Be a bud sitting quietly on the hedge.
Be a smile, one part of wondrous existence.
Stand here. There is no need to depart.
-Thich Nhat Hahn
Very warm in Portland tonight, at 10:40 it is still 85f… got up to 106f today! Yikes. Sweating. Anyway, busy day, lots of things going on!
An early announcement: Dale Pendell will be speaking at Powell’s on Hawthorne this coming Monday evening the 16th of July. I will have more details for you soon.
Dale will be reading from his newest book: ‘Inspired Madness’ which is about the culture of Burning Man… So stay tuned, more info soon!
Our friend Jan who works at Powell’s Hawthorne is very excited, and hopes you all will show up. A good time is assured!
We have had a great turn out for Radio Free Earthrites! Lots of new stuff, and lots of new listeners! Join in!
Ta Ra for now,
On the Menu:
Poems of Thich Nhat Thanh…
Unearthing history at ‘prehistoric Glastonbury’
Benedict Builds More Bridges!
The more Greek gods the merrier
Mysteries of the Snake Goddess: Art, Desire, and the Forging of History
“I quit therapy because my analyst was trying to help me behind my back.”
“The best way to keep one’s word is not to give it.”
“If we don’t succeed, we run the risk of failure.”
“The nice part about being a pessimist is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised. “
“The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer.”
“We are continually faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.” “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”
“The whole dream of democracy is to raise the proletarian to the level of stupidity attained by the bourgeois.”
Asanga was one of the most famous Indian Buddhist saints, and lived in the fourth century. He went to the mountains to do a solitary retreat, concentrating all his meditation practice on the Buddha Maitreya, in the fervent hope that he would be blessed with a vision of this Buddha and receive teachings from him.
For six years Asanga meditated in extreme hardship, but did not even have one auspicious dream. He was disheartened and thought he would never succeed with his aspiration to meet the Buddha Maitreya, and so he abandoned his retreat and left his hermitage. He had not gone far down the road when he saw a man rubbing an enormous iron bar with a strip of silk. Asanga went up to him and asked him what he was doing. “I haven’t got a needle,” the man replied, “so I’m going to make one out of this iron bar. “Asanga stared at him, astounded; even if the man were able to manage it in a hun-dred years, he thought, what would be the point? He said to himself: “Look at the trouble people give themselves over things that are totally absurd. You are doing something really valuable, spiritual practice, and you’re not nearly so dedi-cated.” He turned around and went back to his retreat.
Another three years went by, still without the slightest sign from the Buddha Maitreya. “Now I know for certain,” he thought “I’m never going to succeed.” So he left again, and soon came to a bend in the road where there was a huge rock, so tall it seemed to touch the sky. At the foot of the rock was a man busily rubbing it with a feather soaked in water. “What are you doing?” Asanga asked. “This rock is so big it’s stopping the sun from shining on my house, so I’m trying to get rid of it.” Asanga was amazed at the man’s indefatigable energy, and ashamed at his own lack of dedication. He returned to his retreat.
Three more years passed, and still he had not even had a single good dream. He decided, once and for all, that it was hopeless, and he left his retreat for good. The day wore on, and in the afternoon he came across a dog lying by the side of the road. It had only its front legs, and the whole of the lower part of its body was rotting and covered with maggots. Despite its pitiful condition, the dog was snapping at passers-by and pathetically trying to bite them by dragging itself along the ground with its two good legs.
Asanga was overwhelmed with a vivid and unbearable feeling of compassion. He cut a piece of flesh off his own body and gave it to the dog to eat. Then he bent down to take off the maggots that were consuming the dog’s body. But he suddenly thought he might hurt them if he tried to pull them out with his fingers, and realized that the only way to remove them would be on his tongue. Asanga knelt on the ground, and looking at the horrible festering, writhing mass, closed his eyes. He leant closer and put out his tongue. The next thing he knew, his tongue was touching the ground. He opened his eyes and looked up. The dog was gone; there in its place was the Buddha Maitreya, ringed by a shimmering aura of light.
“At last,” said Asanga, “why did you never appear to me before?”
