Friday, October 28, 2005
I met a new kid at Hibiki School, the boarding school for bad kids. He, like his peers, had homemade tattoos all over his hand and arms. When I first met him he seemed miserable, but then I showed him some tricks, made a fool out of myself, and played a great game of blindfold hid and seek (using simple directions) and he cheered up. We had a great time. That school is by far my favorite I think. I talked to the principal about Halloween and he told me that many Japanese people first heard about it when they read in the news years ago that a Japanese exchange student in America was shot dead after entering a man’s house on Halloween, and after the man yelled “freeze” with the gun out, the boy thought he said “please” and continued in, getting shot in the chest and face, I think. Yep, more reasons to love guns.
Wednesday I had the Mormons over again. We had very interesting conversations about our souls. Do they exist before we are born? Are they made of God, the Ground?? Do they ever separate from God, the Ground?? Are all souls Pure? Is it the Goal of a soul to reunite with the god that it was in the very beginning? So, is God then the Ground and the Goal of existence? We talked about morals, free choice; the topic of homosexuality came up. I mentioned that some gay people kill themselves they are so unhappy with their sexual orientation, making it hard to believe it is a “choice.” Unless they chose it before they were born. In fact, together we received an interesting contemplative revelation about how our choices lead to other choices, cause and effect, and, following all or choices back, we can see that there must have been an original choice, one made before we were born, one that would determine the course of our entire lives. Very interesting idea, yes?
Mormons believe that Satan and the fall of man is all part of god’s plan, and it is a perfect plan, for it gave birth to us humans and our ability to grow and unite back with the god that we never actually left. To quote the Book of Mormon, “And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed, he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden…And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin…Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.”
Clearly we can never get dislodged from our path from God, to God, as God, “for the Spirit is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. And the way is prepared from the fall of man, and salvation is free.” Isn’t that great? It’s free!
Mormons are, I think, a pretty mystical sect of Christianity, for they still believe in visions and a current profit and 12 apostles (all living in Salk lake city and traveling around via secret underground tunnels). They are pictured on my couch. They are coming again next Thursday, and hopeful Ian Horner will be visiting by then and he can meet them too. They really are wonderful, especially because neither of them are American (one is Australian and the other is Japanese and teaches me many Buddhist terms in Japanese for which I am very grateful). Neither one has tried at all to convert me. They just like talking with me. Maybe they don’t get to talk about there ideas very often.
Anyway, I brought up the idea that the Buddhists strongly believe (and I think Jesus thought this too perhaps when he said the thing about becoming a child in order to enter the kingdom of god)… so I said that maybe seeing “good and evil” just keeps us locked out of the Kingdom of Heaven, and it is not until we can rest in that awareness beyond good and evil, or it is not until we can see both good and evil as depending on each other (which we can clearly see they do). Or its not until we can see them both as equally manmade ideas or events that come and go. And it is in that awareness that does NOT see good and evil as inherently real or separate that is able to enter the Kingdome of heaven, where there is neither good nor evil, (or there is both good and evil already self liberated in there own transparent radiance). Happy face. The Eye that can see beyond the duality of good and evil is none other than the Eye of spirit, always already existing as teh Kingdom of Heaven within and without.
Get to that state where you can see the world free from concepts, free from the idea of good and evil, where you can only see (and be) nothing, meaning no-thing, or no separate entity, and there will come the flash that there is only immediate present reality everywhere, The NOW, the Is, the ALL, and there, in that Moment of eternal Reality, you will be released and opened up to the spacious clearing of infinite life, also known at the clear nature of your own mind, (unborn, undying, presence. (See note for more blabber)
Saturday morning I went to a party at a private English class with Trisha. I brought candy that both Lauren and Rick sent me. I love you both. At that party I watched for the first time Charlie brown’s Halloween. And I tell ya that’s some good stuff.
Then at night I went to another Halloween party for all the kids in the neighboring city, (over 300 kids showed). I dressed up like a clown because i forgot my Marilyn Monroe mask and wig, (the only ones I could find at the hundred yen store), and luckily there just happened to be an extra clown wig and mask at the party. Unfortunately, though, I was so scary that most of the smaller kids just ran away or hid behind their mothers, and the older kids thought it would be funny or heroic to stab me with there swords, pull at my mask, or just hit me in the crotch. We played wrap the mummy, where i was the mummy, and that was also a fun, touching adventure. Little kids are great though. One puked from eating too much candy, poor little guy.
On Sunday morning, after the meditation, two Japanese friends and I spent some time appreciating and contemplating an 800-year-old Gingko tree in the temple garden. We discussed how even thought the leaves are new this year, they still have the ancient tree inside each one of them. In the same way, they have the sun inside them. When we look at our hands, we can see, if we look deeply, that our entire family line of ancestors are in our hands, for we cannot be here is they were not here. Zen has a phrase “ji ji mu ge” which means, between all events there is no boundary or separation. Between the sun and the tree, between the tree and its leaves, between you and between me. Boundaries are only superimposed on the seamless One reality by our minds. I love the Buddhists symbol of the universe which is a multidimensional web called Indra’s net. And covering the multidimensional web are countless jewels like dewdrops. And in each dewdrop is reflected all the other dewdrops. And in all the reflected dew drops all the other dewdrops and their reflections are reflected, and so on forever and ever. (Kind of like fractals) (To see the universe in a grain of sand). and every dew drop inn in fact every other dew drop.
