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.
instead
I have become 
a wretch
who is content
with each moment
of simplicity 
and brilliant
wonder.

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 
forget.
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
outward–
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
sheep
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!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

An Anthology of All Along the Watch Tower with a tribute to Richie Havens

My Dharma Brother Gregory Cundiff inspired me to post this on my blog. Greg posted a video of Richie Havens playing "All Along the Watch Tower," and I just heard this news. I am not sure that Greg had heard this news yet or not, I find it poignant that Richie was highlighted in this way. This is on of the greatest covered songs in all of history with such a splendid diversity of interpretations.

 Folk singer and guitarist Richie Havens, who opened the 1969 Woodstock music festival with a legendary and lengthy set that helped make him famous, died Monday at age 72. His family says Havens died of a heart attack, and that a public memorial will be announced later. A statement on his official website posted before Havens' death says that the singer never fully recovered from kidney surgery he underwent several years ago. His career spans decades, but he may be most famous for his role as the first performer at Woodstock. He launched the three-day festival with more than two hours of music, even running out of songs and thus improvising the song "Freedom" based on the old spiritual "Motherless Child." 


 Richie Havens - "All Along The Watchtower" - Mountain Jam V - 5/31/09 - May he rest in peace.
 The original version of "All Along the Watch Tower." by Bob Dylan.


Bob Dylan and the "Rolling Thunder Review Concert" version.


 
The Jimi Hendrix Experience - All Along The Watchtower

 
The Original Version of "All Along the Watch Tower" by Dave Mason

 
Dave Matthews Band - All Along The Watchtower (Woodstock 99)

 
Eddie Vedder - All Along the Watchtower (Water on the Road DVD)


U2 - All along the watchtower HQ (live '88)


Bruce Springsteen & Neil Young - All Along The Watchtower


Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen -All Along The Watchtower-Forever Young


Grateful Dead - All Along The Watchtower - 9/30/89

Eric Clapton & Lenny Kravitz - All Along The Watchtower


XTC-All along the watchtower


Jeff Healey Band - All Along The Watchtower


Barbara Keith - "All Along The Watchtower", from her rare 1972 LP


Taj Mahal "All Along The Watchtower"


BRYAN FERRY All Along the Watchtower



Michael Hedges - All Along the Watchtower Somerville Reloaded


Cover of the Dylan song. 11/12/97 concert performance at the Somerville Theater, Somerville, MA, less than a month before he died. Tuning D2A2E3E3A3A3.

Monday, December 17, 2012



Śakyamuni Buddha once said, 
this world is an ocean of suffering.
Seung Sahn once said,
so much suffering inside of Nirvana Castles.
what is this world in which we live,
and what do we manifest each day.
there is greed,
this is for sure.
there is hate,
that is for sure.
there is divisiveness and vitriol,
at every juncture of our experience.
the question it seems is what do we do with
all the hate and negativity that comes our way.
don’t react,
that would be losing your heart of love.
do not harden your heart
because you see no answers.
for you,
yes you,
are the answer.
open your heart and engage 
this life of hate and negativity
and become a beacon of light
for your community.
it is painful and not pleasant 
to do this,
but if you allow your heart 
to completely break,
you will find your true-self
shining back at you in the marketplace.
none of us has the power
to change the world,
yet we all have the ability
to change ourselves.
once we do can do this,
we begin to realize
this is not a global problem,
it is right here
in our own back yards.
so, where do we begin you ask.
be kind,
do no harm,
be respectful
and know that 
these simple acts
will change the world.

Wonji Dharma