Nov 28, 2008

but it is

We join spokes together in a wheel,
but it is the center hole
that makes the wagon move.

We shape clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside
that holds whatever we want.

We hammer wood for a house,
but it is the inner space
that makes it livable.

We work with being,
but non-being is what we use.

Tao Te Ching, chap. 11

as translated by Stephen Mitchell, quoted in Endless Vow: the zen path oh Soen Nakagawa, Shambala Publications, 1996

above, Sun ın an empty room, painting by Edward Hopper; to learn more please refer to:

Nov 22, 2008

dusty affairs

Looking for serenity
you have come
to the monastery.

Looking for serenity
I am leaving
the monastery.


Stop running about seeking!

The dusty affairs of the world
fill the day,
fill the night.

Soen Nakagawa

ın Endless Vow - The Zen Path of Soen Nakagawa, Shambala Publıcatıons, 1996

Nov 20, 2008

that light

I asked a child, walking with a candle,
"From where comes that light?"
Instantly he blew it out.
"Tell me where it is gone - and I tell you where it came from".

Hasan of Basra

The Sufis, Idries Shah (Anchor Books, 1971/1990)

Nov 16, 2008

the knower and the knowledge are one

In meditation we learn to still the mind and the senses so that we can directly experience the inner reality of the heart. One friend had a dream that gave her a glimpse of the sweetness beyond the mind:

I am sitting with the group and the teacher silently speaks to me, saying, "I will show you what this meditation can offer you." The group begins to meditate and when I fall into meditation I hear the sound of the most beautiful chord of music whose notes become louder and whose vibration fills my whole being until its essence absorbs me in an intense sweetness and bliss which I can only describe as a glimpse of heaven. The notes cease as the meditation ends.

Such bliss is the substance of the Self which cannot be experienced on the level of the mind. The mind is known as the "slayer of the Real," for it separates us from spiritual Truth which is found within the heart. While the mind understands through duality, the differentiation of subject and object, Truth is always a state of oneness: the knower and the knowledge are one, the lover and Beloved are united. Meditation is a technique to take us from the world of duality to the oneness within the heart. Muhâsibî, a ninth- century Sufi from Baghdad, stresses its importance:

Meditation is the chief possession of the mystic, that whereby the sincere and the God-fearing make progress on the journey to God.

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, The Sufi Meditation of the Heart; if youd' like to read more please refer to:

Photo: Leaf on Concrete©

Nov 11, 2008

of the soul

At dawn a moon appeared from the waves
And ascended, gazing down at me. Then,

Like a falcon snatching a bird in flight,
It snatched me up and flew away.

When I looked up I no longer saw myself:
Into that moon my body had eased, by grace

Of the soul in which I travelled, moon-driven
Until the secret of God's revelation halted me.

Nine spheres of Heaven had emerged in that moon;
And the sea washed over the slip of my being,

Breaking against me in waves. Again Wisdom's
Voice boomed; as it happens so it occurs.

At every foam-fleck of the ocean a figure
Emerged and slowly disappeared, just as

My foam-flecked body, receiving a sea-sign,
Melted within and slowly turned to spirit.

Without the regal power of Shems of Tabrız,
Holdıng the moon or becoming the sea are dreams.


in Rumi's Dıvan of Shems of Tabriz, a new interpretation by James Cowan

Nov 9, 2008

reflecting my heart

sky and water
reflecting my heart

Soen Nakagawa

(in Endless Vow - The Zen Path of Soen Nakagawa, Shambala Publications, 1996)

Photo: Shapes in shades of green, through the clear sea water close to Fethiye, Turkey -

Nov 8, 2008

your gaze commands

Your gaze
commands the sun
the tree, the river - Love
to rise, to grow, to flow
- to rise, to grow, to flow

dedicated to Richard and Ihsan, Dear Brothers on the Path of Love

Nov 7, 2008

we can write cantatas

I once stood by three countrymen at the deathbed of their mother. There was grief, of course. For the second time the umbilical cord was cut. For the second time, the knot that binds two generations was unfastened. Those three sons were discovering that they were alone, with everything to learn, with no family table now where they could meet at festivals, with no pole of self-recognition. But in that moment of severance I was also discovering that life can be granted for a second time. Each of these sons would in turn become the head of a family, a rallying-point and a patriarch, until the time when they would pass on the leadership to that little group of children now playing outside the door.

I looked at the mother, that old peasant with her firm and peaceful face, with her tight lips and her face that was now a mask of stone. And I saw it in the faces of the sons. That mask had served to mould their faces. That body had served to mould their bodies, those fine examples of men. And now she lay there broken, but like a matrix after the precious metal had been extracted. Sons and daughters in their turn would mould their children in the image of their flesh. No one died on that farm. The mother is dead, long live the mother!

There was grief, yes, but that picture of the lineage is so clear and simple. On its way it casts off those white-haired outer skins one by one, as it travels on towards its own unknowable truth, through all its metamorphoses.


What was thus being transmtited from generation to generation, at the slow pace of a tree’s growth, was life itself, but it was also consciousness. An ascension filled with mistery! From flowing lava, from the unformed substance of a star, from a miraculously germinated living cell we have emerged and have risen little by little until we can write cantatas and weigh galaxies.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Wind, Sand and Stars (Terre des hommes, 1939) Penguin Classics

Nov 6, 2008

give me freedom

Give me freedom to fly without a shadow,
Give me freedom to sing without an echo,
and to love without leaving traces.

This is the entrance page to The Golden Sufi site; to have access to it please refer to:

Nov 2, 2008

trying to become

When the wild ducks pass in the migrating season, they cause strange tides to rise in the lands beneath them. As if magnetized by the great triangular flock, the farmyard ducks try clumsily to leave the ground. The call of the wild has awakened some vestige of the wild within them, and for a moment they have turned into birds of passage. In those hard little heads normally filled with simple images of the pond, of worms and ot their roosting-house, now stretch vast continents, the taste of the ocean winds and the shape of the seas. The creature never knew until now that its brain could contain such marvels, and it beats its wings in contempt for seed and worms, trying to become a wild duck.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Wind, Sand and Stars (Terre de Hommes, 1939), Penguin Classics