Saturday, April 25, 2015

Chùa Thiên Ân April 25, 2015

high mountain desert zen center
morning breaks at five am,
a quick cup of coffee
then off for morning rituals.
seated in the zendo
as the howling northwest wind
slides through
partially open windows,
howling and hissing
as it dances about
chilling my skin.
sudden gusts
shake at the trees
as they rhythmically
sway in the blustery chill,
while the temple chimes
ring out to awaken all beings.
constant cadence
from the time keepers clock
as morning light
creeps in through
tiny windows.
a single moth
lights on the altar
playing in the
morning candle’s light.
in the midst of
the chaos
is a stillness
of unequalled
ring the bell
three times,
strike the chugpi
out side
the traffic noise
of a waking
desert world.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Carrying a Plank on our Shoulders

when we take off 
the blinders of thought,
what is left 
is just the truth.
old Sakyamuni
saw through it first,
Bodhidharma said it well,
while passing through the gate,
let go of thoughts and ideas,
don't live your life
in a book of concepts.
Dahui burned the books
he wanted to take back
his gift of questioning,
but the cat was loose
and his efforts in vain,
what is this-
this very moment.
how can I assist
in the integration
of no thing?
with a smile
a hug
and support
beyond measure.
to nurture
to love 
in the balance 
of naught.
seeing the truth
before thought or concept,
by natural process.......
~ wonji

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

in the silence and darkness of predawn

in the silence 
and darkness predawn—
my room illuminated only
by blue light emitting diode’s
and the glow of a computer screen.
all seems to move slowly,
for there becomes purpose 
in every creak
and every flutter of 
emanated sound.
sanctity always fills the air—
and at times like this
the silence is illuminated—
a place of sacred beauty.
the monitor reports—
nineteen degrees outside,
and I am grateful
for the roof, 
the walls and the technology
which cradle the inhabitants
of Dharmakaya Buddhist Abbey 
in warmth and relative safety.
every movement 
results in subtle sound—
so often missed
by a busy mind.
we live a miracle—
we don’t know why.
the picture on the wall
simply says, exhale!
yes, of course,
this is all 
by natural process.
thus, I pay homage
to every teacher 
and monk,
who has trodden
this dusty path
for the last
two thousand 
seven hundred years.
for were I not
to have heard 
the teaching,
I would surely
be a poor wretch
right now
scratching out an existence.
I have become 
a wretch
who is content
with each moment
of simplicity 
and brilliant

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

an early morning poem

waking at five am,
darkness still resounds-
only the light 
of the tablet
fills the room.
silence pervades
this sleepy community,
even the birds
have yet to awake.
serenity exists
in every moment,
its just that
in the midst 
of activity
we sometimes 
autumn is a time
of transition,
the leaves lose their color
much like my grey beard
was once brown.
by natural process
the stream of moments
appear-then another moment
appears before the last
has gone. 
don't occupy your life
with past, present or future,
immerse this presence
in the unfolding experience
like the birds take to the air.
don't try to figure it out,
just enjoy this journey
already in progress,
it's not too late
to yield to your life.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

what do we know

what do we know?
and why do we struggle so?
there is harmony in our breath
so what folly becomes reality?
we buy an idea
that comes from where?
we scream at the top of our lungs
that this is the path
is the sacred way,
and that all others 
are fallen spirits
who have lost their way.
yet this distraction
from the mirror
of our own humanity,
this projection
causes us to lose
our true selves.
spiritual empowerment
comes from attaining
who and what we are,
comes from a center
of self effacing brilliance.
those who seek 
the path outside
are merely
on the path
to the slaughterhouse,
wildly baying
at the sun.
when the focus
is turned within
no one can say
what delights
and joys
will appear.

wonji dharma

the question

asked by a student today,
what constitutes Zen Poetry,
don’t know is all there is
or has ever been
since the beginning of time.
we struggle with life,
yet life unfolds by itself,
we want
we desire
we attempt to direct
and always fail.
life is our teacher
and this path is clear
and bright
in front of us.
it is only when we do not
choose to listen
to the rhythms
of the world
that we are lost
in time and space.
yet who made time
and who made space,
as the simplicity
of green tea
steaming in a pot
refreshing and wondrous
appears with its flavor and savor
when we just let go
who is it that tastes
or smells
ah the essence appears
and no one is any wiser.

Wonji Dharma

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

on the passing of a Sangha Members Mother

coming appears – like this!
going appears – like this!
coming and going
are the way of the world.
these words on the page – just like this!