Is the tree dependent on the leaves? Or are the leaves dependent on the tree. or do they both depend on each other, like two sticks leaning against one another? Take on away, and the other one falls out of existence too. It is easy to see that we depend upon the universe to be here. It is harder to see that the universe depends upon us to be here. But it does, for it cannot be the way it is without us.
Then, after contemplating codependent origination or mutual interdependency or “inter-being,” I went to another Halloween party, a bowling party for foreigners, where I met even more foreigners that live in Niihama, which was crazy, and I played pathetically, bowling at best 86, with joy, mind you. I was back to my Marilyn goblin costume.
Note: There must be something about our present experience that is already embracing both good and evil equally, and thus, not discriminating between them. There must be an aspect of the present moment that is like a mirror, reflecting whatever it encounters equally, without judgment, while also letting whatever it reflects pass by. There must be an aspect of your present condition that is not grasping or avoiding anything, but is embracing everything equally, like a mirror its objects. and that aspect of your own present condition, which is already occuring naturally, is the primordial ground of Being, or, what the Sufis call teh Secret Essence. It's your Buddha nature, the clear light mind, unborn, and thus, undying. or at least thats what i think it is.
Posted by David at 8:45 PM
Sunday, October 23, 2005
This weekend I went to Chiiori, which is a 300-year-old thatched-roof farmhouse in Iya valley, bought and named by Alex Kerr, an American who is famous for writing the book "Lost Japan." (See www.chiiori.org). Now the house is visited by tourists and kept up by volunteers, including wwoofers, or willing workers of organic farming. This valley, according to Lonely Planet, has been dubbed "the Tibet of Japan" because it is so isolated and mountainous.
So when we first got there, I was shocked with how beautiful it was, and was surprised to find waiting for us inside a handful of incredibly hip youngsters, including Annie, the head coordinator, with whom I immediately fell into love, her eyes as the key portal into that space, and I met Gailand, who, incredibly, is from overland park kansas, 103rd and nall, went to south, ku, and knows some of my friends. He is in the orange hat. I also met Megumi, in the purple shall, who spends most of her time working in Nepal and India, and Chunya, in the hat, who djed the event, sang, and drummed with me. I fell in love with them both immediately.
I also met Hans from Germany, and many other amazing people.
The floors and walls and rafters are burnished black wood. The whole house is remarkably spacious, with one large room for sleeping, one smaller room for sitting and eating, and a rather spacious kitchen. There are two sunken fire pits, the one you see us sitting around was really the center of all the party; that is where we ate, kept warm, talked…we grilled some tofu for dinner, as you can see. The thatched roof has ferns and moss growing all over it, making it look somewhat like a beautiful hill. And the smoke form the indoor fires help preserve the roof by killing any insects.
after dinner, we all went to the hot-springs which had stone pools outside, on the side of the mountian, and they were co-ed.
Here is what I wrote in my journal…
Moment I wake, an angel glides to my futon-side, whispers “breakfast and coffee is ready.” I step outside, look out at the distant mountains, cloud fairies dance ballet across the mountaintops and valley tops, clear raindrops drip rhythms off the thatched roof, pearl gray morning sunlight streams across the black floors,
I take pictures of chestnuts and a persimmon, eggs, bamboo and old boots,
The sun comes out, but it's still cold, the air from our mouths and the steam from coffee cups move and dance like the steam off the mountain tops, like the tops talk to the tops of out tiny coffee pots, I bow low to receive the cool breath of winter winds,
Tap tap tap, the rain drops, the soft murmur of the river unseen rolls below the crack crack crack of the fire pops, and the rain drops falling off the thatched roof, glistening ferns, some birds, some footsteps, some fresh baked bread, and behind it all, some reggae and rock steady swimming in the smoky air,
With the heavy light hanging and holding the shadows so well.
i still smell smoke, and see the angels.
Posted by David at 4:51 AM
Friday, October 21, 2005
Today I learned some Japanese sign language (“finger language”) from one of my special students (she has some sort of mental disability). Then we sang together with a CD a crazy version of “ABCs” then “twinkle twinkle little star” then the real version of “ABCs” and, I tell you, for the first time in my life I discovered that those two songs have the exact same melody. I had no idea! Then we sang take me out to the ball game, Head shoulders knees and toes, Who's afraid of the big bad wolf, If your happy and you know it”(that’s a great song), bibbidi-bobbidi-boo, which was hard to sing, and then, Country Roads, which is also a karaoke favorite here. I am currently listening to a kid’s version of bridge over troubled waters in the teachers’ room. (These are notes form my notebook). The vice principal just gave me English Newspapers from the past three days, and, considering I haven’t been keeping up, I put down Harry Potter and the order of the phoenix and flipped through them enthusiastically. My shoulder is still sore from carrying taiko (I heard that ten people were severely injured this year from the festival.) . Before I dive into the paper and my thoughts, some interesting observations. Everyday the food ladies, dressed in surgery-style uniform, truck in all the school food from the city kitchen, and use a type of lazar gun to measure the temperatures, (to make sure no one will get burned). Then, they prepare one meal for the principal, who eats it alone, thirty minuets before lunchtime, to make sure it is safe.
