Archive for the Observations of a Recovering Buddhist Category

I Can See Your House from Here (Haiku)

Posted in Crazy Zen Wisdom, Observations of a Recovering Buddhist, Poetry, That was Zen, and this is Tao, The Rain Dance on May 27, 2017 by dreamlanddancing

Time and Time again,

those who sought in vain

to capture my attention

were those who tried to

talk me down from off

the ledge in my hour of need.

xoxox

It never worked.

It never will.

Understanding not

what it is that brings me here

to this lofty perch.

xoxox

Observing what goes

unexamined by

those all too preoccupied

by thoughts beyond their control

within lives run by

thinking constantly.

Minds chattering so loudly

they cannot hear their feelings

even if their souls should speak,

I can see your house from here.

xoxox

Out on this ledge

thin as Here and Now

Music is so very loud

you can’t hear your thinking mind;

Feeling is all you can do.

xoxox

I did not come here to jump

I am here to dance

out on this high edge.

Do not try to talk me down

from off of my ledge.

Come up and join me

in my special place

where my Music never ends.

xoxox

We can dance here day and night

naked jaybirds if we please

keeping us warm in Winter,

drying us after Spring rains,

tans celebrate Summer sun,

we can dance until the Fall.

xoxox

Namasté

नमस्ते

Chazz Vincent

05/27/2017

The Ubiquitous Mr. Wu

Posted in Buddhism, Crazy Zen Wisdom, Observations of a Recovering Buddhist, That was Zen, and this is Tao on May 13, 2017 by dreamlanddancing

 

 

wu-wei

I originally posted this almost two years ago; I was reminded of it just now, and thought I would share it.

As a surname, he appears in numerous references to fictional and non-fictional characters ranging from the Chinaman in the TV series “Deadwood”, to the songs of George Formby, or even “Dr. Wu” by Steely Dan.

It is a very common name in China, as well as an informal category for a form of Chinese spoken in the Wu Provence of China.

Depending upon the dialect, the Chinese word for “No” can be pronounced “Wú”, or “Bú”. In Japanese or Korean, it is translated as “Mu”.

“Mu” is also a key element in Zen Buddhism.

The Buddha stated that “All things have Buddha-nature” despite the fact that he also allegedly stated immediately after his own birth that “…from the heavens above to the earth below, only I am holy.”

! is also the enigmatic emphatically negative response to the question in Zhaozhou’s answer (he is called Jo-Ju in Korean) in the Zen Koan that asks whether or not the dog has Buddha-Nature. It is often listed as the first of the Ten Gates.

Mu is also sometimes translated as “Pure human awareness, prior to experience or knowledge”.

In the Jogye practice of Korean Zen Buddhism as exemplified by the teachings of Seung-San Soen-Sa, this refers to what one knows intrinsically “in a place before words or thoughts”, sometimes expressed as “don’t-know-mind” or “you already know”, or even “if you open your mouth to speak, already you are wrong.”

It also may be intended to imply that the question is improper and must be unasked because yes is just as wrong as no or even no response at all.

Robert Persig, the author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance equates this to a “Mu” (High-Resistance) state by identifying that although it is frequently asserted that binary computers are controlled by either a “One” or a “Zero” value, if the power is shut down there is neither “One” or “Zero”.

Yet in contemplating these interpretations of Zhao-zhou/Chao-chou/ or Jo-Ju’s response I could not help noticing how the emphatic pronunciation is also a phonetic pun that mimics that sound of the barking of a dog, thereby calling attention to our attachment to words.

“Wu!”

This makes perfect sense…in fact, I have never heard a dog issue either a “Bow!” or a “Wow!”

“Wu!”

I do understand the value of the contemplation of this enigmatic and paradoxical Koan for its own sake. For many years, I had only heard or read the English translation of “No!” and it encouraged the maintenance of the “ever-questioning mind” that is a fundamental cornerstone of Zen from which many other understandings were to come.

Mu is important to understand that any and all thoughts or uses of reason and words are to be cut off and discarded when the conditions of the question do not match the reality.

For some reason, when I read Persig’s book, his explanation of “mu” did not stick, and was completely forgotten for more than thirty years.

Obviously, that might have helped me many years ago…but perhaps not….

Easy answers may lead to facile understandings of more complex questions.

“Wu Wei” is a term for without action or even “Wei wu wei” meaning action without action or effortless action as in the Tao of T’ai chi ch’uan.

In similar fashion, at the risk of being a “spoiler” I would also like to propose the following solutions to several other enigmatic questions, such as:

If all things return to the One, to where does the One return?

ZERO. As simplistic as this may seem, it is nonetheless true.

