Meetingbrook Dogen & Francis Hermitage Update
Theme: Accomplishing Peace
November is emptying. The leaves of two prior months' turning have fallen. Rain and snow begin to saturate earth again.
We know this without going outdoors. The basement is under 13 inches of water today. Sump pump from last winter is ground down and muttering but not working. I sit and stare from broken wooden steps at floating debris. Saskia comes home from Rankinís with new pump. Water flows over rims of green boots and freezes my feet while I twist hose and submerge plastic pail riven with holes containing new Flotec.
Autumn is end-season. Piece by piece earth in New England reclaims what it gave. Nothingness of first season, winter.† Seed and sprig of spring. Summerís resplendent glorious fullness. Now autumn receives back emptiness, especially November.
Hosmer Pond can be seen through bare branches. So too the neighborís house. The chapel/zendo is prominent stark. It stands four square behind Loon IV and dinghy Immer Call back from salt-water heel and bounce to mountain stillness.
Elections are over. We will most likely enter another war. This one with Iraq. The war on drugs against American ghetto poor and anti-drug fumigations in Colombia continues. The war on terrorism home and abroad continues. The war on poverty was lost without a truce. The war against the middle class and lower class by the corporate class and wealthy class is raging in a seemly quiet. Whenever the administration in Washington wishes its way on any contemporary issue they simply call their opponents unpatriotic and liberal rhetorical sympathizers with the enemy. So many enemies, so little room for dissent, so complex a metaphor -- that of war.
It is the empty time between secular celebrations. Stores shelve their Halloween costumes and ready for pre-Christmas merchandise sales. Thanksgiving will show up as time to remember we ought to be grateful for something to do with fruitful fields, new occupancy, freedom of expression, and a sense we are blessed. It is a regional holiday, decidedly American.
It is an empty time between religious celebrations. Ramadan nears end, Christ prays an Advent of new consciousness, Buddha pauses before enlightenment the same day Mary readies to be conceived with no barrier to God, and Chanukah menorahs prepare to extend a hedge hope against lowering candles.
Darkness tiptoes across the middle of this hunterís month. We, like frightened deer in wooded glen, listen for breaking twig and bolting metal in pre-dawn stillness. Death loads, takes sighting, and pauses. Weíre unsure the light to come is flash of ordinance signaling our end, or nova spirit of life burning through our ignorance with news of liberation for human consciousness.
It is a curious proposition that the Fatherís accomplishment is emptying out. Emptying out, not noticing a problem as it occurs, not knowing that it is happening as it is happening.
Thereís no joy in war. It is November. We are emptying. A nova nada, a new nothingness, perhaps, will release us within. We must find out who we are. We have to come to see who we are in each otherís lives. There is no opposite to war. There is only war, and those who live through war with peace in sacred emptiness. God alone knows how this is accomplished.
May each be accomplished,
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October 2002 Update
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