This morning

This morning, as I was making the bed and as my head remained filled with  queries —those very queries I had promised myself to leave aside— a bird chirped on the high branch of the tree outside the window.

He seems to be telling me:

”Stop thinking. Come back to earth. Life is here. Beauty is here. They are in the quotidian, in the joy of this Spring morning and of my song, in the gestures you make as you flatten the sheets. So come back to earth and you shall find tranquility.”

Inspiration: just as I heard the bird, and a beautiful Spring morning here in Mexico. 

 

The tree

The tree spreads its roots. The tree opens its branches to the sky and offers them for little birds to nest. It flowers with full splendor, and gives fruits and shade. The tree also brings rain.

The tree is potential displayed unabashed.

The tree is divine for its very existence, humble for its splendor, and generous for its nature.

The tree is not alone. All elements of nature display their beauty and give without limits. The moon shines and the sun warms. The night sky and the clouds are there for all to admire. Immense galaxies churn across the limitless universe. No tinkering is needed.

Mankind may have been thus once. Today, he is a being perpetually busy, disconnected from the cycle of day and night and seasons. Mankind is increasingly immersed in unhealthy dynamics of needing objects that add nothing to his being nor give to others. But for a few exceptions, he rarely looks up at the sky nor takes the time to remain in harmony with nature. A stunning sunset has become an exception; and to see beauty, he has to stand in line at a museum. Charity and compassion have become emotions displayed in full view, rather than natural and discreet inclines of his very existence. Anything that cannot be rationalized or objectified is rejected, even love, even grace.

The tree still stands effortlessly giving beauty without a spec of pride, but rather with infinite and divine humility. Mankind could learn a thing or two from the tree.

Kenza.

Inspirations: incomprehension of this busy and noisy world; love of trees; and the divine, the Tao. 

Zen story – Su Dongpo and Master Fo-yin

My son turns 10 years old today, and I told him the following story that made him laugh and think. I hope you do to.

Feeling particularly inspired that morning, Su Dongpo wrote the following brief poem and sent it to his teacher, Zen Master Fo-yin, who lived just across the Yangtze river.

“I bow to the god among gods;
his hair-light illuminates the world.
Unmoved when the eight winds blow,
upright I sit in a purple-gold lotus.”

After receiving the poem, Master Fo-yin replied with two words:

“Fart! Fart!”

When Su Dongpo received the Master’s reply, he became furious and without further ado, jumped on a boat, crossed the Yangtze river and barged into Master Fo-yin’s house saying:

“How could you possibly send someone a note with these two words? This is slanderous!”

“Slanderous?” replied Master Fo-yin. “Who was I slandering? You said you were unmoved by the eight winds when they blew. But look at you now! Just two farts blew you across the Yangtze river!”

Recognizing his error and realizing he boasted about a spiritual progress he had not yet achieved, Su Dongpo apologized to the Master for his outburst and promised to strive to always act with full humility.

Notes:
– The eight winds are praise, ridicule, misery, happiness, honor, disgrace, gain and loss — all external elements affecting our internal quietude if taken at heart and without wisdom.
– Su Tung-p’o or Su Dongpo (1037-1101) was a poet during the Song Dynasty. He is better known as Su Shi (his art name).
– Master Fo-yin (1011-1086) was a Great Master of the Zen tradition. He was known for his strict discipline and wonderful sense of humor, as is the case with many Zen masters and others who have reached such serenity, that joy springs naturally and in its many forms.
– Here, I have most humbly put into my own words a story I once read written by Zen Master Hsuan Hua.

Le cœur est une vaste maison

Le cœur est une vaste maison avec de larges fenêtres qui restent grandes ouvertes en toutes saisons.

Les êtres qui croisent notre temps y viennent et s’y reposent au milieu de vieilles choses à l’ombre du vent.

Et ceux qui nous ont aimés portent une traîne ondulante et frêle comme un pétale de cerisier.

En entrant, ils posent sur nos têtes une couronne d’amour, une couronne si légère qu’avec délice, elle devient lumière et illumine cette vaste maison aux vastes fenêtres.

Kenza.

Un poème que j’ai écrit il y a quelques années et que j’ai eu envie de publier aujourd’hui, comme ode à l’amitié sincère.

La vieille dame de la petite épicerie

Courbée comme une équerre, celle qui ne rentrait pas dans la trousse de l’école primaire.
Je l’aide à mettre son panier rose sur le comptoir de la caisse.
Un choux, quelques tomates, un bouquet de coriandre fraîche et un litre de lait.
Elle me sourit d’un sourire de violette qui se fane en gardant sa couleur.
Elle part et laisse derrière elle une senteur de linge séché au soleil.

Kenza.