Readings

Free to share for not-for-profit distribution, with the acknowledgement of the author.

The Campfire

Alone in the heartland is a glow of being
All about connecting

The dust which is foot born adds
A subtle boundary

Air at the skin abides for a stretch
Yet is timeless

Where fluidity starts forever begins

And the campfire opens a space
Where our children emerge to warm us.

csjasper, 7/5/20, 3:59 am

Success

Success is being safe
Inside your own heart
Such that your words
Rhyme with your own intentions.

And so you practice in solitude
Your friends knowing exactly where
You are, to support you,
Not knowing necessarily who you are

Until you tell them
And they love you all the more.

Success is taking time to breath
And know that you know what you know.

When fireworks strike the air around you
Announcing memories of struggle and violence
Success turns you inward

Where the dance is openly choreographed
Where the dawn is carefully realized
And the dreams quake asunder
Turning bright in silence.

csjasper, 7/5/20, 4:14 am

Morning Coffee with Ajahn

A steady voice amidst the great mess
Our culture has once again become
Emerges like a breeze filtering through
Newly green woodlands.

And the questions flood in
And we are reminded
       that all formed things are changing
And we are reminded
       that all things are insubstantial
And we are reminded
       to reflect on these realities of
The natural world.

To sweep doubt and its sticky familiarity from the path
Takes arms and hearts full of persistent wakefulness,
Takes buckets of confidence
Takes a point of view
       that places self

Patiently to the side, like placing one’s child
Out of harm’s way again,
While holding the steady candle of love amidst irritation.

Yet our human demands for comfort
Rise like invasive species in the natural woodlands
Of a culture aflame forever with agitation,
Which wants to sell us greed, hatred, and delusion

As the staples of a normal life.
Now, just as the earth accepts whatever is thrown upon it
Ajahn invites us to turn to reflections on presence
Like a bird on the path reflects on the moment

One eye on the grain and one eye on the sky.

csjasper       7/3/20


Growth

When I don’t know
What to do amidst racial atrocities
I ask the breath: where is now?

With birdsong flowing through these insubstantial ears,
The air on its wise feet touches
My skin and imprints the present moment.

Inside I turn to stone
Grinding through rough edges
Searching for the healing that water might bring

Only to find fluidity vaporize.
The surprise gift of here is a hummingbird
Soaring in whistle song upwards to its mate

In a twisting dance, and hence I realize a direction
Of warmth and caring, a strength like a rose
Grounded, responsible, awake.

Charles S Jasper
csjasper 6/13 & 14/20
 

Thich Nhat Hahn reading, call to action, week of 6/8-10/20

People often use their anger at social injustice as a basis for action, but that is unwise.

When you are angry you are not lucid,
and you can do many harmful things.

According to Buddhism, the only source of energy that can be useful is compassion, because it is safe.

When you have compassion, your energy is born from insight.
It is not blind energy.

With compassion, we practice in order to learn ways
to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals.

Just feeling compassion is not enough.
If we do not know how to help, we can do damage.

That is why love must go together with understanding.


Thich Nhat Hahn


In Time of Silver Rain

In time of silver rain,
The earth puts forth new life again,
Green grasses grow, and flowers lift their heads,
And over all the plain the wonder spreads
of life, of life, of life.
In time of silver rain, the butterflies lift silken wings to catch
A rainbow cry
And trees put forth new leaves to sing in joy beneath the sky.
When spring and life are new.
Langston Hughes

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Wendell Berry

Auspicious Day

The Blessed One said:
You shouldn’t chase after the past
or place expectations on the future.
What is past
is left behind.
The future
is as yet unreached.
Whatever quality is present
you clearly see right there,
right there.
Not taken in,
unshaken,
that’s how you develop the heart.
Ardently doing
what should be done today,
for—who knows?— tomorrow
death.
There is no bargaining
with Mortality & his mighty horde.
Whoever lives thus ardently,
relentlessly
both day & night,
has truly had an auspicious day

The Buddha

Loving-Kindness Recitation

May I be well, happy and peaceful. May no harm come to me,
May no difficulties come to me. May I always meet with success.
May I also have patience, courage, understanding, and determination
to meet and overcome the inevitable difficulties, problems and failures in
life. May my parents . . .
May my teachers . . .
May my relatives . . .
May my friends . . .
May all indifferent persons . . .
May my enemies . . .
Be well, happy and peaceful.
May no harm come to them,
May no difficulties come to them.
May they always meet with success.
May they also have patience, courage, understanding, and determination
to meet and overcome the inevitable difficulties, problems and failures in
life. May all living beings be well, happy and peaceful.
May no harm come to them,
May no difficulties come to them.
May they always meet with success.
May they also have patience, courage, understanding, and determination
to meet and overcome the inevitable difficulties, problems and failures in
life.

The Buddha as interpreted by Ajahn Sona

The Waddling Mind

Last night as I awoke I noticed
The mind washing sugar cubes with its raccoon hands
Staring through its bandit eyes at the disappearing sweetness
Things dissolving, the mirage of satisfaction
Floating above a ceaseless thirsty horizon.

And still waddling around like an old dictator
Who is losing his death grip on the people
The mind searching for more grasped for another cube
And though these inner eyes are deepening, opening, softening

To kindness, warmth, and caring hung on
Until the soft light and playful bells of my alarm
Chased the old guy from his mock throne
Stirred the dust and arose to kneel before a silence easeful

As a candle flickering in the vaulted dawn.

Charles S. Jasper