Medicine

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Medicine

The look on your face

is one I have seen in my own mirror.

 

I know you didn't think

you would feel this tired at this age

but this is just a phase.

 

You’re in-between lives within this life.

 

As the old woman used to say out in Peyote Land:

'Right on time, deary. Right on time.'

 

For now,

in the place beyond words

just know:

breathing is enough.

 

The world falls away in silence.

 

Whoever is secure enough

to let you enter the quiet-dark without them

is your ally.

 

Whatever is left standing

after your simmering ‘death-sleep’

is faith-worthy.

 

In these times,

when even a simple day

can feel like a firing pin,

stretching corpse-like

upon the earth

is not leisure.

 

It is medicine.


One of the poems that will appear in the forthcoming book of poems, The School of Soft-Attention, Frank LaRue Owen, Homebound Publications

(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

sound: Chronotope Project

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Instructions Hanging From A Weather-Beaten Branch

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Instructions Hanging From A Weather-Beaten Branch

To illuminate The Way

study the wayfarers of old.

 

Take up the timeless work

of untangling the soul.

 

Align Heart-Mind

with nature's flow.

 

Journey into the dark

to mine the hidden gold.

 

When the lantern-lit mind

abides in silent illumination,

the wayfarer's poems bear the mark

of the Great Transformation.


(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

image: "Full Moon over Sacramento Mountain Range," by Rebecca Thao

sound: "The Janggos of the Ancient and Modern Times," Jonghun Jo

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The Seed - The Gate - The Path

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The Seed - The Gate - The Path

 

THE GATE

I know it seems hard to grasp

but it's about opening your hand,

reaching for the Cup of Truth

hidden within your silent life.

 

Hand the script back to the director of the drama;

tell the playwright to cease adding words to the page.

Dare to be alone,

to meet yourself for the first time--really

realizing that unless you enter the life of your Great Story

no one

and nothing around you

can ever really offer you

a gift worth receiving.

 

It's about pulling back the curtain,

revealing what you've long hidden in shame,

and coming to understand for yourself

how it was always a treasure.

 

It's about comprehending

the hard-edged fact

that if you don't love yourself enough to take care of yourself

no one can ever trust you

when you tell them that you love them.


THE PATH

It all started as a seed...

of consciousness, that is, beneath the World Tree;

which is any tree if you are there properly.

 

It was there that He sat,

and was tested, and challenged,

until he cast off the husk of the self.

From there, a seed was passed

across time and great distances

from hand to hand.

 

When the seed

was planted at Koyasan,

a golden mandala bloomed;

a resting place for flowers thrown.

 

When the seed was planted at Kailash,

turquoise-colored birds

with flowing red scarves in their beaks

began flying East;

the true governors of Shambhala.

 

When the seed was planted at Angkor Wat,

even the roots of the trees cried out,

"Liberation!"

 

When the seed was planted

atop Linh Son mountain

the moon and sun held council

and drank tea.

 

Now the seed

drinks from the earth out on Beara's land,

deep in the dreaming Catskills.

 

The seed has been passed.

It is small and indestructible

but easily lost.

 

The seed contains a map.

The map leads to a gate

and the gate to a path.

Here, open your hand.

(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

This poem will appear in the forthcoming book, The School of Soft-Attention, Saizan Owen, Homebound Publications

 

To buy Steve Roach's album Light Fantastic, visit The Timeroom.  

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Layers and Receiving

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Layers and Receiving

-- Full Moon, August 2017 --

 

Let us speak of it clearly. 

A deeper part of you knows

you were sent here with an inborn understanding --

a thorough fluency in a vision

of arriving-beyond-striving.

 

Not unlike dreaming,

subtle memories of effortless belonging

enveloped you in peaceful-abiding

as natural and inseparable from you

as your own breathing.

 

With a slow cascade of

          descending

                       arriving

                   rooting

                              unfurling

                   rising

          expanding

embodying --

               you bloomed.

