Tag Archives: zen

I hear the sounds of one hand clapping

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I hear the sounds of one hand clapping
and point my finger to the moon.
My life in part I spend napping,
hoping not to wake up too soon.

I see this world through the windows
of my dark and blurred eyes.
What lies outside, who really knows?
Who can pretend to be so wise?

I listen to how people speak
about the current world affairs.
Have they found what they seek
and got an answer to their prayers?

I touch the sky with my fingertips
and breathe the universe in me.
With this life I’ve come to grips
as far as I can tell and see.

I catch my shadows in the nearby park
and try to get lost in the trees.
I dare to fail and miss my mark.
Thus to live in peace and ease.

*Painting “Left hand with the index finger” by Vasily Polenov, 1885.

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The voice inside me meditates

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The voice inside me meditates.
No feelings, no thoughts, no images and wishes.
Only stillness, silence, few deep breaths,
The voice inside me meditates.

The voice inside me meditates.
No stillness, no silence, no deep breaths.
Only feelings, thoughts, images and wishes,
The voice inside me meditates.

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There is no God

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There is no God and I believe in him.
There is no God and I kneel down before him.
There is no God and I am his image and likeness.
There is no God and my body is his holy temple.
There is no God and the Bible is his word.
There is no God and he blesses the poor and the hungry.
There is no God and he answers my prayers.
There is no God and he forgives my sins.
There is no God and Jesus is his only begotten son.
There is no God and Paul is his chosen apostle.
There is no God and Muhammad is his last prophet.
There is no God and Mary is his mother.
There is no God and Heaven is his throne.
There is no God and Earth is his footstool.
There is no God and Jews are his chosen people.
There is no God and his Kingdom is within me.
There is no God and his Mercy shines upon me.
There is no God and his Love is unlimited.
There is no God and he is the Conqueror of life and death.
There is no God and he is the Master of the universe.
There is no God and he is the Ocean of transcendental bliss.
There is no God and he is all powerful.
There is no God and he is all knowing.
There is no God and he is present everywhere.
There is no God and he is my Lord
There is no God and he is my Provider.
There is no God and he is my Judge.
There is no God and he is my Friend.
There is no God and he is my Salvation.
There is no God and he is my Strength.
There is no God and he is my Joy.
There is no God and he is my Refuge.
There is no God and he is my Life.
There is no God and he is my Everything.

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Probably the best post I have written so far

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The small bell rings softly

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Rigidigong. Rigidigong. Gong. Gong. The small bell rings softly. I enter into the smoky incense filled room where the forty and something-year old Swiss German Zen master sits motionless in a full Lotus posture. His body is covered in the fine robes of an eminent authority. He wears a black kimono, most likely imported from Japan than bought at some local cheap martial arts shop. He appears to be in a deep meditative state. His eyes are closed. His face – relaxed and peaceful. A few yellowish candles burn next to the small Buddha statuette behind his vertical torso. On his right I notice the small ritual bell. It vibrates no more. A wooden stick about two and a half feet long lies to his left. Old Japanese books, which, thanks be to God, had been translated and interpreted into colonial English tongue, mention that the wooden stick in the Japanese Zen monasteries was designed purely for the purpose of beating the crap out of insolent students who ask too much questions and stick their nose into business which is not theirs. If a student’s mind could not be silenced with a koan like “what is the sound of one hand clapping?” or “why is my leg like the leg of a donkey?”, he was to be beaten with a wooden stick and thus forcibly humbled to dust, tears and blood. But in our sanitized Western world of human rights and Geneva conventions, the sole manifest purpose of the wooden stick has been limited to the symbolic realm. Western Zen was a vaccinated spirituality and an emancipated religion, in which the wooden stick was never used as an instrument of torture or punishment. It was only a symbol. A symbol of the spiritual authority of the teacher. But in the sacred halls of meditation, where enlightenment was usually attained, sometimes the wooden stick came in handy to straighten out the crooked spines of enthusiastic practitioners. At other times the stick was used as a gentle corrective tool to keep spiritual seekers awake when they fell asleep during the intensive, prolonged meditative sessions.

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Sympathy for the devil

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Once in a far away country by the Atlantic ocean where the sunshine is brighter and the stars seem closer to the eye than the moon, a curious oddity fell upon my gentle psyche – for a brief moment in time I was possessed by the devil. Even a year ago I wouldn’t have ever believed myself or any other fellow creature of good-humored constitution and rationally sound nature that such a dark and gloomy predicament was accessible for human exploration and was open to an unbiased interpretation and unprejudiced judgement – indeed, in my scholarly naivete, I thought that the production of wildest chimeras and fantastic fancies is the sole prerogative of those poor and deficient souls who are deprived of the creative element and who lack the supreme faculty of imagination, i’m referring, of course, to the religious and artistic types – but now as I recall to my shame the strange sequence of events that took place on that fateful night, I cannot but restate the bold and simple truth of the obvious facts – the great Lightbearer was leading me down the path of ruin. After having thoroughly examined the matter myself retrospectively under the careful scrutiny of reason and the microscope of logic and with the guidance of the scientific method, this was the only credible account and reasonable explanation that I could come up with. All things considered and all angles approached, in the nonsense of life only devil makes sense. Continue reading

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Zen, the Giggly smile and 42

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I have one Japanese friend, who is a sort of an enlightened far away brother to me. Our conversations frequently run like Zen mondos or like a never ending exchange of pleasantries. And, it must be said, I enjoy these kind of talks immensely. When we meet, he usually inquires into my current situation and I try my best to respond with a candid confession by stating the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. After hearing my rantings he – as a rule – bursts into a wild laughter and then immediately adds a verbal component to his performance: “Magnus, you need a woman”, he says with a giggly smile on his face. Over the course of our many conversations, he was never weary of repeating this line over and over again: “Magnus, you need a women.” Frankly, I found it quite amusing and I took it more as a joke than a friendly advice. But being familiar with Zen logic, I knew there was much more than what meets the eye or, as in this case, what meets the ear, to be exact. His tricks, his laughters and his out-of-place comments can fool any random sucker on the street but they won’t fool me. So, each time he said that I need a woman, deep down inside I knew that my Japanese friend played the classical Zen game on me. Of course, he denied it – this was expected – and when I expressed my suspicions that his comment had a certain stink of Zen, he denounced my knowledge of Zen and said that I know nothing about it. But, having never solved a koan in my life and having never meditated for more than an hour, I knew better. My friend’s reaction fitted perfectly into the repertoire of savvy Zen duels and Zen verbal attacks. His behavior matched the pattern of the old Zen masters way too good for it to be a coincidence. Only those people who deny it, have it. – an old Zen saying goes. In my mind I had no doubt about it, it was as clear as the sun on a cloudless day. And his denial only intensified my initial belief that he was pulling my leg in the prima-facie Zen style.

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