A 12-year-old boy confessed to beating his mother to death (he hit her several times in the neck and she fell over onto a table) because she told him to get out of the house if he did not feel like studying at about midnight on Tuesday. I bet he didn’t mean to kill his mom. Poor kid. Rumsfeld visits China, and so does Snow, and both I bet forgot to talk about Tibet. China (as well as half of Japan) is angry with Koizumi (this story has been front page all three days) because he visited a shrine dedicated to dead solders (some of which were probably morally corrupt). But war victims all the same in my book, even if they did rape and pillage. Greenspan visits Tokyo, and America doesn’t want china in space. Speaking of space, please check out the link to information about aliens.
September was the hottest month on earth since 1880 (hence the hurricanes?) A butterfly flutters past an open window, and a cool breeze carries in the fresh breath of fall. Today is such a beautiful day.
And Saddam Hussein’s trial begins. I see a picture of a mean, grumpy old man, who allegedly ordered the torture and killing of hundreds if not thousands of human lives. And suddenly I feel moved to hug the man. Why this sudden care for this old dictator. I consider compassion; I consider his own humanness, that he too, like me, wants happiness and doesn’t want to suffer. I think that maybe he regrets what he did, but that doesn’t matter. God is working that incarnation out. (He is connected to the earth, and we all grow together from catastrophe.) And if Saddam doesn’t regret, all the more reason to love him. Not pity. Not arrogant I'm better than your poor, ignorant, suffering ass. But compassion, where, I know what is it like to be blind. To be trapped. To project. TO want power. To want happiness. He just is not yet capable of seeing and loving. I don’t want him to die. I don’t want the death penalty. But why not?
I consider Ram Dass’s idea using the image of a television with different channels. And we can see and meet people on different channels. He says we all live on a number of plains of reality (like how you dreamt last night and then woke up to this reality. That was one flip of your receiver, your TV receiver).
For the most part we are 1 or 2 channel receivers, or we live in one or two channels. The first is bodies. We see men, women, hair, body size, shape, features: the physical plain. You meet other people on that channel, and you identify, to some degree, with that channel because you dress it and bathe it and use it to go to work. Physical reality. Channel two; we have personalities and social roles. You’re cranky, you’re peaceful, you’re a mother, you’re a lawyer, you’re a doctor, you like music, you kill people, you lecture people, you help others, you don’t do anything. That is real. Those are real psychosocial positions and realities, and you meet othr mothers, other workerss, other personalities and social roles. Now, if you shift channels again you get to the soul. The thing behind the personality. And here you see just souls. You look into another person’s eyes and you see another being in there, just like yourself; a being that is in a package made up of their body and personality, but is not exclusively those things. You look through the veil of individual difference and you see a being just like you. On that channel we are a group of souls that have met here in our vehicles to do some sort of work, or play, or something, we don’t know, I don’t know, but we seem to be playing out a type of drama. And souls are not good or bad, they do good or bad things on the other channels, but a soul is just a soul. So you cant hate people, you can only hate there actions, because the are just fellow souls, fellow beings on the earth like you. Interestingly, if you change the channel on more time you begin to see that behind all our separateness there is Unity. You look at another dnyou see part of yourself. All our souls are made of the same substance, the same beingness. There is only one of it, and we’re it. This is all permutations of one stuff. You can call that stuff many names because it doesn't have a name. Call it energy. Call it Consciousness, Emptiness, God. Love. (In fact, we will kill each other over what to call it.) Some traditions, like the Jews, refuse to call it anything. I think Paul said God is the All in all. The All. In All. The Isness. The I AM. The One. Behind the many there is the One. (Before the many, before good and evil, there was only the One. The Alone. One more channel and there is no longer “the One” there is no longer God, there is just this. Here, Now. (for in order to see a “One” you must be a separate entity that can SEE the one. I wont get into that stuff right now. The point is that as human incarnates we have all these channels. We have access to all these channels and we can meet on all these channels. And I think I just met Saddam Hussein on the soul channel, where he is a being like me. I know him because there is a channel of reality where him and I are the same Self.
Tonight some Mormons are coming over to read me scripture. I invited them. I think I will talk to them about this kind of thing, and how that relates to god’s plan.
At home I found the new book by the Dalai Lama waiting for me. “The universe in a single atom.” With a quote from The Great Flower Ornament (an ancient Buddhist text) “In each atom of the realms of the universe, there exists vast oceans of world systems.”
the pics are from the festival at Ikku shrine (the shrine with the 1000 year old trees), and our neighborhood taiko parading around my appartment at night. This weekend i am hiking in the mountainns of my neigboring prefecture with some buddies. you will be updated. Be well.
Posted by David at 12:56 AM
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