 

Woven into the silent tapestry of you

was a closely-held assumption

there would be a soft place to land --

a trait of our forgetfulness

of where we were all going.

 

Then, it happened.

 

Your second day

your second year

perhaps your second decade in,

you came to a harsh realization:

 

Not every corner

of the fabricated Overlay World

is rooted in the softness you needed.

Not every place, or person,

flows with the Heart-Mind-River

of evolving, becoming, blooming, Being.

 

This tumultuous 'coming to your senses'

had all the same color, taste, and dark texture of betrayal.

As you gazed out at the Samsaric World,

you may have whispered to yourself:

'This is not what I signed up for.'

You may even have said:

This is not the place for me.

And,

you would be right,

ultimately.

 

This is why

it is so important

to finally let go

and turn the page;

to realize

your original vision was true

but on the other side of it

was a list of instructions.

 

Among them:

 

Found within

that which you long to steep

is the very thing

you must eventually create.


(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

Soundscape: "3,000 Years," by French/Malagasy ethno-ambient musician Ujjaya

Image: lotus flower underwater in tempura, by morgan mocha

 

 

 

 

 

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Requiem of Cycles and Dreaming

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Requiem of Cycles and Dreaming

Sometimes the mesh that holds life together bends under a weight.

It isn't like stone, or granite, or slate.

It isn't like the weight of all the ice that's melting left and right.

It isn't like the fragile gravity that keeps us all held like children in our mother's embrace.

It is a weight that goes against the soft flow of all that is sweet and natural.

 

Arcane energies are bubbling up again --

unexamined

untransformed

recurring antecedents

in this our shared curriculum of Dark Learning.

 

I feel that weight in this pain-racked body.

I see that weight in the slumped spines

and down-turned eyes

of the people I pass

who've forgotten their beauty,

who are filled with fears they don't belong.

 

When men and women and whole cultures forget to do their Shadow Work

the unseen helpers and healers are chased out of the village.

Pain-Demons slip in,

and they aim to do nothing

but knock down the shrines that hold us together.

 

When a Dark Age arrives, we have to call on the old travelers for aid,

and you and me

as much as we

would have this leg of our journey be

one lived with more peace and soft sovereignty

are wandering through a Dark Age now.

 

When a Dark Age arrives, we have to call on the old travelers for aid.

Persephone knows the road down and back.

Fudo knows how to sit in the fire and burn away these impurities.

Odin knows how to hang by the World Tree and see a new vision in time's great mirror.

Lao Tzu knows the way to restore balance to body and mind.

Aceso, Asclepius, Ratri, Shalim

and a million and one other guides of healing and dreaming

are waiting for the fires and candles to be lit

are waiting for the calling-songs to be lifted

are waiting for the animal dances

to mark another season of driving pain out of the body through the body itself.

 

The old ones say

when we get to the point where we can't even name our shared ailment

the only antidote is to pick a night and call-in a new dream together,

and since the whole world has grown tired of holding up these banners of war

let that night be this one.

_______________________________________________________

(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

Learn more about the music of David Darling here.

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On the Morning of Your Birth

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On the Morning of Your Birth

--in celebration of Byron Metcalf and Jennifer Grais' new soundscape project They Were Here.

"Every morning is a rebirth

if you've brought the proper eyes

and an awake heart-mind

to the gift of sunrise."

doña Río

On the morning of your birth
the animal of your body
had a yearning.

It flexed its tendons
and caused your eyes to open briefly.

Even in those first fierce moments
some part of you
was already wise to the world;

it wanted to throw off
the harsh unnatural light

to join in
with the wild and unconstrained.

Buried deep
behind your tightly-bound
cage of ribs

that ancient yearning
to be received by the untamed
is still pulsing within you
despite all of your other disappointments.

The keeper
of the old library of souls
knows
until your need
for galloping through
the terrain of your wild-belonging is met

all manner of trouble
and destruction
can occur.

