29 December 2010

A blessing for absence

May you know that absence is full of tender presence
and that nothing is ever lost or forgotten.
May the absences in your life be full of eternal echo
May you sense around you the secret Elsewhere which holds
the presences which have left your life.
May you be generous in your embrace of loss.
May the sore of your grief turn into a well of seamless presence.
May your compassion reach out to the ones we never hear
from and may you have the courage to speak out for the excluded ones.
May you become the gracious and passionate subject of your own life.
May you not disrespect your mystery through brittle words or false belonging.
May you be embraced by God in whom dawn and twilight
are one and may your longing inhabit its deepest dreams
within the shelter of the Great Belonging.

-John O'Donahue, Eternal Echoes
via whiskey river

20 December 2010

office moon rise

enclosed in bricks and mortar
under the yellow electric glow
of our modern office sun
the day slipped away
in a flurry of emails

then in the distance
the moon rose over the horizon
ghostly white
in the fading pink of day

and slowly we all stopped
and came to the window to watch
transfixed by its simple beauty
shaken from our busy stupor
for a moment
the time clock stopped ticking
the keys stopped tapping
and the world was real again

30 November 2010

Faith Part II

"This is my living faith, an active faith, a faith of verbs: to question, explore, experiment, experience, walk, run, dance, play, eat, love, learn, dare, taste, touch, smell, listen, argue, speak, write, read, draw, provoke, emote, scream, sin, repent, cry, kneel, pray, bow, rise, stand, look, laugh, cajole, create, confront, confound, walk back, walk forward, circle, hide, and seek. To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers."

- Terry Tempest Williams via whiskey river

28 November 2010


Time to fall
is time to float
for a lotus blossom.


22 October 2010

"Every door is a portal leading through time as well as space. The same doorway that leads us into and out of a room also leads us into the past of the room and its ceaselessly unfolding future."

- Gregory David Roberts

14 October 2010

"What I do know now, and didn't know then is that, in the long run, motive matters more with good deeds than it does with bad. When all the guilt and shame for the bad we've done have run their course, it's the good we did that can save us. But then, when salvation speaks, the secrets we kept, and motives we concealed, creep from their shadows. They cling to us, those dark motives for our good deeds. Redemption's climb is steepest if the good we did is soiled with secret shame."

--Gregory David Roberts

08 October 2010


I had to walk
a thousand miles
to a hundred places
to realise
every arrival
and departure
are one
and the destination
is the journey

07 October 2010


I would like to go
as the red crocus
a burst of colour
petals caught in the wind
the flaminco dancer's skirt
swirling around her ankles
as she commands the floor
the music ends
they flutter to the ground

06 October 2010

sweet dreams

summer sun sheets
illuminated by lightening flashes
the sound of thunder
and falling rain

03 October 2010


om amitabha hum
it's ok to cry
om amitabha hum

01 October 2010

night sounds

rain patters on the tin roof
thunder rolls over the mountains
a coyote pack sings to the full moon
hundreds of crickets catch the chorus

snug in my blankets
i am alone with the world alive

30 September 2010

red moon rising over the molten ocean
i witness its splendour for only minutes
before the crimson globe is drawn into the clouds
and the sky and sea return to gray

29 September 2010

Blue Jay

In all the years I lived here
I never appreciated the sight of a blue jay
alighting in an apple tree
more than at this moment

25 September 2010

"The world is not respectable; it is mortal, tormented, confused, deluded forever; but it is shot through with beauty, with love, with glints of courage and laugther; and in these, the spirit blooms timidly, and struggles to the light amid the thorns."
- George Santayana via whisky river

24 September 2010

What a mess

What a tangle of passions
of journeying
of discovering
and unmaking
What an interweaving web
of loves
and destinies
in which we find ourselves

23 September 2010

Between us

Heavy in the silence
lingers all that is unsaid

22 September 2010

Pablo's meditation

When you're surfing, you can't think of anything else. Work, bills, dreams, failed plans: they all disappear. When you're in the water, all you can think about is riding the next wave and coming out of the water alive. That's all there is. For a few hours, that's all there is.

