Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas trees for religious harmony

Jogye Order Administrative Leader Jaseung, right rear, and General Secretary of the National Council of Churches in Korea Kim Young-joo, second right rear, look around Jogye Temple with monks and children from the temple’s care facility for disabled children after lighting Christmas trees in front of Iljumun, the One Pillar Gate, on Dec. 20.
This marks the first time that Christmas trees were lit in the chief temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, which symbolizes reconciliation and harmony between Buddhism and Protestant Christianity in South Korea.
(Photo by Shin So-young)

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Kathy's Song

Kathy Daul (1957-2008) at a vigil for her fallen son Andrew, an Iraqi Vet who gave his life for our freedom.

I hear the drizzle of the rain
Like a memory it falls
Soft and warm continuing
Tapping on my roof and walls

And from the shelter of my mind
Through the window of my eyes
I gaze beyond the rain-drenched streets
To England where my heart lies

My mind's distracted and defused
My thoughts are many miles away
They lie with you when you're asleep
And kiss you when you start your day

And this song I was writing is left undone
I don't know why I spend my time
Writing songs I can't believe
With words that tear and strain to rhyme

And so you see I have come to doubt
All that I once held as true
I stand alone without beliefs
The only truth I know is you

And as I watch the drops of rain
Weave their weary paths and die
I know that I am like the rain
There but for the grace of you go I

I used to sing this to Kathy when it was cold and rainy out and we were sitting in her station wagon coming back from lunch.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Israel "IZ" Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwo Somewhere Over the Rainbow

I heard this song on my commute this week to work on NPR and was surprised I had never heard this beautiful version before, so for those not familar with Israel IZ I post this to share a unique discovery. Please enjoy and seek out more from this man with the bless'd voice.

Israel "IZ" Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻ; May 20, 1959 – June 26, 1997) was a Hawaiian musician. He became famous outside Hawaii when his album Facing Future was released in 1993. His medley of "Over the Rainbow" and "What a Wonderful World" was subsequently featured in several films, television programs, and commercials. Through his ukulele playing and incorporation of other genres (such as jazz and reggae), Kamakawiwoʻole remains one of the major influences in Hawaiian music over the last 15 years.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Rumi - Only Breath

Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu,
Buddhist, sufi, or zen. Not any religion
or cultural system. I am not from the East
or the West, not out of the ocean or up
from the ground, not natural or ethereal, not
composed of elements at all. I do not exist,
am not an entity in this world or the next,
did not descend from Adam or Eve or any
origin story. My place is placeless, a trace
of the traceless. Neither body or soul.
I belong to the beloved, have seen the two
worlds as one and that one call to and know,
first, last, outer, inner, only that
breath breathing human being.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Stolen Child (An Linbh goidte)

William Butler Yeats
Poem performed by The Waterboys
WHERE dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats;
There we've hid our faery vats,
Full of berrys
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim gray sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight;
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And anxious in its sleep.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Away with us he's going,
The solemn-eyed:
He'll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breast,
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal chest.
For he comes, the human child,
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than he can understand.

Church Not Made With Hands

Eaglais made Gan Le Lámha

bye bye shadowlands
the term is over
and all the holidays have begun
now she walks on fresh fields
her tracks are on the land
she is everywhere and noplace
when its dark and evening falls
she moves among men
they would seek to have her
as a prize
but she is in the shadows
ocean and the sand
she is everywhere and noplace
her church not made with hands
not contained by man
she dancing high as clouds
faster than the arrow
straight as any crow that flies
across great seas she travels
up through rising lands
she is everywhere and noplace
her church not made with hands
isn't that a pretty sun
setting in a pretty sky?
will we stay and watch it darken
the church not made with hands
not contained by man
that precious place
by man

Saturday, October 16, 2010

for p’arang iii

you and I are
just breath-breathing human beings,
lowering our heads
below the plane
occupied by our feet,
upside down
and topsy-turvy are
the realm of opening and life.
the sacred unfolds
within your shining eyes tonight.
reflection is within
the ticking of the clock on the wall.
is a manifestation of our
ability to just let go,
letting go–
is a demonstration of
our will to be free.
 which has never existed,
loves you–
that I will never know,
within this appearance,
I can only aspire
to touch your heart
and kiss your forehead
and know
we have never

Friday, October 8, 2010

It is with a discerning heart

It is with a discerning heart
And a compassion
That comes from
The depths of my soul,
That I come to you
With my spirit exposed
And my grace extends
From the inner
Workings of your heart

To be present
Is to be alive,
To be absorbed
So completely
In the action
That any idea
Of self and other
Never rose
Into cosmic awareness.

