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The Little Duck

The Little Duck

The Little Duck
by Donald C. Babcock

Now we are ready to look at something pretty special.
It is a duck riding the ocean a hundred feet beyond the surf.
No, it isn’t a gull.

A gull always has a raucous touch about him.
This is some sort of duck, and he cuddles in the swells.
He isn’t cold, and he is thinking things over.

There is a great heaving in the Atlantic,
And he is a part of it.
He looks a little like a mandarin,

Or the Lord Buddha meditating under the Bo tree
But he has hardly enough above the eyes to be a philosopher.
He has poise, however, which is what philosophers must have.

He can rest while the Atlantic heaves, because he rests in the Atlantic.

Probably he doesn’t know how large the ocean is.
And neither do you.
But he realizes it.

And what does he do, I ask you. He sits down in it.
He reposes in the immediate as if it were infinity – which it is.
That is religion, and the duck has it.

He has made himself a part of the boundless,
by easing himself into it just where it touches him.
I like the little duck.

He doesn’t know much.
But he has religion.

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Lost

 

Stand still. The trees ahead and the bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

David Wagoner

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Different Sides

We find ourselves on different sides
Of a line nobody drew
Though it all may be one in the higher eye
Down here where we live it is two

I to my side call the meek and the mild
You to your side call the Word
By virtue of suffering I claim to have won
You claim to have never been heard

Both of us say there are laws to obey
But frankly I don’t like your tone
You want to change the way I make love
I want to leave it alone

The pull of the moon, the thrust of the sun
And thus the ocean is crossed
The waters are blessed while a shadowy guest
Kindles a light for the lost

Both of us say there are laws to obey
But frankly I don’t like your tone
You want to change the way I make love
I want to leave it alone

Down in the valley the famine goes on
The famine up on the hill
I say that you shouldn’t, you couldn’t, you can’t
You say that you must and you will

Both of us say there are laws to obey
But frankly I don’t like your tone
You want to change the way I make love
I want to leave it alone

You want to live where the suffering is
I want to get out of town
C’mon baby give me a kiss
Stop writing everything down

Both of us say there are laws to obey
Yeah, but frankly I don’t like your tone
You want to change the way I make love
I want to leave it alone

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The Messenger


My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird—
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be
astonished.
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,

which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever. 

~ Mary Oliver

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A Matador Retires

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"This incredible photo marks the end of Matador Torero Alvaro Munera’s career. He collapsed in remorse mid-fight when he realized he was having to prompt this otherwise gentle beast to fight. He went on to become an avid opponent of bullfights. Even grievously wounded by picadors, he did not attack this man.

Torrero Munera is quoted as saying of this moment: 'And suddenly, I looked at the bull. He had this innocence that all animals have in their eyes, and he looked at me with this pleading. It was like a cry for justice, deep down inside of me. I describe it as being like a prayer - because if one confesses, it is hoped, that one is forgiven. I felt like the worst shit on earth.' "

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What is Meditation?

"The practice of meditation, with its bare attention to the rising and ceasing of [things as they are], represents a short-circuiting of the codes we impose on reality. These are undercut and disempowered as the mind trains to register perceptions without editorial comment or discursive thought. By remaining aloof from conceptualization, which tends to function within pre-established constructs, the practitioner refrains from perpetuating their validity. Rather than processing noise to extract message, she, in effect, switches off the message in order to receive more of the noise. The exercise amounts to a deliberate mismatching and production of positive feedback, as awareness widens to the rush of impersonal psycho-physical events, wherein no permanent “I” is evident. The cybernetic circuit, experienced in this way, is particularly suitable to validation of the Buddha’s teachings about self, since, "in such analysis (of experience) we do not see a categorial “I” against a categorically distinct ‘you’ or ‘it.’ ~ Joanna Macy (Mutual Causality)

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On Not Going To the Moon

"When we go to the moon I am not sure we are following the best direction for human beings. I don't know what we are doing. When we find the spirit of zazen, we find the way of life to follow as a human being. In other words, we are not fooled by things or fooled by some particular idea. Dogen Zenji at first refused to receive an honorary purple robe from the Emperor. After he turned it down a second time the Emperor said, "You must receive it." So finally he accepted it. But he didn't wear it, and he wrote to the Emperor saying, "I very much appreciate your purple robe, but I do not dare wear it, because if I wore it, the birds and monkeys on this mountain would laugh at me." ~ Shunryu Suzuki 

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What is Zen for?

When we discover that we have in this world no earth or rock to stand or walk upon but only shifting sea and sky and wind, the mature response is not to lament the loss of fixity but to learn to sail. 

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