Above the Fog
the dark night of a soul
more than I can chew
a broken wisdom tooth.
Only the idea of self remains
Floating on a sea of cells;
Only heartbeats short of eternity
In breath after breath we dwell.
from the deep well
this glass of water.
Time is one apricot blossom.
Space, a bee.
The Universe, honey.
And, the Goddess of Spring?
chanting canyon streams
echoes from the canyon walls
raindrops on the river.
The sounds of rocks bouncing off rocks;
the shadows of trees traced on trees.
I sit, still.
The canyon river chants,
The sermon spun on the still point:
dropping off eternity, picking up time;
letting go of self, awakened to Mind.
Falling and rising - spheres of
Coming and going - lines of geese.
her baby sister
a sermon walking.
Pointing at the moon,
making a point
her lovely fingers.
Thousands of leaves
shake in the breeze
Bad karma bleeding
over centuries of hate;
a heartless eye for a blind eye,
a toothless scream for another.
One not two,
two not one
legs on a snake.
ticking my life away
a new born calf
let me nourish
like rain on a garden.
let me disappear
like geese going south.
Setting potted figs
along the warm southern wall
a goose flaps by.
at the still point of the Time beyond time,
Beyond pasts, within futures, this Moment
Now and forever, beyond minds.
Not knowing of Who or why
We stroll in rose gardens, and Love.
Precious flowers in the sky.
Wide mind, deep feelings ...
Buddha is dead.
But, if you meet the Buddha,
don't invent another god
or behead another demon; just
sip some tea under a tree.
"If you meet the Buddha, kill him."
- Linji Yizuan (Rinzai Gigen, Jap.), c 866 CE
The Mind is a vast Bodhi forest,
The body a Bodhi tree.
Dirt is in every cranny,
Flowers blossom, leaves fall.
The Bodhi Trees have been cut down,
The Bright Mirrors shattered.
Beginning with nothing,
Replant the trees, remake the mirrors.
Make one's mind like a mirror,
One's body like the Giving tree.
Reflect accurately and impartially;
Give fruit and shade.
olive branches droop,
ground fogs rise
Crape myrtle, brilliant red, bursting
Hiding the garden.
Some days, only the Garden, entire, serene;
Yet, hiding from sight, shy, single plants.
Seeing Both, seldom, but as One:
Sweat poured from my startled brow,
Dripping on the dry earth,
And all became Sunshine
And shadows of surprise unraveling.
Lost on Mt. Sumeru
the taste of snowflakes.
inked on the scroll
fancies of one hand clapping.
only ghosts about
The truth beyond words
her big grin.
I was thinking about "the Absolute"
(whatever that is)
yesterday. (Philosophers enjoy
the rush of mental masochism:
bondage to leathery ideas,
painful flagellation with cutting words,
the humiliation of utter confusion.)
Absolute Zero - Death!
Clearly, a deep shivering Super-Conducting
The Past: a second ago, a century ago...
Dead Time - absolutely kaputt!
in and out
body and mind
weeding new cuttings.
an iron Buddha
in the saying
the mystic's dilemma.
And before the Wise Ones appeared,
Forty million years of ducks in the mud.
Blowing out a candle
ten thousand miles away
Cutting up a duck for dinner.
A dog barks at nothing,
a thousand ducks twitch
winds of winter.
Has a duck the Buddha-Nature?
Stop quacking like a duck."
[One Short of a Baker's Dozen]
Not a leafbud
in a blue oak grove
shadowless winter noon.
no Temple bells
among the leaves
a dead frog.
a meadowlark trills
One week later
Six Directions of Green
Billions of leaf-buds.
pecking in the feeder
I lost myself there.
Leaping from the Ledge of Infinite Regress,
The Unmoved Mover fell into Formlessness:
Pure silence echoed between the galaxies,
Eons of eons vanished in a second,
Withered trees bloomed in fires,
Polar mountains melted, rivers went dry,
Thusness scattered in sixty directions,
Space became Time, time became things,
Black Holes filled with Nirvana,
A billion samadhi mirrors shattered,
Galaxies snuggled within a single skull,
Many became One, One only, only One.
Then, the Divine Illuminatrix in All Beings
Opened Her clouded Eye, to see:
Flowers in the Sky.
[Emptiness in Full Bloom]
gagging on their Truths
infants vomiting formula.
