Monday, December 28, 2009

When this Man of Tao left the mountain,
The mountain turned as gray as ashes;
The white clouds hid away their smiles,
And the blue pines were filled with grief.
Suddenly came news of the Man of Tao’s return,
And bird’s song burst open the mountain valleys.
A divine light radiates from his precious temples,
And a dharma rain washes away the swirling dust.

---Su Shih (1073)


Dainin Katagiri points out that Dogen claims that there are 6,400,099,180 moments in a day. Other Zen Masters measure a "moment" as being 1/72nd of a second, a "moment" being described as that fraction of time in which a human being flashes in and out of existence---A kind of eternal Now.

Katagiri points out that each moment is so brief that our rational minds cannot grasp them. Imagine, however, if we could sound a bell or gong at the end of each moment. Each "bong" or "ching" would be an individual sound, yet repeated so rapidly that they would create the illusion of being one continuous sound---Just as we live the illusion of having one continuous life.

A nice philosophical thought. But just for fun, I did some math. 72 moments per 60 seconds per 60 minutes per 23.5 hours in a day equals 6,220,800---I don't have the length of a day to a precise second (a number which varies depending on the “type” of year we’re measuring, Sidereal, Solar, Tropical, or otherwise, and I don’t know what type of year Dogen used)---but this is roughly a factor of 1000th of Dogen's 6 billion four hundred million. Interesting.

It gets a little weirder when we examine the electromagnetic frequency of the human body, the rate at which our energy cycles. The human body’s organs all vibrate at slightly different frequencies, between 62 and 78 Hz. Just for comparison, a rock vibrates at an average of 3 Hz. The normal human brain frequency is 72 Hz, seventy two cycles per second.

Since each cycle is a binary on/off yin/yang up/down experience, it can be said that we flash in and out of existence at our body frequencies---and that our awareness of “moments” would necessarily correspond to the frequency of our brains. Are these the 72 moments of the old Masters? Dogen divides each cycle into thousandths, or millihertz. In 1997, it was discovered that magneto-acoustic waves from the sun’s corona (the “solar wind”) measure 1 millhertz.

“We are stardust, we are golden…”

Correlations don’t prove causation. But it seems we’re on to something here. What, I don’t know.

--- Konrei
“I beg myself as well as my readers not to mistake understanding for attainment; and not to imagine, on the strength of their realization of certain truths, that they possess them, or still less, that they can use them.

Our being, in which alone truth is possessed, is still a long way behind our understanding.”

---A.R. Orage

"Everything" by Michel de Salzmann

"Everything we need is here in us. Everything for fuller being.

There is a kind of sacred descent of attention that can bring this about.

Seeing the obstacles, thoughts, feelings, yes ....

But if I can relax inside, just allow the pure attention to flow in, be in that.

Very natural. It's what we are.

Attention ... a sacred energy coming into me.

Be sensitive to it;

Recognize--again and again--that it is there."

From a NY Times OP-ED by Pico Iyer

“The beat of my heart has grown deeper, more active, and yet more peaceful, and it is as if I were all the time storing up inner riches…My [life] is one long sequence of inner miracles.” The young Dutchwoman Etty Hillesum wrote that in a Nazi transit camp in 1943, on her way to her death at Auschwitz two months later. Towards the end of his life, Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “All I have seen teaches me to trust the creator for all I have not seen,” though by then he had already lost his father when he was 7, his first wife when she was 20 and his first son, aged 5. In Japan, the late 18th-century poet Issa is celebrated for his delighted, almost child-like celebrations of the natural world. Issa saw four children die in infancy, his wife die in childbirth, and his own body partially paralyzed.

I’m not sure I knew the details of all these lives when I was 29, but I did begin to guess that happiness lies less in our circumstances than in what we make of them, in every sense. “There is nothing either good or bad,” I had heard in high school, from Hamlet, “but thinking makes it so.

Sid Bolotin gives us "Four Questions"

“I have four questions,” stated the man as he sat before his teacher.

“Proceed,” the teacher responded softly.

“Who am I?”

“Who do you think you are?” replied the teacher.

“Well, I’m me,” answered the man.

“And, just who is me?” asked the teacher.

“Me. I’m me. That’s who I am.”

“And, once again, who, or what is ‘me’?” continued the teacher.

“I don’t really know. That’s why I’m asking you. You’re my teacher.”

“Hmm,” replied the teacher, “I don’t know either. What’s your second question?”

Slightly taken aback, the man asked, “Where did I come from?”

“Where do you think you came from?” was the teacher’s quick response.

“I’m not sure…from my mother and father?” the man mumbled.

“Really?” retorted the teacher. “That simple? Your body parts did manifest from their physical joining. But where was the ‘you’, the ‘me’ that you claim to be before there was a body?”

“I don’t know. How could there be a ‘me’ before there was a physical body? Where would ‘me’ reside?”

“I don’t know,” the teacher said. “Next question?”

“Okay, let’s try this,” the man sighed. “Where am I going? What happens to ‘me’ when my body dies?”

“I don’t know. Fourth question?

The man sagged heavily in the chair and whispered, “Why? Why is this happening? Why all this birthing followed by its inevitable dying?”

The teacher gazed silently at his pupil, pressed his palms together in front of his chest, bowed his head, and announced, “I don’t know. God doesn’t answer ‘why’ questions.”

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Resting blog...resting Buddha

Dear friends:

After almost a year of inactivity, the SPZG blog is back. I have been asked to take the helm, and I hope that I'll live up to the high standards that Evelyne "Koka" has established.


Jeff "Konrei" Minde