This is you
And this is me
And this is we
For you and I
Are not different.
For you and I
Are never the same.
It is just
That he and she
All that I see.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

perhaps there are moments,

which each of us realize
that our whole life
is hanging in the balance–
of a simple glance–
or a look–
that we have been
patiently waiting for
our entire lives.
it is with this solemn grace
and the virtue of ten thousand distractions
that we can see through
to the core
of all human emotion,
and when we realize
that it is not just for our own
momentary satisfaction
and that an entire cosmos has opened up
that was hidden previously
from our purview.
it is the sanctity of the pure heart
and the vow passed from two
waiting lips–
this life is not mine
I can not do with it
what I want.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

a Sufi student

A green version of http://commons.wikimedia.or...Image via Wikipedia

a Sufi student came to stay a while
the meditation would do him good.
we talked of Buddhism and of Zen,
spoke of Rumi and Kabir.
we talked of the path the Daoist takes
and the one the Moslem’s tread.
with all the stops along the way
this journey seems sometimes long.
he was told of secrets
known only to a Sufi master,
to which I could only respond;
“the only secret is, there is no secret
 and nothing left to find.”
he argued; “only a chosen few,
have the secret truth revealed.”
this idea a misguided interpretation
the Mevlana had also heard that lie,
I handed him a book of Rumi poems
a single tear welled in his eye.
he read that book both day and night,
and talked of nothing else.
all this teaching so wide and clear
but these poems remained another’s words.
the secret hidden from his grasp,
he will never find what he seeks.
desire brought him to stay with me,
that same desire drove him away.
we embraced before his journey south
I was sad to see him go.
the only thing we’ve heard of since;
someone defiled his Quran.

January 8, 1998
La Habra, CA

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Friday, September 17, 2010

winter into spring

A Wild Cherry (Prunus avium) in flower.Image via Wikipedia

grey sky and cold wind.
leaves and branches
dance in the rain.
tall pine trees
wave their furry arms.
this somber mood—
a reflection of wind
rustling through the trees.
red clay tile roof
shiny from the rains.
spring blossoms fall to the ground—
a lone starling chirping
from some hidden nest.
rain drops splash
on the surface of the pool—
while the spring blossoms
float in patterns
directed by the wind.
life follows this cycle of events.
winter becomes spring,
spring becomes summer,
summer into autumn,
to begin the cycle again.
breathing and feeling
the cool wind against my face—
time and place are no longer separate.

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Thursday, September 16, 2010


Cirrus clouds floating over a beach in Puerto ...Image via Wikipedia

the sun reflects beneath
scattered cirrus clouds.
fingers of pink and grey light
radiate like a spoke
from the source.
early mornings are a wonder
before the world has awaken.
quiet and still,
peaceful and alive.
the radiance penetrates the soul
and moves me towards a door.
calm and serene
no movement
besides the breath
within this space
the universe unfolds
its mystery.

January 2, 1998
Haean Sŏnwŏn
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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

wooden idols?

a wooden Buddha sits quietly on the altar
reminding the sangha to be patient and diligent
a wooden Virgin Mary stands behind the pulpit
reminding the parishioners to be compassionate and pure
a wooden Cross graces the wall above the podium
reminding the congregation
of the great sacrifice and suffering.
some would say there is a difference,
that images of people are pagan idols.
some would say they are all only wooden images
and ultimately they are the same.
the same or different, this is the dilemma,
don’t get trapped, your thinking will kill you.
neither of these are correct
pay attention, wake up
Buddha and the Virgin Mary are smiling
the wooden cross has two perpendicular lines.
how may I help you, today?
December 18, 1996
Hae An Soen Won

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Poem for Kathy Daul

poem for K. D.

vast blue cloudless winter sky
empty and void this morning,
true nature revealed.
your azure blue eyes are sometimes like this.
some mornings the fog is very thick and cold.
other mornings the low grey clouds hang dense and dark;
but, the sky is always the same.
just like this true nature is always there,
sometimes manifest—sometimes obscure.
how silly to chase our problems and ideas,
are they not just clouds that have appeared by themselves
and will disappear with no intervention?
how many mornings—forgetting the sky?
how many times—ignoring true nature?
the blue mountains are looming in the distance.
somehow  laughing at our frailty
their message is clear.
hurry up!
but, be gentle along the way.
January 11, 1996
Beach Blvd.—Huntington Beach, CA

Kathy Daul

every shining thing

“inside this box
is a gold chain and pendant
which says Buddha in Chinese,
it is there to remind
you of your true-self
always and everywhere.”
a cool breeze is in the air,
birds begin to fly south.
flowers of spring beginning to recede.
a smile is on my face.
what a miracle—breathing each moment.
38 years have passed before today.
autumn is approaching,
bodies grow old and weary,
but our true self is constant and pure.
the sky is grey in the morning,
crickets chirping every evening.
Zen Master Lin Chi once said;
“gold is a very precious thing,
but if gold dust gets in your eyes
it clouds the vision.”