In Buddhism, this is supported by the concept of Impermanence.

It is a fundamental scientific concept, especially in regard to quantum mechanics.

“First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain then there is…”

You are a Zen Master in a monastery, and a very large, intimidating man comes into the temple, who lights a cigarette, whereupon he blows smoke into the face of the statue of the Buddha, and drops the ashes onto the statue as well.

He believes that Form is Emptiness, Emptiness is Form.

All things have Buddha-nature…he is the Buddha, the Buddha is him. No matter where he drops the ashes, the Buddha is everywhere. He is stuck and thinks that there is nothing else beyond his belief. Ashes are Buddha, Buddha is ashes

It is a given that “If you open your mouth to speak, already you are wrong” because all words have opposites and create disagreement.

If you try to teach his error with words, he will only hit you.

What can you do to teach him?

This Koan was popularized by Seung-San Soen-Sa, a patriarch of the Jogye Order of the Kwan Um School of Korean Zen, presented to him by Mang-Gong, his teacher.

In all my research of this Koan, it is to date, the only one that was never explained in print, and it seemed that no answer was to be found anywhere, despite the fact that I have struggled with this question for more than twenty years.

This question has to do with what is called “Dharma Action” such as biting an apple, ringing a bell, or drinking tea, because in the final stage of Zen, “everything is just like this…just this, only this…in a place before words or thoughts…”.

All is an illusion, a dream of dreaming. There is only impermanence. Even the comings and goings are an illusion.

Form is Form, Emptiness is Emptiness.

Form is Emptiness, Emptiness is Form.

No Form, no Emptiness…only this…Nirvana.

Magic, Madness and Absolute Freedom; Fish fly in a fiery sky and birds swim in a bottomless sea of all the tears of all the Buddhas, past and present. A stone girl plays a flute with no holes as lions dance with lambs to a song with no words or notes.

Form is Form, Emptiness is Emptiness…everything is just like this. We have found our way back to a home that was already ours before our parents were born. We now recognize our one true face. We are like a mirror.

For several years, I believed that the answer was “Nothing” because all words create disagreement, and that perhaps the lack of reaction (Wu-wei) would eventually cause the man with the cigarette to realize his error, because for one thing, the statue of the Buddha is not the Buddha.

How many people does it take to achieve world peace?

One. (If that answer isn’t obvious, then think about it until it is…)

I figured it was best not to argue, but I was still attached to words and thoughts.

In fact however, I just had not yet come to realize the Dharma action that would cause him to realize that, like the Uroborus, all Zen teaching leads back to itself; “Form is Form, Emptiness is Emptiness…everything is Just Like This.”

Sooooo…What do you do?

Smile. Pick up the Ashes, and with great loving-kindness, blow them into his face.

Buddha is Buddha. Ashes are Ashes. (He can taste the difference.)

A quarter is still twenty-five cents.

“The mouse eats cat-food, but the cat-bowl is broken.”

As the tides come and go, fish swim in and out of the river as it flows to and from the sea.

Can you hear me Dr. Wu?

Namasté

नमस्ते

Chazz Vincent

08/01/2015

If All is One…

Posted in Crazy Zen Wisdom, Observations of a Recovering Buddhist, Zen on April 2, 2017 by dreamlanddancing

When you make differences

Between Good and Evil,

Pure and impure,

Sacred and Profane,

You fill the world

with self-righteousness

and give energy

to the enemies you create

in your dirty world.

Namaste

नमस्ते

Chazz Vincent

04/03/2017

 

Sayonara Tsukimono Suji No Kimi…. さようなら私の最愛の白い魔女 (or 780 hugs and kisses)

Posted in Crazy Zen Wisdom, Greatest Sorrow, Observations of a Recovering Buddhist, Poetry, Tsukimono-suji on March 4, 2017 by dreamlanddancing

 

No more I love you’s…?

No more bickering.

No more ultimatums.

No more angry words.

No more expectations.

No more disappointments.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

The look in your eyes

betrays what you cannot

bring yourself

to say…

to pull the trigger

and end the suffering

between us,

yet you’ll never respect me

unless I do

what you cannot.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

Its one thing to love

yet quite another to be in love.

As deeply as I am wounded,

I thank you for that.

I was born

to write torch songs

and you shall be my

most cherished inspiration.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

That’s why they call it a

CRUSH…

When you meet,

it takes your breath

away,

the same as it does

when it’s over.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxooxoxoxoxox

Nothing else

makes me feel more alive,

or more aware…

from the first gasp

of anticipation

to the anguish

of

the death rattle

of the horse latitudes

and doldrums

that slowly

led us here.

