A Walking Tour

“This ground is
sacred.” says
the Bishop* as
he exercises
his ecclesiastical powers
by sauntering from
church to church
to reclaim the natural
sanctity of the land
in between.

With every step,
he proclaims the
good news of being
undividedly alive.

Divine truth is
dispensed indiscriminately
without notice of
holy walls and
ordinary constructions.

High and low
and me and you
irrepressibly intermingle.

Each step
broadcasts mercy.

*http://www.masslive.com/news/worcester/index.ssf/2014/10/episcopalian_bishop_sets_out_t.html
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April 26th Moonbeams

I confess that the moonbeam
coreopsis in the upper garden
have always flirted with me.
Their bright golden faces in full summer
delight me as they mound and sway
in easy profusion over lacy leaves .

But now, their meager shoots are
unremarkable as they break ground.
An innocent foot could easily crush
their careful plan without a second thought.
Only past years’ memories alert me
to their generous and sweet future.

Scheming for abundance, I dig around the edges,
excavating yellow runners tipped with bits of pokey green.
Then taking my unpromising looking loot
to the work table in the garage, I tenderly
tuck a few sprigs in each square green pot filled
with screened soil and compost from the back yard.

I set the packed pots in black plastic trays gleaned
from expensive trips to nurseries in former seasons.
Carrying the containers to a sunny spot by the back door,
I think of how these scraps of life may miraculously
grow to green fullness in their new homes. Even now
I see their golden blossoms swaying under the fence
by the road and feel prosperous indeed
in my newfound affluence.

0427150841

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Buddhist Teachers Contend

Buddhist teachers
contend in Cambridge
over the True Way
that has never been
bothered by grand
proclamations nor by
elegant formulations.

The way forever wanders
free in the coolness
of the morning, perhaps
walking down to the coffee
shop for a dark roast
with room for cream.

This is my grand
proclamation and my
elegant formulation.

How about you?

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This Spring Day

This spring day
I’m swearing off
all heroic effort –
I’ve had my fill of
shoveling against
the cold and
relentless piles of snow.

Today I pledge
to wander with
the Easter-colored
crocus, following
their lowly golden
dance of beauty
and impermanence.

We are all momentary
beings that travel
frigid distances to
find ourselves
once again here.

unnamed

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Buddhist Christian Conversion Formula

David, the only Taiwanese Episcopal
Bishop told me (David, the only
American Zen Abbot at breakfast),
when I asked, that there are
five things he tells Buddhists
about why they should become
Christian.

First is that people these days
love speed and that the fastest
thing in the world, faster than
the Taiwanese bullet train
that travels 350 kilometers per
hour, is pure light that travels
300,000 kilometers per second.
And faster yet is God, who is
right here the moment we call
His name.

And second is that more powerful
than the atomic bomb that
destroyed Nagasaki and fills
our hearts with fear is God’s
power – which is love and is
even stronger than this
terrible darkness.

Then there’s the fact that
God is on-call twenty-four
seven. He takes no breaks
or vacation days so whenever
we call out, He is there.

Not to mention the fourth
reason to be Christian: God
is everywhere always so
we don’t have to go anywhere
to be protected – no temple
visits required, no incense
offerings necessary, even the
clapping of hands is optional.

I wish I could remember
the fifth, because as he
spoke in these seemingly
simplistic images, I felt his
true faith and was indeed
instantly comforted by the
most wonderful God
that sparkled his eyes
and animated his heart.

There was no time to compare
notes and see if his God is also
a being with ears and hands all
over like Kanzeon, the Bodhisattva
of compassion, who behaves
in a similar manner—is reputed
to respond instantly to our calls,
and who also, as far as is discernable,
does not take vacations.

I wondered too about the possibility
of a face-to-face cosmic compassion
competition between God and Kanzeon.
I like to think they would meet
with peals of laughter and
tangle together, indiscriminately
intertwinkling like ten thousand
illuminated dust motes in
the late afternoon sun above
the dining room table—swirling
on joyous currents through vast space.

As for his own journey, David
chuckled and recounted that
as a six-year-old Buddhist, he
was invited to a Christmas party.
He didn’t want to go until he
found out there was cake and candy.

If I were in his shoes,
I would have gone too.

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