All posts tagged: poetry

Follow

By Katharine Kaufman // Be soft in your practice. Think of the method as a fine silvery stream, not a raging waterfall. Follow the stream, have faith in its course. It will go it’s own way, meandering here, trickling there. It will find the grooves, the cracks, the crevices. Just follow it. Never let it out of your sight. It will take you. ~Sheng-yen In January 1994 I was lay ordained in the Soto Zen lineage. On my way to Hokoji Zendo I gave Fran Lewis a ride. Fran is an early student of Chogyam Trungpa and best friend of Kobun Chino, Roshi. Fran was the first outwardly outrageous person I met on this Dharma path, long white hair in two thick braids, big glasses, layered and colorful clothes. She says what ever she wants, tells wild funny stories about the 60’s, and cuts through pretention like a Samurai. During the seven-hour drive I have a lot of questions about what I’m in for. “Don’t doubt your Guru!” Fran repeats. In Arroyo Secco Kobun serves …

Spread-your-wings, oh beautiful Jaybird!

Photo: © 2016 Richard A. Swaback   Spread-your-wings, oh beautiful Jaybird!           Placing seed outside my window        Bringing close to view      Amazing birds!    Winter at SMC.   Nuthatches, Juncos, Mountain Chickadees  Magpies, Woodpeckers, to name a few. Arrive before daybreak Stellar’s Jays. Skittish merest reflection in my window glass  and    Off,       off          with rounded wing,              seeking shelter                 in  Ponderosa branches. — Richard Swaback . . About the Author .  Naturalist, photographer, creative person, Richard “Dickie” Swaback, long time resident at Shambhala Mountain Center, is fascinated by the inhabitants of the natural world, large and small, whether it be microorganisms, plants, insects, mammals, birds or amphibians that reside at SMC. “Dickie’s” curiosity knows no bounds as he explores the dynamic interrelations of life at SMC . He recently published a 30-page booklet “Biodiversity at Shambhala Mountain Center”, a brief photo essay of some of the life …

Offering

Hello world, I wrote this poem last fall as a rumination on death and life, impermanence and transition. Now as I prepare to leave SMC for new journeys, it seems fitting to share.   gathering up the courage to say goodbye to good friends gathering up the pink in the clouds as it swells into peach and then dusty blue gathering up the things i need for today in my old pack. pulling together the sound the wind makes through tall dry grasses golden ice of late october the dreams of morning hearing scratching in the wall or floor gathering up the swollen parts of my heart for you to hold the honey and peanut butter, avocados and incense smoke to coax you, tether you back into this world for a moment stuck on cobwebs in the rafters for just a sound, a smell of this Earth i gather up deer bones from the mountainside and trees and the dry, cold dirt i lay them next to mine, bound together, hinged to hold us for as long …

Floral Notes and Bardo: To the Wheel

At a picnic table the other night, hearing about how some students of Trungpa gave up on their art because of internal conflict between devotion and self-expression. And this conflict lives on in mentor(s) of mine. Something about how we may be reifying ego, solidifying samsara, by expressing mind… if we are not a buddha. I was rolling with rebellion, and feeling so lonely, after that conversation. At home, I flipped open to a talk Ginsberg gave at the first Naropa Institute summer: “We’re all enlightened. Fuck that bullshit enlightenment. There is no enlightenment. If we’re going to start waiting to be enlightened to write poetry…” I felt at ease because Uncle Allen was devoted to the whole thing, all of it: guru and poesy alike. I feel his tender hand on my shoulder. I’m bewildered in our collective gaze. I’m dropping consonants out of nowhere into blue soup — home to birds. I know dew drops on: tip of tongue, to be given atop iris petals to friendly faeries, family. And to tell of …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Met My Chest Like a Wedge

Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a regular feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. Stark solidity, tender impermanence — an orange flower.  The perception met my chest like a wedge — heart so sore and radiant. Last night I dreamt of a hologram Ginsberg as a teacher in a classroom.  His words, display, energy, was so inspiring and brilliant — in ways that I often wish for in dharma teachers. I said to someone near me that I’d do anything to get close to a teacher like that. I wish to attend  JKS when I leave SMC.  This is the second truly strong dream that has pointed in that direction so clearly. Heather and I spent the weekend down in Boulder — with our friends Kitty, Matty, and baby Benny; and the Sheffield crew, who I used to travel to the Northeast to see, but now most of us live here in Colorado. Yesterday …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Sand, Soda Ash, and Limestone

Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a regular feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. I’m drinking water from a glass–which is not sand, soda ash, and limestone I’m questioning its clarity in hopes that my own bones and blemishes may be revealed to be clear Up late studying the dharma, dialoging with Heather, and celebrating Goundhog Day. Therefore, woke up late in the morning — did my things swiftly — write, shit, shower, vows, Qigong, kiss and sing to Heather.  Then shoveled granola, grapefruit and tea into my face and raced down the stairs so as not to miss opening gong. Sitting on the cushion, my stomach dealing with all of the stuff I bombed it with, I felt sad and confused — how to conduct a life that is smooth, not self-centered, productive… productive? Joy: How? That’s the question. Peace: How? Bliss: How? — February 3, 2015 ~~~ Travis Newbill is a …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Come with Me — Haiku and Katharine

Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a regular feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. Deep tissue, heavy with ocean — blink and it’s mist. I had accumulated some savings, stability, now all gone to help kin. Yesterday at my desk, and Scott knocked on the door.  I opened and he took me by the arm: “Come with me.” I went with him, wearing the slippers that I wear inside the office. Katharine Kaufman — Zen teacher, poet, spontaneous movement angel, coolest person — had ordered him to do so, saying “Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer.” So I spent the morning with her studying and practicing haiku. I wrote: Wind is cold I am sitting in the shade I’m going indoors and then… The door is ajar The floor is cool People made these things Someone else wrote: Wind outside Fart inside Such suffering I said “That was the best haiku I …

Sara Avant Stover: Springtime Detox & Renewal Advice for Women

Seeing the One World with Two Eyes

By Elias Amidon Even though we humans live in nonduality, we experience the world with the two eyes of duality. This is because we have the ability to conceptualize. Even to say the word “nonduality” is to conceive dualistically. When we say “nonduality” our minds are already at work, setting up nonduality here and duality over there. It’s helpful to remember that perceiving dualistically is not a fault — it’s the way we’ve been made. If I say the word “I” it means I have conceived of myself as a subject, and this is natural enough, isn’t it? “I” wake up in the morning, “I” brush my teeth, “I” love you, and so on. It is a convenient way to think, even if it is not exactly how things work. Phenomena arise not as subjects and objects, but as a whole, all at once. Nevertheless it’s not easy for us to see the wholeness of things because we see — for good reasons — with the two eyes of duality. Making distinctions between “this” and “that” makes it possible to navigate …

HOW TO BEGIN: Some notes upon arrival

By Bhanu Kapil Some years ago, in India, I was walking down an ordinary residential street behind my mother’s house – hard-baked pink dust, wilted jasmine flowers underfoot, shimmering blue oblongs (the Himalayas) in the distance. I was very far from home, from Colorado (now my home) and from everything that might function as a kind of psychic or practical ground. Perhaps you have walked down a street like this. Perhaps you have experienced the distance as a quality in your own body. On that day, there was too much space, too many contrasts between the different kinds of colors that the world is composed of in any instant: the pale silver of the sky punctuated by the emerald and scarlet flare of a child’s kite above me dipping and tucking on a roof. Perhaps I am simply describing a kind of homesickness in reverse; the way an immigrant might experience the strangeness of not being “at home” at the instant that they find themselves in the place that they are “from.” Perhaps this happens …

Ancient Wisdom for the Modern Couple

by Keith Kachtick In Letters to a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke makes clear that a loving, romantic relationship is the practice for which all other mindfulness practices are the groundwork. “Love is high inducement for the individual to ripen, to become world for himself for another’s sake.” The ancient Tibetan tantric practice of Yab-Yum recognizes that romantic coupling is as an opportunity for profound spiritual awakening, a practice that invites us—deeply challenges us—to love our way to enlightenment. Traditionally, in Buddhist thangkas and sculptures depicting Yab-Yum, the confluence of “masculine” compassion and “feminine” wisdom is presented metaphorically in the sexual union of a male deity, seated in Padmasana (lotus pose), with his female consort facing him on his lap. The symbolism is two-fold: Yab-Yum (literally “father-mother” in Tibetan) implies a mystical union within our own individual nature—the two Dharma wings that lift each of us to buddhahood; united, the two awakened beings (regardless of gender) then give birth to a romantic communion embodying the blissful, non-dual state of enlightenment. Much easier said than done, …