Sacred Tools

Poems

Simple Elegance

I've got a little picture in my mind of a clean and quiet place.
Everywhere you look it's completely natural.
The house is made of plaited rushes.
There's a good half-acre for growing tubers and flowers.

Beautiful birds perch on the cliffs
That encase a few clouds that hang around green peaks.
The world's red dust won't be able to get up here.
Simple elegance is better than saintliness or spirituality.

~ Venerable Master Hsu-yun V ~


Ma Chaitanyamayi Takes the Orange Cloth

Just as fish wearing scales swim the wide blue sea
And birds wearing feathers sail through the great sky
The soul of Consciousness wearing orange
Abides nowhere in vastness
Serving the world as the
Great Mother succors her children.


Not seeking, Not expecting

The ancient Masters were profound and subtle.
Their wisdom was unfathomable.
There is no way to describe it;
All we can describe is their appearance.

They were careful
as someone crossing an iced-over stream.
Alert as a warrior in enemy territory.
Courteous as a guest.
Fluid as melting ice.
Shapable as a block of wood.
Receptive as a valley.
Clear as a glass of water.

Do you have the patience to wait
'til your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
'til the right action arises by itself?

The Master doesn't seek fulfillment.
Not seeking, not expecting,
He is present, and can welcome all things.

~ Lao-tzu ~
China, approx. 400 B.C.


Excerpts from “Four Quartets”

from “East Coker”

I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
Whisper of running streams, and winter lightning.
The wild thyme unseen and the wild strawberry,
The laughter in the garden, echoed ecstasy
Not lost, but requiring, pointing to the agony
Of death and birth.

                                    You say I am repeating
Something I have said before. I shall say it again.
Shall I say it again? In order to arrive there,
To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not,
    You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy.
In order to arrive at what you do not know
    You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
In order to possess what you do not possess
    You must go by the way of dispossession.
In order to arrive at what you are not
    You must go through the way in which you are not.
And what you do not know is the only thing you know
And what you own is what you do not own
And where you are is where you are not.

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from “Little Gidding”

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always—
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.

– T.S. Eliot –
English poet, 1888 - 1965


Why Mira Can't Go Back To Her Old House

The colors of the Dark One have penetrated Mira's body; all other colors washed out.

Making love with the Dark One and eating little, those are my pearls and my carnelians.

Meditation beads and the forehead streak, those are my scarves and my rings.

That's enough feminine wiles for me. My teacher taught me this.
Approve me or disapprove me; I praise the Mountain Energy night and day.

I take the path that ecstatic human beings have taken for centuries. I don't steal money. I don't hit anyone. What will you charge me with? I have felt the swaying of the elephant's shoulders; and now you want me to climb on a jackass? Try to be serious.

~ Mirabai ~
translation by Robert Bly
India, 1498 - 1546


Ten Thousand Flowers

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter.

If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-Men ~
China, 1183 - 126



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