – this light belongs to no one.

I am flowing water, following a course carved out by the Great One. I do not seek the truth – the truth moves me.

Neither empty nor full, my form is the form of the Real.

When I drop this form, nothing has changed. What has no beginning has no end.

Clarity – all is limitless light, mirrored in spotless mind.

 Listen closely, Holy Friends – clinging to anything is taking false refuge. Running away amounts to the same.

Non-dwelling is living without limits, without borders, without chains. Grasping at any experience, concept, strategy, or identity is nothing but an amnesiac’s fantasy games.

Some long for the marriage of heaven and earth, yet who has the peace of mind to contemplate the mutual penetration of the known and the unknown within the sphere of ordinary activity?

Natural and spontaneous, it proceeds without delay or impediment, granting the universe the power to exist. Past, present, and future are included in one glance, all emerges from one mysterious gesture, thrives, dissolves –  ecstasy!

What says, "I am"?  It's not mind, a teaching, or a word – right here, before the tongue moves!

No praise, no blame, eternally serene. No way to it, no way out of it. The only stubborn obstacle -- our pretense of self. 

The only recourse: understanding and discarding that fiction.

See through that one, and all is understood. The one and the all are not different – only appearances blind us to what’s what.

Just keep walking – if anyone asks directions, point to the heart. Yours and theirs are not two. Looking elsewhere, it’s completely missed.

I hail from a long line of jugglers who toss batons of existence and non-existence in a teeming carnival of ineffable light.

Don't ask me what I know – I just work here. When I jettison everything I think I know, I just might become honest and genuine.

The Real is direct and immediate – that's why it's so easily missed. Still, why complain? That only compounds the befuddlement. Just be grateful -- without reason. Gratitude itself is reason enough!

Nothing is as it appears. Whatever appears, I am not. Nor am I any different.

If this is not comprehended, the dream goes on. If this is comprehended, the dream still goes on. Let's be clear – the dream never ends, only the dreamer disappears.

For years I tried to figure it out, with efforts mounted against the wind. Finally, I gave up the struggle. Now the breeze blows through me.

I relaxed and just let go.

A closed fist opened.

Spirit breathed out.

This breath is for all.

All are Bodhisattvas.

How I live the Practice

Though one may experience the idea of freedom,
lingering in such daydreams is mistaking
imagination for the real thing.

I may have wasted the wise instructions
of my teachers, but any regret now
merely feeds the barking dogs
of self-absorbed delusion –

true freedom is found in non-dwelling.

Just so, I haven't visited any abattoirs of late,
but I've rarely seen anything more disturbing
than the attitudes generated from entrenched
political and religious beliefs, nor anything
more appalling than dispositions spawned
from the furnace of emotional reactivity.

To these, I apply the healing balm
of heart-felt service in the same manner
raindrops funnel down spring's green leaves
to moisten the ground and nourish the tender roots.

Undone from the distraction of purposefulness,
I carefully mix and meld subtle hints from the wise,
stirring cool clear water in a bowl with no sides.

Everything that appears conducts a current
of various energies, expressing itself as
the dance of complementary chaos
and order, implicating nobody.

Abandoning victimhood is a crucial
preliminary to appreciating life
for all that it is and can be.

In the poignant ballet of impermanence,
there is no independent person,
cause, or condition.

Relax – we're all in this together!

Still, who can say anything meaningful
about loving kindness these days,
or maybe more to the point:

who can explain why we’re
so easily offended by each other?

Whether on the killing floor of envy and loathing,
or in blissful repose at the crown of the lotus,
the clown who discerns the transparent and
luminous nature of their very own mind
sports a suave and sizzling sombrero
filled with the divine molecules
of a vast and empty sky.

Such an utterly useless fool
waltzes through the market place
with nothing to buy or sell, perhaps
pausing along the way to tell children
stories, amusing them with a delightful
nonsense that they will forever remember.

Hey Friends, isn’t this how it goes:

those who are grateful get more to be
grateful about, while those who complain
will get more to complain about?

No nonsense there –

whatever we’re given,
we can always say
“Thank you!”

Likewise, no matter what may appear,
recognizing our own chronic resistance
is more than enough to keep us humble.

If we’re here to revel
and marvel in the Mystery,
then what are we still seeking for,
and what are we always trying to hide?

And what’s the big deal with just
being still in the light of this
staggering Shine?

If I really paid attention, I would
realize that everything -- yin and yang,
light and dark, existence and non-existence --
is an innocent play of the natural Great Perfection.

How amazing that there is anything at all!

A timeless and radiant Presence
to which no fanciful human concept
could apply, is standing in your shoes,
beating your heart, breathing your breath,
looking out in awe through your own eyes!

Isn’t that simply astonishing?

In any case, in every place,
may everything I do in body,
speech, and mind serve others.

When we’re seeing clearly,
there are no others.

That's what I call service!

Some may call it love.

Whatever it’s called,
don’t think twice –

just be it!

And while we’re at it,
let’s try to do no harm!

Clinging to nothing,
astounded by everything,
I humor myself with glad songs
of Yes to life’s breathtaking majesty,
occasionally whistling Zippity Doo Dah
as I wander along on this infinite way.


~Based very loosely on a text by Patrul Rinpoche