After all,

what good is all this loneliness

without the angst of solitude?

It awakens

our survival instincts

like the feel

of

Death’s hot breath

upon our necks

and nothing

spawns entropy, decay and oblivion

like the stench

of complacency.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

With nowhere else to go

for either of us,

this prison we have built

of our disillusionment

is

as real as our inability

to walk away.

With no where else to go,

our love

has turned into an ocean

of poisonous disappointment

in which we drown

each day.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

I feel compassion for

your anger,

resentments,

and sorrow,

but I can no longer

join you in them.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

When one door closes,

another opens,

which is how it will stay…

I’ll even leave the light on…

if it is meant to be

you will thank me

for that

one day.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

No more “I love you’s?”

Hardly…

I will love and keep you

in my heart forever,

but I refuse to always be the first one

to say the words…

It’s just too much

like shouting

down a well.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxooxoxo

So kiss me goodbye

as I wish you well;

let’s see how we feel

in a week or two

of our

trial divorce,

Our Banishment.

Just pretend

I’m not here…

someone

that you don’t have to love at all

so you won’t have to resent

that we are both still here.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

We have learned

to treat strangers and pets

with more kindness

than we allow each other

and it is our shared expectations

unfulfilled

that has brought about

this despair in ourselves,

who are the only ones

whom we can blame

now that I

can no longer

bring myself

to sing the songs

that only make me cry….

Sayonara Tsukimono Suji No kimi….

さようなら私の最愛の白い魔女

(Goodbye My Beloved White Witch)

Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei,

さよなら ぜつぼう せんせい

(Goodbye Master of Despair)

Namasté

नमस्ते

Chazz Vincent

09/18/2016

(As you can see by the date, I have re-written this so many times that I’ve lost count, and yet…I seem to be unable to post it, lest the true meaning be misunderstood. It is one thing to write torch songs, and quite another to live one; one thing to understand suffering as a source of inspiration, and another to be addicted to it.)

If we hold our tongues just to keep the peace, what we end up with will not be worth keeping.

Because I believe in Love I believe in you. Because I believe in you, I believe in You and Me.

Jealousy is a Three-Headed Dragon

Posted in Crazy Zen Wisdom, Letting Go, Love, Much Too Good For Children, Observations of a Recovering Buddhist on March 1, 2017 by dreamlanddancing

 

One head is Fear.

One head is Envy.

The Third is mis-directed Anger.

The teeth and claws of this monster drip with venom and the blood of its victims, whose hearts are ripped from their chests and greedily consumed.

Its voracious appetite is never slaked.

Its body is the cumulative social conditioning of Society in its discontent, Religion, selfishness, and bad advice from the truly ignorant who have no business giving it; the ones who missed the boat, and continue to create self-fulfilling prophecies while shouting from the docks, condemned to “lives of quiet desperation”, afraid to loose something even they don’t really want.

There can be no denying that witnessing desire, attraction, or even outright lust spilling from our significant others generates a maelstrom of emotions, and feelings that can overwhelm those not prepared to tame the Dragon and make it their pet.

Compersion is the sexual alchemy that can transform the most mind-numbing, soul-killing complex emotion mankind knows into  a process that will energize and embolden an individual into an adventurous and fearless seeker of the truth.

I recently heard a respected therapist state that instead of seeking the perfect mate, one should strive to be the perfect mate.

Although there is a great deal of truth to this concept, I have reservations about it generating several dangerous misconceptions.

There was a time that I believed that my salvation would come by way of enlightening my most significant other.

It wasn’t bad enough that I sought to achieve enlightenment; (something that cannot be gained through its pursuit), but I had the audacity to believe I could somehow impart this condition onto another by way of teaching by example.

It doesn’t take long before an afflicted individual recognizes the power inherent in their disfunction.

Eventually you discover they are always in pain, always unhappy and never satisfied; in fact their moodiness, anger and self-pity empowers them and enslaves those who love them because they keep trying, thinking that somehow, if they do whatever they are doing just a little differently, maybe then they can be happy together.

This is of course, true madness; they recognize that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results are the alternate definitions of both insanity and addition, but they do not see that the basic fatal flaw is not in what they do but rather in their choice of for whom they do it.

They seek an equal, while the object of their affections seeks power.

In this way, the desire they foster within themselves for what they think is Love will condemn them to endless suffering.

Have you so little self-esteem that you would allow yourself to be manipulated in this way?

You can love them more by attempting to possess them less.

If they love you back, OK.

If they don’t, you will still be OK.

These are not simply words that you repeat to yourself until you get want you want…you have to drop your resistance to whatever your present circumstances are, so that you can feel love regardless of whether it it is returned or not.