The conversation
can be put off
for a while

but at some point

if you are to remain alive to yourself

you'll have to swing yourself up
onto the windhorse of your original yearning
and join-up with the part of you
that already began the journey without you.


(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

To learn more about the music of Steve Roach, visit The Timeroom and the PROJEKT Records Bandcamp.

To learn more about They Were Here by Byron Metcalf and Jennifer Grais, visit They Were Here

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Tapestry

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Tapestry

 

My first teacher taught Letting-Go Mind.

She was human,

very human,

but also a woman

made of thunder and lightning.

 

Her slate-gray robe

and long strand of mahogany-red neck beads

placed her centuries before

despite what the calendar said.

 

Toward the end, she pulled out an unmarked box.

From it, she pulled a map.

'The World,' it said

which I read

as she spread

the tattered brown paper across the table in front of us.

 

Enso-like circles

made from wine stains

covered the map.

Clearly, late night discussions

had occurred over it.

 

Spirals inside of smaller circles

covered the world, East and West, North and South.

Without speaking, my eyes made their own inquiry.

Seeing this, she nodded and slowly

moved her hand over the unfolded paper. 

 

"A network of courtyards, linked, dedicated to The Way," she announced.

"Each one has a Keeper.

In time, you will visit them.

In time, you too will become

a Tender of the Long-Night for others."

 

My new teacher teaches No-Adding-To Mind.

 

She is not human,

but rather

the rain of summer

falling

from the edge of the roof.


(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

To learn more about Roy Mattson's newest album, Melancholy Moon, visit the album's Bandcamp page here >> Melancholy Moon

 

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This Way of Seeing

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This Way of Seeing

The soul is not a land-locked entity.

It can grow feathers.

Given a scent trail of tea or rice wine

sweetgrass or rose jam

and the one that has me

can follow the aroma of soil

to where the feast of ancients is still happening in a cathedral of pines.

I do not know the solutions

to this world's great ailments of pain and power run amok

but I do know the way of the feathered soul

and I sit like a watchful child

as mine takes wing

and flies into things

and comes away with greater understanding.

______________________________________________________

(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

To learn about the music of Saif Al-Khayyat and Nora Thiele, explore their collaboration Ahlam Babiliyya

image: "Nani with Leaves - Portland, Oregon" by Douglas Beasley

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The Flower in the Mountain

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The Flower in the Mountain

--with gratitude to the 'mountain' guides I've known

 

There is a flower waiting to bloom.

You have to travel to it to help it along.

 

It needs lots of water

but not just any water --

 

pure water

like river-water dreaming itself.

 

It needs plenty of light

but not just any light --

 

the kind of radiance absorbed

from the energy of a soul-brightening place.

 

It needs plenty of air

but not just any air --

 

clean air of open space

flowing and constant

so it can move and sway

and strengthen its roots.

 

You cannot reach this rare mountain flower

relying on your usual avenues.

 

The path is long and winding,

sometimes dark, stormy, rocky,

but nothing compares to the views.

 

Like all pilgrimage routes

it is best to purify yourself

and not carry unnecessary weight;

 

but if you do, rest assured,

the natural wisdom of the energy-body

will off-load what does not serve you

for your travels the final way up.

 

The flower is housed in an invisible temple.

The path to the temple starts at the base of your spine.

Go at your own pace.

There is no timeline.

 

You

are the mountain.

You

are the path.

You

are the Limitless Samadhi Flower

that has been waiting for you all along.

 


(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

Learn more about the ambient sonic weavings of Frore at the Bandcamp page for the album Last Place of Wonder.

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When Your Spirit Eyes Are Tired

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When Your Spirit Eyes Are Tired

You have two sets of eyes --

the physical ones

and the vast eyes

placed within you

by the spirit land

through which you move.

