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On The Menu:
Lucy In The Sky…
2 Koans 4 U
Poetry: Herman Hesse
Free As A Bird
Art: The Divine Mr. Watts….
Yep, we are back and almost at full steam (some image crap-ola still going on) O, I am feeling just a bit rusty, and feel like I have been pulled through a hedge backwards…
But, we are up, and I have to thank our friend Doug Fraser for all his efforts, patience, and kindness in bringing the site and Turfing back on its feet.
When I get the new picture function working (it is not accepting new illustrations), we will have photos from the last week. Lots has been going on.
We shall tell all in good time O’ Gentle Reader, in good time.
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds…
2 Koans’ 4 U
A Philosopher Asks Buddha
A philosopher asked Buddha: `Without words, without the wordless, will you you tell me truth?’
The Buddha kept silence.
The philosopher bowed and thanked the Buddha, saying: `With your loving kindness I have cleared away my delusions and entered the true path.’
After the philosopher had gone, Ananda asked the Buddha what he had attained.
The Buddha replied, `A good horse runs even at the shadow of the whip.’
Once when Hyakujo delivered some Zen lectures an old man attended them, unseen by the monks. At the end of each talk when the monks left so did he. But one day he remained after the had gone, and Hyakujo asked him: `Who are you?’
The old man replied: `I am not a human being, but I was a human being when the Kashapa Buddha preached in this world. I was a Zen master and lived on this mountain. At that time one of my students asked me whether the enlightened man is subject to the law of causation. I answered him: “The enlightened man is not subject to the law of causation.” For this answer evidencing a clinging to absoluteness I became a fox for five hundred rebirths, and I am still a fox. Will you save me from this condition with your Zen words and let me get out of a fox’s body? Now may I ask you: Is the enlightened man subject to the law of causation?’
Hyakujo said: `The enlightened man is one with the law of causation.’
At the words of Hyakujo the old man was enlightened. `I am emancipated,’ he said, paying homage with a deep bow. `I am no more a fox, but I have to leave my body in my dwelling place behind this mountain. Please perform my funeral as a monk.’ The he disappeared.
The next day Hyakujo gave an order through the chief monk to prepare to attend the funeral of a monk. `No one was sick in the infirmary,’ wondered the monks. `What does our teacher mean?’
After dinner Hyakujo led the monks out and around the mountain. In a cave, with his staff he poked out the corpse of an old fox and then performed the ceremony of cremation.
That evening Hyakujo gave a talk to the monks and told this story about the law of causation.
Obaku, upon hearing this story, asked Hyakujo: `I understand that a long time ago because a certain person gave a wrong Zen answer he became a fox for five hundred rebirths. Now I was to ask: If some modern master is asked many questions, and he always gives the right answer, what will become of him?’
Hyakujo said: `You come here near me and I will tell you.’
Obaku went near Hyakujo and slapped the teacher’s face with this hand, for he knew this was the answer his teacher intended to give him.
Hyakujo clapped his hands and laughed at the discernment. `I thought a Persian had a red beard,’ he said, `and now I know a Persian who has a red beard.’
The Poetry of Herman Hesse…
Guest at a monastery in the hills,
I stepped, when all the monks had gone to pray,
Into a book-lined room. Along the walls,
Glittering in the light of fading day,
I saw a multitude of vellum spines
With marvelous inscriptions. Eagerly,
Impelled by rapturous curiosity,
I picked the nearest book, and read the lines:
The squaring of the circle-Final Stage.
I thought: I’ll take this and read every page!
A quarto volume, leather tooled in gold,
Gave promise of a story still untold:
How Adam also ate of the other tree…
The other tree? Which one? The tree of life?
Is Adam then immortal? Now I could see
No chance had brought me here to this library.
I spied the back and edges of a folio
Aglow with all the colors of the rainbow,
Its hand-painted title stating a decree:
The interrelationships of hues and sound:
Proof that for every color may be found
In music a proper corresponding key.
Choirs of colors sparkled before my eyes
And now I was beginning to surmise:
Here was the library of Paradise.
To all the questions that had driven me
All the answers could be given me.
Here I could quench my thirst to understand,
For here all knowledge stood at my command.
There was provision here for every need:
A title fill of promise on each book
Responded to my every rapid look.
