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English version by Gabriel Rosenstock
Original Language Japanese



Now that all thoughts have subsided
off I go, deep into the woods,
and pick me
a handful of shepherd's purse.
Just like the stream
meandering through mossy crevices
I, too, hushed
become utterly clear.




-- from The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology), Edited by Ivan M. Granger
Poetry Chaikhana | Ryokan - Now that all thoughts have subsided
Ryokan is one of my favorite people, but it was not his words that grab me so much as his actions.  This Zen Buddhist lived out the Sermon on the Mount!  But now his poems are starting to get to me as well.

I am just now figuring this out: Contemplation is the cessation of thought in the presence of the Mystery.  Thought intrudes on that sense of presence like a dirty joke in church.  Too much of my thought originates in my small self and is about that small self.  It does no good to try to "lift my thoughts higher."  They are still my thoughts and still mostly about me.

When my friend and mentor, Bob W. began to be aware of the onset of  his Alzheimer's, he went joyfully, almost ecstacally into that "darkness" of mind.  I am beyond happy, he said in a moment of clarity.  While those who loved him suffered his loss, he became "lost," i believe . in permanent contemplation of the Divine, unencombered by distractions like thoughts,


Does dementia stop thought?
I really don't want to find out!!
But if it happens
Can i use the experience wisely?

I like my coffee black
with no cream to whiten it
no sweetener
Warm enough to burn a little.
I haven't tried the "new stuff."
I probably won't.

I like my contemplation plain
with no scripture to enlighten it.
no sweetener
Cold enough to hurt a little
I will stick with the "old stuff"
Simple, thoughtless.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
baron_waste
Oct. 25th, 2015 08:17 pm (UTC)


It is only when we silent the blaring sounds of our daily existence that we can finally hear the whispers of truth that life reveals to us, as it stands knocking on the doorsteps of our hearts. -- K.T. Jong


All man's miseries derive from not being able to sit quietly in a room alone. -- Blaise Pascal

bobby1933
Oct. 25th, 2015 10:24 pm (UTC)
Yes, thank you.

In that contemplation/coffee thing, i intended to write:
"My heart likes contemplation plain..."
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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