 

You may think

the rocks and trees from your land of birth

are just rocks and trees of your land of birth

 

but your second set of eyes are on loan from them

by unseen fearless things around you

that you can never fully understand.

 

If you awake one day

with tired spirit eyes,

pay heed;

that's a different type of fatigue --

 

a signal arriving

from your own ground of being

telling you in no uncertain terms

that a big rusted lock

is about to be busted open within you.

 

The question The Teacher will ask

on the path between mountain top and parking lot:

 

Are you brave enough

to embrace what awaits

on the other side of the door?


(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

Learn more about Chronotope Project's Dawn Treader album at the Dawn Treader Bandcamp Page.

 

 

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The Perfumed Breeze

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The Perfumed Breeze

--written 33,000 feet over Abiquiú

 

If your first meals were taken

with the helpless

the hapless

rageful withholders of the Great Love Spark

you can be pardoned...for a while...

for reaching out to the wrong crowd.

A thirsty soul will drink most anything.

False, tasteless company can seem like sturdy shelter in a sandstorm.

 

The empty promise of their elixirs is well known.

Once your eyes have cleared,

if you keep drinking their poison

can you really keep blaming them

for continuing to serve it to you?

 

The Teacher says: Seek softer company now.

 

There is a whole world hidden inside this one.

 

The quiet faithful are showering in The Presence,

creating new gardens of belonging

behind city walls

out in the jungle

deep in the mountains

preparing for the return

of the Many-Becoming-One.


(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

Sound: "A Passage In Bronze," Robert Rich, Rainforest

 

 

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Songs in the Open Air

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Songs in the Open Air

I. Rivers, Mountains, Names

 

Her body: Earth-Realm bone dust.

Her spirit: Graceful, flowing ether,

occasionally-visiting.

Her name: Now I call her Dao-Sentiment River.

 

She named me, too -- after mountains not of this Earth.

I had thought it would make me solid,

but when I look to the West each day,

I still feel the river's teaching

carving another part of me away.

 

II. Singing, Disrobing, Flying

 

When I was teaching

I used to think of the wolf as my totem. 

 

Now,

Zen-Mind following Dao,

I think it must be the cicada.

 

Their drifting cacophonic symphony 

wafts through the humid air --

blasts through the open sliding door,

sends me traveling back

to lives where this was always the soundtrack.

 

Like then,

every season I am stepping out of another layer of skin. 

This is why, regardless of who you are,

I have nothing solid to bring you.

 

Cicada Teachings say:

At this rate, death will be a piece of cake.

We enter the world empty-handed

and leave the same way.

Nothing to ponder but singing, disrobing, flying.


(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

Sound: Maestro-Sifu ambient composer Forrest Fang, Following The Ether Sun

 

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One-Hundred and Thirty-Two Views of the Moon

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One-Hundred and Thirty-Two Views of the Moon

"To be alone for any length of time

is to shed an outer skin. The body is

inhabited in a different way when we

are alone than when we are with others.

Alone, we live in our bodies as a question

rather than a statement."

--David Whyte, from Consolations


Eleven years shedding skin

drinking deep from the well

of rough training.

 

Intimate with territories of heart-mind

reserved for orphans, widows, exiles,

no skin remains except lush word-filled silence.

 

This body, in winter,

corpse-like under the blanket of night, dreaming;

in summer, jaguar-like, soundless, observant, moving through the humid dark.

I ponder what color Chan robe the Spirit of Time will put on these bones,

and even that thought falls away.

 

Then there are days like this one

when I wonder if, in some parallel reality

beyond the great hallway of billowing quantum curtains,

there is another version of me

standing on a high hill with another version of you

overlooking a valley

talking about how the flowers

seem to shimmer in the afternoon light.


(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

For more information about the lead-in quote, the book Consolations, and other poetry and prose writing of David Whyte, visit his site: David Whyte & Many Rivers

For more info about French/Malagasy ethno-ambient musician Ujjaya, visit either his Facebook Page or Soundcloud Page.