21 September 2010


Sunset behind the mountains sets the sky on fire. Rain pulls the clouds down into a smokey haze; burnt orange feathers on jagged peaks. Angry lightening cannibalises the heavens, then hungrily snakes down to the plains.

03 September 2010

A crack in everything

The birds they sang
at the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don't dwell on what
has passed away
or what is yet to be.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

You can add up the parts
but you won't have the sum
You can strike up the march,
there is no drum
Every heart, every heart
to love will come
but like a refugee.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in
That's how the light gets in
That's how the light gets in

Selected lines from Leonard Cohen's song, "Anthem"

31 August 2010

I'll never get it right
I'll never have the answer
I'll never meet their expectations
I'll never be satisfied.

I'm always near the end
death draws ever nearer

Learn to love the question
Live with the restlessness
That's where there is lightness
and Joy

30 August 2010

sunday drive

smell of pine
winding through mountain roads,
strangers wave to say hello

29 August 2010

Take off

Glimpse of Tyne and sea

Hills and bridges

Then you’re lost to me

Swallowed by the clouds

26 August 2010

flying over Iowa

a patchwork of perfect squares
sewn together by white country roads
and windmill ties

22 August 2010

The first morning

Blue sky
and salty breeze
draw me to your shores

Fireball rising
glinting off rushing waves
Wet sand
icy between my toes
Seagulls cry
riding the wind
Church bellls
wake the faithful

I prostrate myself
on stones hewn by time
as the world begins

19 August 2010

My place

My place on this earth
is nowhere extraordinary
not at the front
not in the lead
For thousands of years
Man's story has been played out
all to the same end
so don't look for yours
to be any different
there is no space
for complacency
dig in
be there
I mean
Be There

18 August 2010

It hurts
to be the cause of your tears
I want to escape
into busyness
but force myself to sit
and be with the crashing waves
as the day dies

16 August 2010

Good morning

gold autumn light
Snail curled up asleep under the doorknob

14 August 2010

Death on a sunny morning

by the roadside
the black and white cat
I greeted just yesterday

13 August 2010

red ripe summer cherries
hang like christmas ornaments
from my neighbour's tree

12 August 2010

soldier's tomb
saint's chapel
death lingers


11 August 2010

Greens in tended rows
sit calmly
Above the grey sea
waves crashing

10 August 2010


city lights give the clouds a soft pink underbelly

09 August 2010

Gratitude for small miracles

in my loneliness
the neighbour cat
lets himself in
and curls up on my lap

08 August 2010

would that i could capture the fire of sunset
and light it in your eyes
its flames i would worship
until the passion dies

Night Fog

Invisible to wingless eyes
a seagull's echoing cry

04 March 2010


Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.

~ Naomi Shihab Nye ~
(Words From Under the Words: Selected Poems)

21 February 2010

Quan Shi Yin Litany

(P.T.N. H.J. Kennett, adapted Brazier/Johnson)

Great and kind Quan Shi Yin, give us the grace to know and recognise you, in whatsoever form you may take, on the streets, in the shops, in our work, in our leisure.

Give us the courage to recognise you in pleasure and in pain, in happiness and unhappiness;

Give us the wisdom to recognise you in all your myriad forms, not merely the ones we want to see;

Give us compassion to understand those who are in the grip of delusion, prejudice and bigotry;

Grant them the power to know the spirit of the Dharma, not merely the ability to read rules and scriptures;

Give us the wisdom to know that what the Christian churches teach has been taught by the Buddhas for thousands of years;

Give us the wisdom to take the Sufis by the hand and, in their dancing, to know the joy of meditation;

Give us the understanding that the Jewish festivals are celebrated by Buddhas;

Teach people to know that peace in the world can only be gained if we make peace with one another deep in our hearts;

Teach us to know that we are responsible, every one of us, for the conflicts that tear the world, because of the greed and conflict in our own hearts;

Teach us to face ourselves as we really are by holding up your mirror, in all your manifestations before us;

Teach us that all beings, of whatever colour, religion, or species they may be, are equally loved by all the Buddhas;

Teach us to be grateful to inanimate objects for making themselves available for our use;

