Best Viewed In FireFox
(George Frederic Watts – Ariadne At Naxos)
What is up for today…..
hope you enjoy!
On The Menu:
Patrick & Eugene – The Birds and the Bees
Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band
Artist: George Frederic Watts
Patrick & Eugene – The Birds and the Bees
(George Frederic Watts – A Bacchante)
A Smile in His Lifetime
Mokugen was never known to smile until his last day on earth. When his time came to pass away he said to his faithful ones: “You have studied under me for more than ten years. Show me your real interpretation of Zen. Whoever expresses this most clearly shall be my successor and receive my robe and bowl.”
Everyone watched Mokugen’s severe face, but no one answered.
Encho, a disciple who had been with his teacher for a long time, moved near the bedside. He pushed forward the medicine cup a few inches. That was his answer to the command.
The teacher’s face became even more severe. “Is that all you understand?” he asked.
Encho reached out and moved the cup back again.
A beautiful smile broke over the features of Mokugen. “You rascal,” he told Encho. “You worked with me ten years and have not yet seen my whole body. Take the robe and bowl. They belong to you.”
Publishing the Sutras
Tetsugen, a devotee of Zen in Japan, decided to publish the sutras, which at that time were available only in Chinese. The books were to be printed with wood blocks in an edition of seven thousand copies, a tremendous undertaking.
Tetsugen began by traveling and collecting donations for this purpose. A few sympathizers would give him a hundred pieces of gold, but most of the time he received only small coins. He thanked each donor with equal gratitude. After ten years Tetsugen had enough money to begin his task.
It happened that at that time the Uji Rive overflowed. Famine followed. Tetsugen took the funds he had collected for the books and spent them to save others from starvation. Then he began again his work of collecting.
Several years afterwards an epidemic spread over the country. Tetsugen again gave away what he had collected, to help his people. For a third time he started his work, and after twenty years his wish was fulfilled. The printing blocks which produced the first edition of sutras can be seen today in the Obaku monastery in Kyoto.
The Japanese tell their children that Tetsugen made three sets of sutras, and that the first two invisible sets surpass even the last.
The Story of Shunkai
The exquisite Shunkai whose other name was Suzu was compelled to marry against her wishes when she was quite young. Later, after this marriage had ended, she attended the university, where she studied philosophy.
To see Shunkai was to fall in love with her. Moreover, wherever she went, she herself fell in love with others. Love was with her at the university, and afterwards when philosophy did not satisfy her and she visited the temple to learn about Zen, the Zen students fell in love with her. Shunkai’s whole life was saturated with love.
At last in Kyoto she became a real student of Zen. Her brothers in the sub-temple of Kennin praised her sincerity. One of them proved to be a congenial spirit and assisted her in the mastery of Zen.
The abbot of Kennin, Mokurai, Silent Thunder, was severe. He kept the precepts himself and expected the priests to do so. In modern Japan whatever zeal these priests have lost for Buddhism they seemed to have gained for having wives. Mokurai used to take a broom and chase the women away when he found them in any of his temples, but the more wives he swept out, the more seemed to come back.
In this particular temple the wife of the head priest had become jealous of Shunkai’s earnestness and beauty. Hearing the students praise her serious Zen made this wife squirm and itch. Finally she spread a rumor about that Shunkai and the young man who was her friend. As a consequence he was expelled and Shunkai was removed from the temple.
“I may have made the mistake of love,” thought Shunkai, “but the priest’s wife shall not remain in the temple either if my friend is to be treated so unjustly.”
Shunkai the same night with a can of kerosene set fire to the five-hundred-year-old temple and burned it to the ground. In the morning she found herself in the hands of the police.
A young lawyer became interested in her and endeavoured to make her sentance lighter. “Do not help me.” she told him. “I might decide to do something else which will only imprison me again.”
At last a sentance of seven years was completed, and Shunkai was released from the prison, where the sixty-year-old warden also had become enamored of her.
But now everyone looked upon her as a “jailbird”. No one would associate with her. Even the Zen people, who are supposed to believe in enlightenment in this life and with this body, shunned her. Zen, Shunkai found, was one thing and the followers of Zen quite another. Her relatives would have nothing to do with her. She grew sick, poor, and weak.
She met a Shinshu priest who taught her the name of the Buddha of Love, and in this Shunkai found some solace and peace of mind. She passed away when she was still exquisitely beautiful and hardly thirty years old.
She wrote her own story in a futile endeavour to support herself and some of it she told to a women writer. So it reached the Japanese people. Those who rejected Shunkai, those who slandered and hated her, now read of her life with tears of remorse.
The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band
(George Frederic Watts – Uldra)
The Earth and Man
A little sun, a little rain
A soft wind blowing from the west,
And woods and fields are sweet again,
And warmth within the mountain’s breast.
So simple is the earth we tread,
So quick with love and life her frame,
Ten thousand years have dawned and fled,
And still her magic is the same.
A little love, a little trust,
A soft impulse, a sudden dream,
And life as dry as desert dust
Is fresher than a mountain stream.
So simple is the heart of man,
So ready for new hope and joy;
Ten thousand years since it began
Have left it younger than a boy
-S A Brooke
Lines of Leaving
I am losing you again
as if you were ever mine to lose.
The pain is as deep
beyond formal possession
beyond the fierce frivolity of tears.
Absurdly you came into my world
my time-wrecked world
a quiet laugh below the thunder.
Absurdly you leave it now
as always I foreknew you would.
I lived on an alien joy.
Your gentleness disarmed me
wine in my desert
peace across impassable seas
path of light in my jungle.
Now uncatchable as the wind you go
beyond the wind
and there is nothing in my world
save the straw of salvation in the amber dream.
The absurdity of that vast improbable joy.
The absurdity of you gone.
– Christy Brown
I was the moon.
A shadow hid me
and I knew what it meant
not to be at all.
The moon in eclipse is sad
There is no passion in her plight.
moving in a trance,
she comes to her station
or passes again to her place;
uncovers her loneliness:
eyeless behind no eyelids
has neither sleeping nor waking,
no body, parts, nor passions,
no loving, perceiving,
having, nor being;
moves only in a wayless night;
and drifting, as a ship without direction,
sinks to a forgotten depth,
(George Frederic Watts – Death Crowning Innocence)