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turn, look

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turn, look

--in memory of Jack Collom (Nov. 1931 - July 2017)


"It is only with the heart

that one can see rightly.

What is essential is invisible to the eye."

--Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince


Wave-washed feet

teary eyes dried by wind,

you've turned to face

the last direction of travel now.

 

Your words still vibrate in the shimmering air --

land like a hot iron cannonball at the back of this skull.

"There are no maps, so stop looking for one."

 

The mapmaker, you taught us, is none other than these senses here

and the messages and lessons presented at every corner.

 

Like an old crow at dawn, you'd squawk:

"Turn, turn, turn...look, look, look!"

 

Now the signs come from everywhere.

The inner and outer worlds have collapsed into one

like Basho's frog offering up crystal-clear instructions with a...

Plop!

 

There is no approaching the world the same way today.

Nothing to do but

turn, turn, turn

look, look, look.

 

Jack Collom / image: Boulder Poetry Tribe

Jack Collom / image: Boulder Poetry Tribe


(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

Jack Collom was a poet and essayist who taught in the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. His courses ranged from haiku and world contemplative poetry to courses focused on the evolving lineage of ecological poetry. All poetry involves observation; Sir Jack specialized in teaching this to poets.

soundscape: "Ollin Arageed," by the late, great Hamza el Din - Nubian Egyptian composer, oud and tar player, who also studied biwa in Tokyo, and worked closely with both the Grateful Dead and the Kronos Quartet. His Sounds True-produced album, A Wish, can be found here: A Wish.

image: "Looking Up Into Maple Leaves," Breitenbush Hot Springs, Oregon, Douglas Beasley. To learn more about Douglas Beasley's photography or his Vision Quest Photo Workshops, visit: Earth Meets Spirit

 

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Dodem

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Dodem

dodem (Algonquian) (disambiguation: totem): a spirit being, often in animal form, that is tutelary in function and serves as an emblem for an individual or group of people. 

 

"In general it can be said that for modern man technology is an imbalance that begets dissatisfaction with work and with life. It estranges man from his natural versatility of action and thus allows many of his instincts to lie fallow...Considered on its own merits, as a legitimate human activity, technology is neither good nor bad, neither harmful nor harmless. Whether it be used for good or ill depends entirely on man's own attitude, which in turn depends on technology. The technologist has something of the same problem as the factory worker. Since he has to do mainly with mechanical factors, there is a danger of his other capacities atrophying. Just as an imbalanced diet is injurious to the body, any psychic imbalances have injurious effects in the long run and need compensating." 

-- C.G. Jung, September 1949 --


People go on and on about miracles.

How about the one within us?

 

We all answer to it.

The one

when and where

despite all protestations

justifications

for how we're going to skirt the subject,

the soul, with its full mouth of teeth,

announces it will be having its way

with what you've been calling "you."

 

This is when you realize there's nowhere to hide.

Nowhere to go where the Eyes of the Cosmos aren't upon you.

This is when you meet the ancient animal

that has always been dwelling deep inside you.

                    <+>

There is an animal within you.

Fur, feather, hide, scale, mane.

It is calling out to you from beneath the layers.

Beak, talon, claw, bone, fang.

 

It exists to balance you

to remind you

of the rest of you --

to provide you with a nearly-forgotten tutelage.

 

Unregimented

undomesticated

it offers you the parts of you that you've forgotten

that really know about survival.

Humbly receive the offering.

You're going to need it.

                     <+>

There is also a river within you.

With enough time

dwelling in unnaturalness

an erosion of its banks begins

until one day

part of the bank gives way

churns-up the silt of all you haven't been looking at

and what had been a straight-flowing river

bends away, forceful and insistent,

from anything that does not promote true wholeness for you.

 

This is when novices-in-training

often conjure up a juicy distraction.

The animal within licks its lips

and whispers: hors d'oeuvres.