Teach us that we have not the right to expect trees and plants to give themselves to us without our expressing our gratitude;

Give us the compassion to improve the lot of animals and to desist from their exploitation;

Teach parents that their children have the right to respect, attention, love and acknowledgement of their opinions;

Teach children that their parents’ words should be listened to and seriously considered;

Appear on the television screens and in the theatres and show us the dangers of drug addiction and the evils of crime that we may be saved therefrom;

Help us to know that all living things have the same basic fears, hopes loves, longings, hunger and thirst;

That they only pretend not to have them for fear of ostracism by society;

Teach us not to be made cowards by circumstances and the truth;

Teach us that an angry person is a frightened person. Help us to be friends to the lonely;

Give us the sight of your thousand eyes to see where help is needed and give us the strength of your thousand arms to give that help;

Teach us not to look at others’ faults but to see our own;

Teach all Buddhists that it is better to live in harmony with each other than to argue and fight over doctrine and dogma;

Teach those who slander, curse and revile others that the only person who gets hurt thereby is themselves for all curses must, by the law of karma, return upon the heads of those who utter them;

Teach those who are slandered to have compassion for those who are wretched and misguided who utter such curses;

Teach us that, in the whole universe, the only real enemies are fear and superstition;

Grant to those who seek to control others the courage to face themselves and their desire for power;

Give us the courage to look into the great mirror that all living things and inanimate objects hold up before us and see ourselves as we truly are;

Grant us the intelligence to do something about the reflection;

Teach us that the Buddhas and Ancestors undergo no conceivable harm by our living our lives naturally;

Teach us to know that an enlightened person is a whole person, unfettered by the opinions of others;

Teach us to love and enjoy the blue sky, the sun, the rain, the snow and the storms that nature sends; give us the wisdom to use the opportunity for perpetual training that they bring;

Grant us that, in the winter of our lives, we may be able to look back down the years without too much regret;

Help us to face that which is called death truly, if one can see gods and angels at the moment of death and feel no elation; if one can be set upon by devils and demons and feel no fear, but meet with the infinite light in faith and ease, one knows true freedom.

By such means as these do we live in your grace eternal.

Namo Quan Shi Yin Bosat

12 February 2010

Every night, when I go to sleep, I die.
Every morning, when I wake up, I am reborn.

-- Mohandas Gandhi

11 February 2010


Among all living things
mountains and rivers,
grasses and trees,
even the sounds of blowing winds
and rising waves -
there is nothing
that is not the nembutsu

-- Ippen

07 January 2010

Ready to go

Coming and going
never staying

fully present
never anxious to go
never clinging to the moment
just there

feet carrying me on

moments of stillness between

Always alone
always together
there is no separation
all is one

It's time
it's always time


Remember always that you are just a visitor here, a traveller passing through
your stay is but short and the moment of your departure unknown

None can live without toil, and a craft that provides your needs is a blessing indeed;
But if you toil without rest, fatigue and weariness will overtake you,
and you will be denied the joy that comes at labour's end

Speak quietly and kindly and be not forward with either opinions or advice;
If you talk much, this will make you deaf to what others say,
You should know that there are few so wise that they cannot learn from others

Be near when help is needed, but far when thanks and praise are being offered

Take small account of might, weath and fame, for they soon pass and are forgotten
Instead, nurture love within you and strive to be a friend to all.
Truly, compassion is a balm for many wounds.

Treasure silence when you find it, and, while being mindful of your duties,
set time aside to be alone with yourself.
Cast off pretense and self deception and see yourself as you really are.

Despite all appearances, no one is really evil; they are led astray by ignorance.
If you ponder this truth always you will offer more light,
rather than blame and condemnation.

You, no less than all beings, have Buddha Nature within.
Your essential Mind is pure
Therefore, when defilements cause you to stumble and fall,
let not remorse nor dark foreboding cast you down.
Be of good cheer and with this understanding, summon strength and walk on.

Faith is like a lamp and wisdom makes the flame burn bright
Carry this lamp always and in good time the darkeness will yield
and you will abide in the Light.

- Shravasti Dhammika