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