(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

To learn more about the potent sound medicine of Forrest Fang, visit Forrest Fang. To learn about the recording Gongland, visit the Gongland Bandcamp Page.

Jung quote: Published in Zurcher Student, newspaper of the Federal Polytechnic Institute of Zurich, cited in The Earth Has A Soul: The Nature Writings of C.G. Jung, edited by Meredith Sabini, North Atlantic Books, 2002]

 

 

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The Year of Moving Light

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The Year of Moving Light

The ropes have been cut.

The bindings have fallen away.

It feels like New Year's Day

beneath this unnecessary armor.

 

A blocked river of ki in the belly

begins stretching its mountain dragon spine.

An uncoiling has begun. 

Posture and mind respond in kind.

 

Thoughts turn to mountains.

Mountains I've walked.

Mountains I've slept in.

Mountains I've bled in.

Mountains I've cried in.

Mountains I will die in.

Mountains.

 

Some jagged like wolf teeth.

Some rounded like a lover's hips.

Some a grandmother bestowing healing wisdom.

Others fierce, ungiving

a troubled ascending

bare feet on sharp blades.

Mountains.

 

A "year of immovable wisdom" complete,

Heart-Mind turns toward a "year of moving light."

Renewal of focus

Renewal of vows

Renewal of refuge

Tempering body-mind.

 

The wise ones have always seen mountains as a mother.

The Way - a testing, a humbling, an entering embrace.

Then, a return.

A renewal of spirit to serve the Spirit of Life, resilient.

 

Though slow-moving,

aching even,

I drop the armor at the foot of the mountain

and begin my preparations.


(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

image: "Starry Night" by Lee Eunyeol 

sound: Eitetsu Hayashi

 

 

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 Yu: Apprenticing to Your Rainbow Body

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Yu: Apprenticing to Your Rainbow Body

"Yu literally means 'to play,' 'to enjoy oneself in a leisurely fashion,' or 'to go on a journey.' Zen inherits this term from Taoism and suggests free and easy wandering is the way we should experience the world."--William Scott Wilson, The One Taste of Truth: Zen and the Art of Drinking Tea


Go through this world of illusion

in free and easy wandering.

--from the Kannon-kyo, Chapter 25, Lotus Sutra

I used to doubt the astrologers.

Accepting an assignment to track for a year

the days this skin has been stretched

over the frame of these times,

I now pay heed.

 

I used to doubt oracles.

Having witnessed the coming together of elements --

the free-flowing dance of thunder, earth, sky, mountain, and lake,

The Book of Changes is now a daily companion.

 

I used to keep a strong scaffolding in place.

It separated Pure Land from Zen, Zen from Dao, 

Dharma quarantined from the way of mountain spirits.

With a sudden glance in the middle of a storm

the bottom dropped out

the scaffolding fell

along with my mind

and all of these nectars poured into the same vat.

 

Human speech falls short on this one; another poem that is not a poem.

It is about the moment you realize

you have been a stranger to yourself, and, thus, to everyone else.

It is about the moment you realize: There is no outside to your inside.

It is about the moment you realize

if you let go

your breathing and summer breezes will become enjoined.

 

I only share it with you

to break the trance of constructed worlds

and to inform you

that those shackles you wear

have a lock whose key

is resting in your left hand.


 

Student: How will it be when Maitreya, the Future Buddha, comes?

Master Taewŏn: Truly, it will be just like this.

--from Garden Chrysanthemums and First Mountain Snow:

Zen Questions and Answers from Korea, trans. Hongjin Park


(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

image: "Brocken Spectre," Tanzawa Mountains, Kanagawa Prefecture, Honshu, Japan, Shigeru Rokujuu

To learn more about Kanagawa, Japan-based electronic musician Sugai Ken, visit his On The Quakefish Bandcamp page.

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Effluence

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Effluence

You can't explain 'sitting in the fire' to someone with fire phobia.

