Friday, November 24, 2006

Found in a Raindrop While Looking for Berries

I ran across the little tidbit below while looking for a poem composed some years ago which ends with something about wild strawberries.

I decided to use it today because it seemed a pendant to the piece yesterday about Basho, his frog and his pond.

Although it mentions coffee (which is the taste of Sufi) instead of tea (the taste of Zen), I allow myself the conceit that it has the aroma it not the actual taste of Zen.

The door to the Kingdom
is not much higher than you are
on two bare feet.

The door to the Kingdom
swings open wide within the space
of each heart beat.

Beyond all reason,
eternal life begins right now,
on this perfect day.

In a cup of coffee,
or raindrops on the windowpane...
where else would you look?

If someone were to accuse me of attempting to meld Christianism with Buddhism here, taking it as a compliment, I'd clap my hands and say, "Why, gee, never thought you would notice!"

I often voice my antipathies towards those elements of the religious right leadership as exemplified by the likes of Mr. Robertson, perhaps some concretisation of my own views is therefore due. In that vein, view what follows as explanation not intended as either edification or effort to convince anybody of anything.

It's not that I'm attempting a synthesis, it's more like, as I see it, there are areas where at least some religions intersect and I find this the case with Buddhism and Christianism.

I don't see how anyone with a bit of intellectual and emotional honesty can hold on to the ridiculous idea that this or that religion or sacred text is actually, in itself, has been delivered by "God". There are several reasons that I maintain this. Let it suffice here to state that all such creations of the imagination of our common humanity.

If any religion can be said to have value, it is as an aid to us as we, in our daily lives, create God in our image.

Or, to put it another way, what we do and say in relation to others defines God more than any set of beliefs, sacraments or rituals.

I am delighted when I notice an intersection of religions. I fancy that it is in such places one can perhaps find what might be called a vein of gold.

A small story: it is told of one of the Zen patriarchs that, after the mantle had been passed on to him by the previous patriarch, he had to flee to escape the other monks. They wanted to kill him -- the new patriarch was just a cook and the others could not comprehend that the previous master would pick him!

He fled to the mountains and there in the wilderness he preached. He preached and the stones and boulders bowed to him.

Compare that to the story where Jesus, on his way onto Jerusalem and the people cry, "Hosanna!". The smug, smart-ass Pharisees scold and tell him to tell the people to shut up because what they are shouting is sacrilege! Jesus' reply is, "If the people were quiet, the stones themselves would shout."


Lurch said...


With a Coffee bean
Sufi finds his Nirvana
Pungent and bitter.
Yet Bodhisativa seeks
Redemption in cha-no-yu

Chuck Cliff said...

LOL, but don't start trying to pluck your eyelids and throw them on the ground -- that trick works one time only

Lurch said...

The lidless poet
Stumbles on his way across
A darkened terrace.

Chuck Cliff said...

Looking for sunglasses
His knee cries out in pain
The chair is silence