Nirvana trickles underground.
The dark pines edge the deepest shade,
While cherry blossoms set and fade.
Winter weeks we huddled by the hot stove,
Spring days we shivered in the sun,
Summer hours we sat in the shade,
Autumn minutes we stared at moon.
We had idle thoughts, we had no thoughts.
Life made our hearts cry, and it lifted our spirits high.
The ordinary, the exceptional,
The chosen, the accepted,
The very good, the very bad,
Fresh figs, rotten peaches,
The beautiful, the deformed.
They appeared and disappeared.
Samsara and Nirvana ....
Here and Gone.
Sunyata is form...
A blank journal; nine months to live.
Egg in the womb, waiting.
Shifu Miao Zhang Points the Way
"Mayoku walked around his old Daoist friend, Shifu Miao Zhang (师傅妙杖), three times and then thumped his staff on the ground. Maio Zhang stood up, walked around Mayoku once, tapped his cane three times on the wall, and said "The power of the wind can topple trees and is gone by morning. My cane can cut through the wind."
Zen Master Hakuin Ekaku asked his Daoist friend, Shifu Miao Zhang, "Two hands clap and there is a sound; what is the sound of one hand?" Miao Zhang picked up his beautiful cane in one hand, and then quickly tapped it three times on the floor. Hakuin Ekaku smiled and said, "Indeed, Miao Zhang's cane is louder than the sound of one hand, but it must be polished more."
Zhaozhou, who had been in poor health, asked his friend Miao Zhang, "Do the bees have Buddha nature?" Miao Zhang smiled and said, "The roses are so fragrant today, and the cherries so sweet. Let's walk in the garden and leave our crutches behind."
Zen Master Baqiao told his old friend, "If you have a staff, I will give you a staff; if you have no staff, I will take your staff away."
His friend, Shifu Miao Zhang, replied "I have a cane and you don't. Would you like to borrow yours?" Baqiao replied, "Miao Zhang, you will have to walk into Hell!" Miao Zhang raised his eyebrows and said, "Well, Baqiao, then I will need to borrow my cane for the long hot walk. Sorry, but I can't lend yours to you."
Gathering together in an orchard of blooming sweet lime trees, the students waited for their esteemed teacher, Kasyapa. Slowly walking down the dirt path, relying on his danda walking staff for balance, Kasyapa joined his students. He sat quietly for a long time, enjoying the fragrance of the lime blossoms. Finally, he raised his danda staff. Everyone stared at Kasyapa - serious, intent, focused, and silent. Only Shifu Miao Zhang smiled, and then lifted his cane and pointed at a lime blossom. Kasyapa pointed his danda at Shifu Zhang. Another transmission was completed. The sacred thread remained unbroken.
Nan-ch'uan asked Miao Zhang, "Is Ordinary Mind the Dao?" Miao Zhang said, "No. My mind is not ordinary, so the Dao is a dream within a dream. My cane is ordinary, so it walks with me along the Watercourse Way, pointing to the Abode of the Dao in the new forest."
Zen Master Seung Sahn held up his staff in front of old Shifu Miao Zhang, and said "Then, Miao Zhang, what are this staff, this sound and your mind? Are they the same or different? If you say "same," I will hit you thirty times. If you say "different," I will also hit you thirty times. Why?" Miao Zhang lifted his cane slowly, grounded himself, prepared to block a strike and then said, "Don't know! Same or different, nobody can hit the sound of our minds."
Zen Master Shuzan held out his short staff in front of his Daoist friend, Shifu Miao Zhang, and said "If you call this a short staff, you oppose its reality and are clinging. If you do not call it a short staff, then you ignore the fact. Now what do you wish to call this?"
Miao Zhang smiled, dropped and pointed to his cane, and said "Yesterday it was a wooden walking stick that helped without speaking. Tomorrow it may become firewood, crackling in the flames."
Shifu Miao Zhang was waiting by a riverbank with a group of very poor women and children for a small ferry boat. Suddenly, a naked Digambar Sadhu appeared. The Sadhu, holding a sword in his hand, proceeded to walk across the rushing water of the river, and then walk back across the water towards Miao Zhang. Everyone was stunned and in awe, but fearful of the powers of the Sadhu. The Sadhu asked Miao Zhang, "Foreigner, my gleaming sword has great magical powers, what can your crooked staff do?" Miao Zhang said, "It enabled my wobbly legs to walk to work each day, and to earn enough money to pay for all of us here to ride the ferry boat safely across these dangerous waters. When we get to the other shore, can I buy you some food and clothes, holy man?"
