Monday, January 7, 2013

Happy New Year, Everybody

Happy New Year, Everybody! Our New Year at Both Sides / No Sides began with chanting from our newly modified sutra sheets and the Fusatsu Ceremony, a renewal of our Zen Buddhist vows. All of that was of course was punctuated by wall-staring and bell ringing and tea. During tea, I talked about "beginnings," using as texts a poem by Denise Levertov (thanks to Susan Feeney) and one of the Buddha's parables. These are below, with some found images to celebrate the imagination.
--Bobby Kankin Byrd

Doomed Star Eta Carinae 
Image Credit: J. Morse (Arizona State U.), K. Davidson (U. Minnesota) et al., WFPC2HSTNASA

By Denise Levertov

But we have only begun to love the earth. We have only begun to imagine the fullness of life.
How could we tire of hope!—so much is in the bud.

How can desire fail?—we have only begun to imagine justice and mercy,
Only begun to envision how it might be to live as siblings with beast and flower, not as oppressors.

Surely our river cannot already be hastening into the sea of nonbeing?
Surely it cannot drag, in the silt, all that is innocent!

Not yet, not yet—there is too much broken that must be mended,
Too much hurt that we have done to each other that cannot yet be forgiven.

We have only begun to know the power that is in us if we would join our solitudes in the communion of struggle.
So much is unfolding that must complete its gesture, so much is in the bud.

Strawberries by Ginny McComb 
A Parable
from Zen Flesh, Zen Bones

Buddha told a parable in a sutra:

A man traveling across a field encountered a tiger. He fled, the tiger after him. Coming to a precipice, he caught hold of the root of a wild vine and swung himself down over the edge. The tiger sniffed at him from above. Trembling, the man looked down to where, far below, another tiger was waiting to eat him. Only the vine sustained him.

Two mice, one white and one black, little by little started to gnaw away the vine. The man saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other. How sweet it tasted!

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