October 10, 1995
Happy Birthday Kathy

Sunday, August 1, 2010

flight 851

the 737 shakes and rattles
breaking ground at dawn.
morning mist and fog
obscures the sometimes
sharp edge at the horizon.
moments like these
bring me face to face
with my own mortality.
yesterday’s despair and loneliness
give way to joyful anticipation.
the grey earth and blue sky
meet at this fuzzy
pink and red juncture.
leaving dallas behind
the sun rises in the east,
as popping ears
constantly change the pitch
of the droning engines
and the hiss
of the air conditioned wind.
January 20, 1996
Over Central Texas

Sunday, July 18, 2010

subtle form

a subtle form which defies explanation.
there is a place that we each can go,
a shelter beyond the mundane existence
that seems to rule our lives.
it is the existence of eternity,
it is the face of infinity
that we fear.
yet this infinite presence
is with us each moment
and with each breath that we take.
I can see it in the shadows
of the large eucalyptus trees,
and I can hear it in the echo
of the albatross' song,
I can feel it in the warmth of the
mid-day sun against my skin,
it is timeless,
it is breathless,
it is beyond thought
and beyond understanding.
and yet you know
of what I speak
is true
and tangible
in this world of great illusion.
it is the name
of the nameless,
and the face
of the faceless.
and yet our lives
spring forth from it
every second that we breathe.
I can't define it,
or you or me
in the quantum physics
of a universe gone mad,
and yet I am simple
and present
and beyond any concept
that I had a moment ago.
but concepts are many
and our ideas become rampant,
it is in the quiet time of this peace
that overcomes me like a wave,
I don't ask for it,
I only know of it
I can't say it
or know it
or hold it in my hands.
but I know full well
with my entire existence,
that what I speak of exists
in a tangible way.
there is doubt
and there is belief
but what I have is faith
beyond measure.
it is borne on the wings
of a truth built on now.
and in this now
lies the entire cosmos
laid bare for all of us to see.
it is here
and not someplace else
that we come to find ourselves.
and in that instant
that we find it
then we know who we are,
and our loved ones
and our cherished ones
are safe
and protected from harm.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


the earth brings life
and grounds us within
her loving embrace
and bears her fruit
for all to share in abundance.
the wind carries aloft
on the breezes of spring
the seeds of existence
and the birds of the air.
the fire of our passion
and the fire of heat
gives life and expression
to our simple human existence.
the water of this world
is the universal solvent
and washes away both
the soiled and misguided intent.
the elements of life
are actually all one
it is merely our thoughts
that separate them into pieces
that life presented whole.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

world union

we are in the midst
of a world in union
and the separation of thought.
do we see an image,
or do we exist in the moment?
there is no outside
nor is there a tangible inside,
yet we make this
and it has somehow
come to exist
as our world of thoughts.
there is a dance
in which we circle
round and round
till we come back
to the place
where we began.
humanity is the essence
running through all
of our veins,
so why call others by a name?
if we must
use a name,
just call you me;
and know that
I am you.
love is like the
transcendent blue sky,
ideas are merely
clouds forming
and dissipating
in the clear azure sky.
the sky is always present
and never denies
the clouds from forming,
yet when the clouds must leave
the sky is never holds on.
be the sky
and let the misty places pass
of their own volition.
be as the unborn essence
of your original existence
within the timeless grace
of the dance.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


there are moments
when life seems so perfect
and life is grand and wide
and for all of eternity
there is this kiss
on our cheek
that lets us know
that love is the place
of sanctity and grace.
it is within your eyes
that the universe
in its vast transparency
is allowed to yield
its only bless’d treasure.

Friday, June 25, 2010


a finger pointing at the moon.
Kashmiri Poetess Lala who lived in the 14th Century:
about enlightenment and her direction she said;

in this state there is no Shiva,
nor any holy union.
only a somewhat something moving
dreamlike on a fading road.

when asked about sacred practices she said;

there are those sleeping who are awake,
and others awake who are sound asleep.
some of those bathing in the sacred pools
will never get clean.
and there are others
doing household chores
what are free from any action.

Enlightenment absorbs this universe of qualities
when that merging occurs, there is nothing
but God. This is the only doctrine.
there is no word for it, no mind
to understand it with, no categories
of transcendence or non-transcendence,
no vow of silence, no mystical attitude.
there is no Shiva and no Shakti
in enlightenment, and if there is something that remains,
that whatever it is
is the only teaching.

version translations by Coleman Barks

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