Raven Verses II

Responses to Robert Aitken, Zen Master Raven.

Retreat. Preparation? For advancing? Maybe.
Or perhaps advancing was preparation for this retreat,
Accouterments reduced to carryable.
This temporary eternal world-self never stops shining.
2017 Jul
Early Students
Wander. Find something abandoned and tall.
Fix up. Sit with what gathers.
Take a perch. Rinse. Repeat.
How could anything be grander than life?
2017 Jul
The Dream
Of whose dream are you the child?
You may choose, or, rather, it is for you to discern
Whose dream -- what teacher and tradition
Gives birth to you, becomes present
2017 Jul
The Pivot
Everywhere: things in their place.
Everywhere: things turning --
themselves, each other,
thee and me.
Nowhere: a place that isn't a turning point.
2017 Jul
"As I was going up the stair, I met a man who wasn't there! He wasn't there again today. Oh how I wish he'd go away!" (W.H. Mearns)
Every day, climbing that stair,
Meeting the self-centered one:
The companion who acts in your name.
Not there! Won't go away!
Like an unforgettable fictional character.
2017 Aug
The Spirit of Practice
The better question isn't Why? It's What?
What is this? What is now and here?
This sensation, this emotion, this world presenting before me, This!
What is it? Curiosity is the path;
It leads not to knowledge, but to intimacy.
2017 Aug
A Key Issue
Are we not here to be eaten, the substance of our life consumed by more life?
To die and turn our bodies over to the nourishment of a grander thing?
To flee in terror only to get caught?
To see amid safety and friends that this is so?
2017 Aug
Timid and Truthful
Declarative sentences come in true and false.
Sycamore trees, not so much.
A river, even as it winds back on itself, flows nothing but truth.
The moon, even as it blocks the sun, shines nothing but truth.
2017 Aug
Essential Nature
Kidneys and intestines and lungs and heart,
Liver secreting bile and brain secreting thoughts:
This is called "inside."
Trees and chipmunks, rooms in buildings, people,
The kitchen sink and the Hudson River:
This is called "outside."
Inside and outside, essential nature everywhere,
Nowhere to be found.
2017 Aug
Bedrock Buddha
Signifier and signified
All over the place, standing alone.
My finger points to the moon, yes,
Also, the moon points to my finger.
2017 Sep
Raven Verses I

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