Here there was fruit to satisfy the greed
Of any student’s timid aspirations,
Here was the inner meaning, here the key,
To poetry, to wisdom, and to science.
Magic and erudition in alliance
Opened the door to every mystery.
Those books provided pledges of all power
To him who came here at this magic hour.
A lectern stood near by; with hands that shook
I placed upon it one enticing book,
Deciphered at a glance the picture writing,
As in a dream we find ourselves reciting
A poem or lesson we have never learned.
At once I soared aloft to starry spaces
Of the soul, and with the zodiac turned,
Where all the revelations of all races,
Whatever intuition has divined,
Millennial experience of all nations,
Harmoniously met in new relations,
Old insights with new symbols recombined,
So that in minutes or in hours as I read
I traced once more the whole path of mankind,
And all that men have ever done and said
Disclosed its inner meaning to my mind.
I read, and saw those hieroglyphic forms
Couple and part, and coalesce in swarms,
Dance for a while together, separate,
Once more in newer patterns integrate,
A kaleidoscope of endless metaphors-
And each some vaster, fresher sense explores.
Bedazzled by these sights, O looked away
From the book to give my eyes a moment’s rest,
And saw that I was not the only guest.
An old man stood before that grand array
Of tomes. Perhaps he was the archivist.
I saw that he was earnestly intent
Upon some task, and i could not resist
A strange conviction that I had to know
The manner of his work, and what it meant.
I watched the old man, with frail hand and slow,
Remove a volume and inspect what stood
Written upon its back, then saw him blow
With pallid lips upon the title-could
A title possibly be more alluring
Or offer greater promise of enduring
Delight? But now his finger wiped across
The spine. I saw it silently erase
The name, and watched with fearful sense of loss
As he inscribed another in its place
And then moved on to smilingly efface
One more, but only a newer title to emboss.
For a long while while I looked at him bemused,
The turned, since reason totally refused
To understand the meaning of his actions,
Back to my book-I’d seen but a few lines-
And found I could no longer read the signs
Or even see the rows of images.
The world of symbols I had barely entered
That had stirred me to such transports of bliss,
In which a universe of meaning centered,
Seemed to dissolve and rush away, careen
And reel and shake in feverish contractions,
And fade out, leaving nothing to be seen
But empty parchment with a hoary sheen.
I felt a hand upon me, felt it slide
Over my shoulder. The old man stood beside
My lectern, and I shuddered while
He took my book and with a subtle smile
Brushed his finger lightly to elide
The former title, then began to write
New promises and problems, novel inquiries,
New formulas for ancient mysteries.
Without a word, he plied his magic style.
Then, with my book, he disappeared from sight.
I Know, You Walk–
I walk so often, late, along the streets,
Lower my gaze, and hurry, full of dread,
Suddenly, silently, you still might rise
And I would have to gaze on all your grief
With my own eyes,
While you demand your happiness, that’s dead.
I know, you walk beyond me, every night,
With a coy footfall, in a wretched dress
And walk for money, looking miserable!
Your shoes gather God knows what ugly mess,
The wind plays in your hair with lewd delight—
You walk, and walk, and find no home at all.
How Heavy The Days
How heavy the days are.
There’s not a fire that can warm me,
Not a sun to laugh with me,
Everything cold and merciless,
And even the beloved, clear
Stars look desolately down,
Since I learned in my heart that
Love can die.
A Swarm Of Gnats
Many thousand glittering motes
Crowd forward greedily together
In trembling circles.
Extravagantly carousing away
For a whole hour rapidly vanishing,
They rave, delirious, a shrill whir,
Shivering with joy against death.
While kingdoms, sunk into ruin,
Whose thrones, heavy with gold, instantly scattered
Into night and legend, without leaving a trace,
Have never known so fierce a dancing.
My Pillow gazes upon me at night
Empty as a gravestone;
I never thought it would be so bitter
To be alone,
Not to lie down asleep in your hair.
I lie alone in a silent house,
The hanging lamp darkened,
And gently stretch out my hands
To gather in yours,
And softly press my warm mouth
Toward you, and kiss myself, exhausted and weak-
Then suddenly I’m awake
And all around me the cold night grows still.
The star in the window shines clearly-
Where is your blond hair,
Where your sweet mouth?
Now I drink pain in every delight
And poison in every wine;
I never knew it would be so bitter
To be alone,
Alone, without you.
Free As A Bird