Zen Master Yunmen Wenyan and Shifu Miao Zhang were walking together in the hills behind the monastery one cloudy autumn afternoon. It began to rain steadily on the two old friends. Yunmen said, My staff has changed into a dragon and is swallowing up the heaven and earth. So, my friend, where do mountains, rainfall, rivers and the great earth come from? Miao Zhang was quiet for awhile, stopped on the trail, and then held his cane in his hand with the tip pointing to the sky. He said, Yunmen, as for the source of their coming, the tip of my cane points to the fecund depths of vast emptiness, the crook end to the endless inter-marriages of ten thousand realities, and my hand grasps the heartwood of the ordinary mind. So, my friend, Yunmen, where are they all going?
Master Tung Kwo asked Sifu Miao Zhang, "Show me where the Tao is to be found." Miao Zhang replied, "There is no place my cane or my mind goes or rests where the Tao cannot be found."
Xita asked Shifu Miao Zhang, "What is sudden enlightenment?" Shifu Zhang threw his staff on the muddy ground. Xita asked Miao Zhang, "What is gradual enlightenment?" Shifu Zhang stomped on his staff three times.
Chao-chou asked Miao Zhang, "The ten thousand dharmas return to the One. Where does the One Retun?" Miao Zhang said, "Last week my cane fell off a precipice on Wudang mountain, and was never seen again. Yesterday, my cane was burned to nothing, leaving no ashes. Today is a new day, and my cane is just an ordinary wood cane."
Zen Master Ummon held up his staff in front of his Daoist friend, Shifu Miao Zhang, and said "This staff leapt up to the Eighth Heaven into the hands of the lame Zhong Kui who used it to awaken the Green Dragon in the Eastern Sea."
Miao Zhang said, "Ummon your poetry is lovely, but my gnarled cane cannot hear you."
The powerful tribal chief, Aaron, once told Shifu Miao Zhang that "Our tribe's god is very powerful and helps us defeat others. I once threw my staff on the ground and it turned into venomous snakes. Another time, I shook my staff in anger and made all the water in the wells and creeks turn into blood." Miao Zhang looked at Aaron and softly said, "I've used my cane to dig up roots to feed some hungry children. Fortunately, chief, our gentle gods mostly leave us alone."
Toju Zenchu brandished his staff before Daoist Shifu Miao Zhang and challenged him "Miao Zhang, speak and you get whacked with Nanten's staff. Do not speak and you still get whacked with Nanten's staff." Shifu Zhang stood up quickly, lifted his cane strongly in defense, and quietly said, "Yunmen's shit stick stinks and Nanten's staff is cracked! I am leaving now to take my evening walk. Goodbye."
- Michael P. Garofalo,
Way of the Short
Shifu Miao Zhang, Teacher with the Magical (Wondorous) Staff, 师傅妙杖
Zen Master Hakuin (1686-1768) painted a Dragon Staff with horsehair whisk
He would give this painting to his lay students who passed the Zen koan,
"What is the sound of one hand clapping."
on shaded grass
Sermons by Cherry Blossoms.
Beneath the pond scum
the pebble drops away.
Crazy Cloud Ikkyu
skin on a skeleton
listening to the dead.
The True Gardener of No Title deadheads
Persona after persona, shears the hedge
Of endless desires, digs up the dank
Roots of illusions, prunes out the rank
Suckers of sectarian ire, and weeds away
Attachments that choke out the Way.
If you have a hoe, we will work together.
If you don't have a hoe, water.
If you have a hoe, She will give you another.
If you don't have a hoe, She will take it away.
Last day of Spring,
ripe purple plums drop
form is emptiness.
First day of Summer,
ditch completely dry
emptiness is form.
even as peaches ripen.
Exactly at noon
the branch cracks,
loaded with peaches.
Beyond barbed wire
Beyond, beyond, far beyond
Cows marching Over.
Exuberant young dog:
wants in, wants out,
a mind stood up
yellow poplar leaves
Up in an old oak
a woodpecker knocks
the sky opens.