Maitreya spoke softly: “it is not true that I have never appeared to you before. I was with you all the time, but your negative karma and obscurations prevented you from seeing me. Your twelve years of practice dissolved them slightly so that you were at last able to see the dog. Then, thanks to your genuine and heartfelt compassion, all those obscurations were completely swept away and you can see me before you with your very own eyes. If you don’t believe that this is what happened, put me on your shoulder and try and see if anyone else can see me.” Asanga put Maitreya on his right shoulder and went to the marketplace, where he began to ask everyone: “What have I got on my shoulder?” “Nothing,” most people said, and hurried on. Only one old woman, whose karma had been slightly purified, answered: “You’ve got the rotting corpse of an old dog on your shoulder, that’s all. “Asanga at last understood the boundless power of compassion that had purified and transformed his karma, and so made him a vessel fit to receive the vision and instruction of Maitreya. Then the Bud-dha Maitreya, whose name means “loving kindness,” took Asanga to a heavenly realm, and there gave him many sublime teachings that are among the most important in the whole of Buddhism.
Poems of Thich Nhat Thanh…
Drink Your Tea
Drink your tea slowly and reverently,
as if it is the axis
on which the world earth revolves
– slowly, evenly, without
rushing toward the future;
Live the actual moment.
Only this moment is life.
Looking For Each Other
I have been looking for you, World Honored One,
since I was a little child.
With my first breath, I heard your call,
and began to look for you, Blessed One.
I’ve walked so many perilous paths,
confronted so many dangers,
endured despair, fear, hopes, and memories.
I’ve trekked to the farthest regions, immense and wild,
sailed the vast oceans,
traversed the highest summits, lost among the clouds.
I’ve lain dead, utterly alone,
on the sands of ancient deserts.
I’ve held in my heart so many tears of stone.
Blessed One, I’ve dreamed of drinking dewdrops
that sparkle with the light of far-off galaxies.
I’ve left footprints on celestial mountains
and screamed from the depths of Avici Hell, exhausted, crazed with despair
because I was so hungry, so thirsty.
For millions of lifetimes,
I’ve longed to see you,
but didn’t know where to look.
Yet, I’ve always felt your presence with a mysterious certainty.
I know that for thousands of lifetimes,
you and I have been one,
and the distance between us is only a flash of though.
Just yesterday while walking alone,
I saw the old path strewn with Autumn leaves,
and the brilliant moon, hanging over the gate,
suddenly appeared like the image of an old friend.
And all the stars confirmed that you were there!
All night, the rain of compassion continued to fall,
while lightning flashed through my window
and a great storm arose,
as if Earth and Sky were in battle.
Finally in me the rain stopped, the clouds parted.
The moon returned,
shining peacefully, calming Earth and Sky.
Looking into the mirror of the moon, suddenly
I saw myself,
and I saw you smiling, Blessed One.
The moon of freedom has returned to me,
everything I thought I had lost.
From that moment on,
and in each moment that followed,
I saw that nothing had gone.
There is nothing that should be restored.
Every flower, every stone, and every leaf recognize me.
Wherever I turn, I see you smiling
the smile of no-birth and no-death.
The smile I received while looking at the mirror of the moon.
I see you sitting there, solid as Mount Meru,
calm as my own breath,
sitting as though no raging fire storm ever occurred,
sitting in complete peace and freedom.
At last I have found you, Blessed One,
and I have found myself.
There I sit.
The deep blue sky,
the snow-capped mountains painted against the horizon,
and the shining red sun sing with joy.
You, Blessed One, are my first love.
The love that is always present, always pure, and freshly new.
And I shall never need a love that will be called last.
You are the source of well-being flowing through numberless troubled lives,
the water from you spiritual stream always pure, as it was in the beginning.
You are the source of peace,
solidity, and inner freedom.
You are the Buddha, the Tathagata.
With my one-pointed mind
I vow to nourish your solidity and freedom in myself
so I can offer solidity and freedom to countless others,
now and forever.
A Teacher Looking For His Disciple
I have been looking for you, my child,
Since the time when rivers and mountains still lay in obscurity.