It is so much easier to love others fearlessly if you learn to love yourself first, just as you cannot really learn to forgive others until you learn to forgive yourself.

Will you feel sorrow if they withhold love from you? Of course, but there is great beauty in sorrow, and it will deepen your appreciation of those who love you freely, unconditionally, and without reservation.

And be sure that once you liberate yourself from the neediness and addictive groveling in which you wallow as long as you are a slave to love, the inner calm and sense of self-assurance devoid of false bravado or pretense naturally attracts others who can stand eye-to-eye with you as equals.

If you experience even one day in love with your equal, “to be the idol of your own idol is to steal fire from the gods.” It is an experience of immortality in the face of death, and the quantum of ecstasy which can neither be created nor destroyed.

Because it exists independently of time, once it is known, no one can take that from you…not even them.

Everything else is just junk food for the soul.

That kind of love is not capable of jealousy, nor is it manipulated by it.

Those who would in their ignorance attempt to manipulate you with jealousy will soon either be driven by their own inner instincts to learn from you, or they will eliminate themselves from your sphere of influence, and in so doing, grant you a favor that you do not have to request to get.

It all simply comes and goes by itself.

If you can be that kind of perfect mate eventually everything that you desire will come to you, like a cat that shuns you until you start to read the newspaper.

You cannot make the perfect mate by being the perfect mate; all you can hope to do is simply be your true self here and now.

Devoid of pretense, prejudice, illusion, mythology, social conditioning or fear, Here and Now free you of any impatience.

Everything is exactly as it should be.

Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei 

さよなら絶望先生

(Goodbye, Master of Despair)

Namasté

नमस्ते

Chazz Vincent

03/01/2017

In My Perfect World

Posted in Crazy Zen Wisdom, Dangerous and Unsavory ideas that are possibly harmful to the weak-mided and overly simplistic and religious, Much Too Good For Children, NSFW, Observations of a Recovering Buddhist on February 27, 2017 by dreamlanddancing

 

If priests had any idea whatsoever about useful or reasonable counseling of their parishioners regarding real life advice, we might anticipate a scenario such as this:

(Interior single-lens over-the shoulder shot of a penitent inside a confessional booth; only the silhouette of the confessor is seen as lit by the dim image of the priest as seen through the ornate screen separating the two.)

“Father, forgive me. I cannot stop sinning; I masturbate at least a dozen times a day. It’s all I can think about, even at work. cold showers, prayer and meditation, even imagining the Mother Superior naked…which is not an attractive image at all…”

“Yikes! You can say that again!…no…come to think about it, please don’t…I have to eat lunch in an hour.”

“Nothing seems to work. It takes up all my time, energy, imagination, and I spend almost all my money on internet porn….

What shall be my penitence?”

A conspicuous silence follows as the priest strokes his short, neatly trimmed beard.

“Hmmmm…I know exactly what is needed here. I am going to give you one hundred dollars from the poor box. I want you to take it and go down to the docks where the hookers stand.”

“You will find a young woman there named Erin O’Clogherty; you can’t miss her…she is quite beautiful. She has a gorgeous head of chestnut hair, fine alabaster skin and jade-green eyes.  You may even recognize her; she sings regularly in our choir.”

“Go to no one else, even wait for her if she is not there when you arrive…do you understand?”

“Yes Father, but what should I do?”

“Well, first of all pay careful attention to what I am telling you, and stop touching yourself…you are going to need all your strength for this.”

“Yes Father.”

“Offer her the hundred dollars to go out with you for dinner and a movie.”

“I want you to go to Marino’s that Italian restaurant about six blocks from here. Their family is in our parish, and they have fallen on hard times despite their excellent cuisine…I’m afraid it’s because of the neighborhood; they’ve lived here for three generations and they don’t want to leave, but that’s another matter….”

“They will appreciate your business, and tell them I sent you. They will understand; Mario will probably give you a wink or two, but trust me, you will not be disappointed. Tip them very generously…this part will all come out of your pocket, by the way; it’s part of your penitence and you can afford it considering what you pay for internet pornography.”

Are you paying attention?”

“Yes Father.”

“After dinner, I want you to walk her to the movie theater around the corner. It doesn’t matter what’s playing, I want you to go to that theater only.”

“Throughout dinner, and after the movie, be sure to compliment her for how lovely she looks, but don’t go on about it in a salacious way…just notice her for who she truly is.”

“Listen to every word she says and engage her in conversation, but don’t try to impress her with what you have to say; If you two were dancing, I would instruct you to let her lead. She has a sharp wit and an imaginative sense of humor, so it won’t be difficult.”

