Prayer of the White-Tailed Tropic Bird
My prayer is this:
that once in your life
you would come upon me looking at you
from a hollow in the cliff,
my soft wings folded,
my breast gleaming
in the shadow like white curve of shell;
and that the abyss of time
in my black, unstartled eyes
would strike and overwhelm you,
the whole weight of my unmoving peace
would descend upon you,
you would see God looking out at you from the rock,
and you would fall to your knees upon the stony path,
‘What’s the first principle of the holy teaching?’ asks the Emperor. ‘Vast emptiness, nothing holy,’ says Bodhidharma.
‘Well, who are you then?’
‘I don’t know,’ says Bodhidharma.
….There’s a layered quality to suffering and intense emotion. As you become interested, a tiny, elf light appears in the darkest dungeon. That’s the gate of emptiness. As you become more interested, you walk deeper into the forest and everything looks different. It’s become a path, and that is enough. A few rules of thumb, no first principles:
1) You don’t have to know.
2) If you take a step, any step, and feel about, you’ll find ground.
3) Whatever happens is your journey; what to do is given.
4) It’s for your benefit, honorable reader. It’s for you. No one was ever given another now.
5) Curiosity saves the cat.
6) The question ‘What is this?’ is a koan and always reveals a gateway.
7) No need to bear it.
8) When we want something to be over, we lose compassion for ourselves, now.
9) What if there’s nothing wrong?
10) Not having a first principle.
We’re all hurtling through our lives, and the planet is hurtling through space without a seat belt. We have to discover successively more freedom inside the terrible things that have happened and the terrible things that certainly will happen, and the whole of it is also a mysterious splendor, full of kindness, welcome, and cups of tea……John Tarrant Roshi
wounds are engendered like raw cattails stripped bare in a hard, spring rain…..in a sweet life, we plant seeds in the middle of all that is rotten, knowing that the right mix of sun and blessings will reap holy ground deep in our hearts….one day it is suddenly spring and we witness the intimacy in all things……
‘Whatever you meet is the path.’ In spiritual practice, which is our life, there are no breaks and no mistakes. We human beings are always doing spiritual practice, whether we know it or not. You may think that you have lost the thread of your practice, that you were going along quite well and then life got so busy and complicated and you lost track of what you were doing. You may feel bad about this, and that feeling feeds on itself, and it becomes harder and harder to get back on track. But this is what you think; it’s not what’s going on. Once you begin practice, you always keep going, because everything is practice, even the days or the weeks or entire lifetimes when you forgot to meditate. Even then you’re still practicing, because it’s impossible to be lost. You are constantly being found, whether you know it or not. To practice this slogan is to know that not matter what is going on- no matter how distracted you think you are, no matter how much you feel like a terribly lazy individual who has completely lost track of her good intentions and is now hopelessly astray- even then you have the responsibility and the ability to take all negativity, bad circumstance, and difficulty and turn it into the path….Norman Fischer