I was looking for you when you were still in a deep sleep
Although the conch had many times echoed in the ten directions.
Without leaving our ancient mountain I looked at distant lands
And recognized your steps on so many different paths.
Where are you going, my child?
There have been times when the mist has come
And enveloped the remote village but you are still
Wandering in far away lands.
I have called your name with each breath,
Confident that even though you have lost your
Way over there you will finally find a way back to me.
Sometimes I manifest myself right on the path
You are treading but you still look at me as if I were a stranger
You cannot see the connection between us in our
Former lives you cannot remember the old vow you made.
You have not recognized me
Because your mind is caught up in images concerning a distant future.
In former lifetimes you have often taken my hand
and we have enjoyed walking together.
We have sat together for a longtime at the foot of old pine trees.
We have stood side by side in silence for hours
Listening to the sound of the wind softly calling us
And looking up at the while clouds floating by.
You have picked up and given to me the firstred autumn leaf
And I have taken you through forests deep in snow.
But wherever we go we always return to our
Ancient mountain to be near to the moon and stars
To invite the big bell every morning to sound,
And help living beings to wake up.
We have sat quietly on the An Tu mountain’ with the
Great Bamboo Forest Master
Alongside the frangipani trees in blossom.
We have taken boats out to sea to rescue the boat people as they drift.
We have helped Master Van Hanh design the Thang
Long capital we have built together a thatched hermitage,
And stretched out the net to rescue the nun Trac Tuyen When!
The sound of The rising tide was deafening
On the banks of The Tien Duong river.
Together we have opened the way and stepped
Into the immense space outside of space.
After many years of working to tear asunder the net of time.
We have saved up the light of shooting stars
And made a torch helping those who want to go home
After decades of wandering in distant places.
But still there have been times when the
Seeds of a vagabond in you have come back to life
you have left your teacher, your brothers and sisters
Alone you go…
I look at you with compassion
Although I know that this is not a true separation
(Because I am already in each cell of your body)
And that you may need once more to play the prodigal son.
That is why I promise I shall be there for you
Any time you are in danger.
Sometimes you have lain unconscious on the hot sands of frontier deserts.
I have manifested myself as a cloud to bring you cool shade.
Late at night the cloud became the dew
And the compassionate nectar falls drop by drop for you to drink.
Sometimes you sit in a deep abyss of darkness
Completely alienated from you true home.
I have manifested Myself as a long ladder and
Lightly thrown myself down
So that you can climb up to the area where there is light
To discover again the blue of the sky and the
Sounds of the brook and the birds.
Sometimes I recognised you in Birmingham,
In the Do Linh district or New England.
I have sometimes met you in Hang Chau, Xiamen, or Shanghai
I have sometimes found you in St. Petersburg or East Berlin.
Sometimes, though only five years old, I have
Seen you and recognized you.
Because of the seed of bodhchita, you carry in your tender heart.
Wherever I have seen you, I have always raised
My hand and made a signal to you,
Whether it be in the delta of the North, Saigon or the Thuan An Seaport.
Sometimes you were the golden full moon hanging
Over the summit of The Kim Son Mountain,
Or the little bird flying over the Dai Laoforest during a winter night.
Often I have seen you
But you have not seen me,
Though while walking in the evening mist your clothes have been soaked.
But finally you have always come home.
You have come home and sat at my feet on our ancient mountain
Listening to the birds calling and the monkeys
Screeching and the morning chanting echoing from the Buddha Hall.
You have come back to me determined not to be a vagabond any longer.
This morning the birds of the mountain joyfully welcome the bright sun.
Do you know, my child, that the white clouds
Are still floating in the vault of the sky?
Where are you now?
The ancient mountain is still there in this
Place of the present moment.
Although the white-crested wave still wants to
Go in the other direction,
Look again, you will see me in you and in every leaf and flower bud.
If you call my name, you will see me right away.
Where are you going?
The old frangipani tree offers its fragrant flowers this morning.
You and I have never really been apart. Spring has come.
The pines have put out new shining green needles
And on the edge of the forest, the wild Plum
Trees have burst into flower.