“Offer to drive her home. She has to use a baby-sitter to watch her three young children, and she has no one else ever since her abusive alcoholic husband abandoned her to run off to Miami with the neighbor’s wife, which taken on balance was probably a blessing for both families, because Molly was quite the tramp, and broke her poor husband’s heart as well.”

“Walk her up to the house. I am quite sure if you mind your manners, she will invite you in; don’t worry, the children will already be asleep.”

“I can guarantee you will not be disappointed, so see to it that she is not either. Her emotional and physical needs should come first…if you’ll pardon the pun.” 

“Is that my penance, Father?…I am not sure that I understand…”

“Well, in case it wasn’t obvious, all of the parties involved…even the family that owns the theater are members of this parish, and each has the ability to help the others.”

“The Marinos need the business, and dinner will be a proper way to begin the evening; Erin needs not just the money, but the validation of her worth as a human being who is valued for more than just her body…and YOU definitely need to get out more often!”

 

Namasté

नमस्ते

Chazz Vincent

02/27/2017

Silent Thunder

Posted in Crazy Zen Wisdom, Observations of a Recovering Buddhist on February 18, 2017 by dreamlanddancing

When I woke up this morning, this phrase came to me like an intimate confidante whispering in my ear.

Don’t get me wrong…I like it Loud…at least sometimes.

When I’m in the mood, I like Rock music so loud you can feel it.

Symphonic music live, is surprisingly loud; to listen to it properly at home requires speakers and amplifiers more than capable of generating noise complaints from the neighbors.

The passion of opera cannot be fully appreciated in the hushed, whispered tones of your neighborhood library, but that’s what headphones (…really good ones) are for.

In my twenties, I played electric guitar in bands so loud that you would have thought you would bleed through your eyeballs and your ears would ring for days afterward.

So loud that once, while playing a feedback solo in a seedy little bar in Terre Haute that was practically built on the railroad tracks, I broke a window.

Ten thousand watts was a lot of power, even for an entire band, given the venues we played back then.

But between the trains and the drunken audiences with no respect for much of anything, it was about the only way to drown out the noise and command their attention.

I once lived in a neighborhood across the street from the Miami Jai-alai fronton, just slightly north and east of Miami International Airport. It took a stack of Marshall amplifiers just to drown out the noise from the fly-overs, but when the cops came, I didn’t even hear them pounding on the door until they turned on the yelper.

FUCKING LOUD….

Although it was a time of reacting to an anti-war culture as well as a worldwide cultural war, the irony of the fact that Rock sounded so warlike was not lost on me at least, even back then.

Jimi Hendrix’s live album, the Band of Gypsies contained a song called Machine Gun that echoed exactly that kind of sentiment.

Much later, I built an amateur radio station that used a six hundred watt linear amplifier.

That doesn’t sound like very much…six hundred watts…most hair dryers and electric hotplates are around fifteen hundred watts; but coupled to a three-beam Yagi directional antenna, I was able to send voice transmissions clearly to anywhere in the world.

Now the Internet allows us to communicate with a much larger audience with no limitations of weather or atmospheric conditions like ionic flux and even provides translators for languages of which we may have absolutely no kin whatsoever with a minimum of expense, expertise, or equipment.

During those years of attempting to communicate creatively, I began to recognize that it seemed as if certain trends of inspiration seemed to come almost from out of nowhere, echoed by other artists as well as audiences receptive to them as if they had bounced off the ionosphere in much the same way that long-range radio waves do.

Emerson touched upon the concept of how the transcendence of inspiration seemed to “stand hand-in-hand”, and that “one shock was felt the whole world ‘round.”

In those days, it took weeks or even months to communicate, and yet it was clear enough to him then how the common consciousness of One Mind unites us.

Before thoughts, or words we are all one…we are all the same; time does not exist, distance is irrelevant and we are all immortal once we shed the yoke of duality.

The physical world that is bound by impermanence, illusion and futility dissolves within the realization of the power of the vital essence of life itself as the noise of the entire world trying to shout over itself is drowned out by the silent thunder of the present moment.

Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei 

さよなら絶望先生

Namasté

नमस्ते

Chazz Vincent

02/17/2017

❣Emotional Queen👑

🎭दो चेहरें हैं,दो लहज़े हैं मेरे...और हर सवाल के दो जवाब "एक मैं जो लिखती हूँ दूजा तुम जो जानते हो"!! 👑Queen Of My Own Thought❣ #MyBlogMyFeeling

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You can't break up with a soul mate

georgeforfun

Welcome to George's world, no invitation needed, feel at home