The 10,000 Grasses

The morning dew on the tips of the ten thousand grasses reveals the truth of all the myriad forms of this great earth. Zen Master Dogen

Each thing, each tip of grass, each dewdrop, each and every thing throughout the whole phenomenal universe contains the totality of the universe. That’s the truth of the myriad forms of this great earth. Copied from this article on Dogen’s Mountains and Rivers Suttra, commentary by the late John Daido Loori, Roshi. Bless him.

The photograph shows the West Allan Valley looking north(ish) towards the monastery. Lovely day today. It is nearly the end of a week-long retreat in the monastery with lots of guests. The merit of this post is offered to all those in extremity, in particular those preparing for surgery. The morning dew reveals the truth, the third position beyond the opposites. In the article refered to as the ‘third thing’. There is always the third thing.

Live Your Life

Ashgill Force on the South Tyne

I can stay
Skip the wedding
No problem

Close to death.
Massive stroke.
Speaking difficult
Message to partner.

Struggling to form words
Her partner said
I want you to

What a gift!
Last words a life
friend could speak
A gift for us all.

What does it actually mean to live ones life? Is it to squeeze every last drop out of ones day filling it with memorable experiences? Not for me, although I’ve been blessed with many a memorable moment in my life. Let me think….to me, at the moment, living life is to appreciate/be with the life of THIS. Just this. That can be as simple as feeling warm water running over my hands, listening to a bee gathering food or catching a sight of the wide sweep of this West Allen Valley in Northumberland, where I’m currently living.

Here a short video showing the waterfall in all its glory. Twas a great few hours in Autumn sunshine walking up to this fantastic waterfall.

Another Labour of Love

I was out and about yesterday as the weather was fine and the wind had dropped.  These model villages in the nearby village of Nenthead are quite something, quite the labour of love.

This post is dedicated to all those who are new to practice or finding it a bit of a struggle to either keep going or to get back to formal meditation. In a certain sense practice is a labour of love. Love with no gain, unconditional love if you will. Oh, and good fortune to the three chaps I met on the road after the recent Intro. Retreat.


From Men in Black 3 (2012)

Don’t ask questions
you don’t want to know
the answer to.

Worth pondering. Worth applying wisdom too. Sometimes one does need to ask questions…. And sometimes it’s wisest not to.

Nothing is ever one way or another.

All Relationships End?

Well yes, all relationships do end if you look at the matter from a ‘nothing is separate from anything else’ perspective. However the fact of and the living through the end of a relationship, be it through death or incompatibility or all the reasons people end relationships, the non dual seeing doesn’t take the pain away. Even though I find Rilke hard to follow I get what he is saying. And I think most of us can wish for a split that has some life and goodwill left after the explosion of separation. I remember the pain as more like an internal explosion which lasts some time. Disturbing.

Rilke on how to break up with integrity and preserve friendship after romance.
As soon as two people have resolved to give up their togetherness, the resulting pain with its heaviness or particularity is already so completely part of the life of each individual that the other has to sternly deny himself to become sentimental and feel pity. The beginning of the agreed-upon separation is marked precisely by this pain, and its first challenge will be that this pain already belongs separately to each of the two individuals. This pain is an essential condition of what the now solitary and most lonely individual will have to create in the future out of his reclaimed life.

He considers the measure of a “good breakup” — a separation that, however painful in its immediate loss, is a long-term gain for both partners, individually and together:

If two people managed not to get stuck in hatred during their honest struggles with each other, that is, in the edges of their passion that became ragged and sharp when it cooled and set, if they could stay fluid, active, flexible, and changeable in all of their interactions and relations, and, in a word, if a mutually human and friendly consideration remained available to them, then their decision to separate cannot easily conjure disaster and terror.