You can't describe No-Mind to one invested in building-up the false self.

You can't convey the riches of true effluence

to people focused on cashing-in as "influencers."

It has nothing at all to do with affluence.

 

The ocean is the bride to the Rain God.

He sends his love notes through rivers that run down the mountain.

Equidistant in matter, simultaneous in time,

there is the deep mountain spring that knows everything

about the ancient method for feeding and restoring itself.

 

Someone once asked Dàxióng what her ultimate goal was.

She smiled, said nothing.

 

"No, really. Do you want to be widely known? Do you want to travel the lecture circuit?" the querent persisted.

She smiled, said nothing.


(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

To enrich your ambient home space with the mastery of Forrest Fang's recordings, follow the Ether Sun.

 

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Practice-Ground

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Practice-Ground

Date: 11 June 2017 / Coordinates: 32, 27, 44.315 North, 90, 6, 42.332, West

Path-Crossing: Comparing Notes

(Talking of Practice-Grounds Over Rice Wine

With the Householder Bright Mountain Forge)

 


In the early afternoon, I lost myself for hours

watching the slow winding roll

of the sun's golden hem edging the clouds.

 

In the late hours, I met up with Bright Mountain Forge ---

a householder, traveling through the region on business, heading home to the West.

 

Though his eyes were bright

his belly happy and round from feasting

his beard long and full in the Daoist-style,

his heart seemed stone-like, heavy.

 

He spoke of marriage, children, the Way of the Householder ---

precious memories and gifts he would never trade.

But he also spoke of mourning things ---

things that would not come to pass midway through his householder's life.

 

He explained that no one understood this grief,

which could break through any time, without a moment’s notice.

He said everyone he knew sang the same chorus: You have it all. What else is there?

 

Knowing that I currently 'live-into the call'

to long draughts of solitude, deep-flow artistry, and wandering,

he formally requested I "keep on keeping on"

and not lose my "practice-vigor."

 

"Practice for practice sake," he said,

"practice for yourself

in memory of our teachers

for a world that needs wisdom and beauty;

but think of me in your practice, too,

and when you doubt it, please push through."

 

I nodded with deep understanding,

having mourned my own list of things

that don't seem to be in the stars for this life.

I spoke of the Hermit Way

moving from bright gleaming idleness to movement to poetry,

then into nights of dimly-lit Silent Illumination.

But I also told of my own visit to the 'stations of mourning'

including grieving some of the very things

that are part of his daily practice-ground.

 

I replied:

 

"Practice for practice sake

practice for them

practice in memory of the lineage of householders

practice for a world that needs wise children and beauty;

but think of me in your practice, too,

and when you doubt it, please push through."

 

We parted that night, hearts gladdened,

feeling a new spark of solace

for who, what, where, and how we are.

He resumed his journey on the road.

I resumed my meditations beneath the stars.


(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

To learn more about the ambient soundscape collaborations of Chihei Hatakeyama and Federico Durand, visit the Bandcamp page for Chihei Hatakeyama.  

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:: numina terra ::::

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:: numina terra ::::

It's that time again.

The click of the clock arm says so.

The blink of your eye.

A deep inhalation.

 

The homesickness you've had since childhood stirs again,

becomes a new zenith inside you.

It will go unnoticed by most everyone

-- this slow pushing-off from the shore you're doing --

but it's time to leave the bones of anything we've called a "failure"

to bleach beneath this summer's New Sun.

 

Your gradual merging

with the world on the other side of these green branches

is the same mind-to-mind transmission as Bodhidharma's.

 

Though it is high noon on the longest day of the year

this solar feast is not a departure but an arrival.

It is a way-station as you take back up

the ancient art of washing the self clean

 in the river Numina Terra.


(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

soundscape: "Real-Life Mystery," from They Grow Layers of Life Within, Alio Die

image: "Telaraña", Guillermo Carballa

 

 

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