Behind the iron Buddha's
a cricket chirping.
good North, good South
good East, good West,
good here, bad wherever
the frozen night
Don't know mind
as wide as the empty sky;
above the dogma fogs
blinding the brilliant eyes
with sugared religious lies.
the scarecrow's reach
the Milky Way.
Wide-eyed staring into the Rich silence
Of mirrored space devoid of mind;
Not projecting or connecting, but reflecting
Supreme non-fictions, Things
Naked as they are, as they are ...
covering my coffin
in a black hole,
the weight of eternity
warmed by whiskey
we pass the night.
Stone Lagoon and sky
Faces in the rolling clouds;
Thinking out loud, nothing strange,
Always Mind at its Game.
preaching the Dharma
the suchness of things
[In memory of R.H. Blyth.]
a death poem
their home is sacred
The Other-Fulfilling Prophesy comes true:
What you never thought you'd become, you do.
Soul Mates Extraordinaire
or hiked around Mt. Sumeru,
patted Chao-chou's dog
or teased Nansen's cat,
blocked the Bodhidharma's uppercut
or slept in Han Shan's dirty hut,
borrowed Wendy Johnson's garden rake
or rode the Ox through the Gateless Gate.
I never, ever
suffered the Great Doubt
or solved any of Rinzai's riddles,
looked for sticks in Yun-men's crapper
or broke Tassajara bread with Shunryu Suzuki,
minded the flapping flag for Hui-neng the sage
or heard Jiyu-Kennett move her whisk in Mt. Shasta's shade,
chanted on Mt. Tamalpais with Whalen, Ginsberg and Snyder
or saw Dogen's True Eye open just a little bit wider.
I never did.
Not in 55 lifetimes.
Yet, it seems like I did.
Reality appeared just So.
This I know:
their heritage is in my heart,
their myths mine,
these dear Friends of the Buddha Mind.
Interview with the Teacher, over before it began;
He rings the bell; next dokusan.
the First Precept
[The Five Precepts]
In the blink of Time's eye
we lived, we died;
while stone faced Shasta was silent.
Speechless, Dogen stared,
Shivering in a turning white world
Raising cold dawn moons.
Bright white millions on millions
Of drifting flowery flakes
Fell fast from the Echizen sky.
Ice pure, elemental, quintessential
Wet, imperfect, flowing time
Packed by the hour, deeper
Deeper down to Winter's core.
The Temple of Eternal Peace creaked,
Snowflakes gathered on Dogen's robe,
One icy crystal streaked the True Eye
Glimpsing into Itself;
Frozen flowers in the sky.
[Emptiness in Full Bloom]
I turn and stare into the foggy mist;
Wondering, wondering, about what I missed.
taken in a trailer
fruit in a basket
The cows have vanished down the road,
and the last clouds have floated away.
We sit together, the valley and me,
until only the valley remains.
(Thanks to the Taoist poet Li Po.)
Loosing ground from unconscious rounds
Of the "This is Not It" mantra sounds;
Burning holes in my soul
Over and over, no loophole
For escape. None! Replay Mind - Spellbound.
Six steps forward and
Seven steps back
The Earth remains.
of the last cherry.
Railing against Do-Nothing Zen
Ekaku Haikuin presses that one hand, hard,
stamps his staff
clap, clap, clap, Clap!
Shouting, spittle flying,
he prods, and pokes, and preaches
till the fawning monks scatter.
Haikuin sits alone the long cold
gazing into the fires of hell.
the walls of Shoin-ji;
night boats pass in silence.
An acorn falls
cooled in the shade.
Leaf after leaf
the fall of summer.
"You are That."
i am not That,
but part of That am i
and i a bit of That,
for the time-being,
for awhile, for a lifetime,
while That changes.
"That Thou Art."
Thou are not That,
except "That" as understood,
as idea, as assumed, as imagined;
think i am, believe i am, wish i was;
while That changes what i am,
or will be.
"That" is elusive,
the edge of the Big Everything,
at either end of the inside of infinity...
that is the way that That is.
Not like this piece of popcorn
on the tip of my tongue.
This cabbage, these carrots,
These potatoes, these onions
Will all soon become me.
Such a tasty fact.
Bless the farm!
Bless the market!
Bless the kitchen!
The raspy-voiced crow
perched on a pine pole
preached the Winged Dharma;
wayward birds trembled, fearing
rebirth as human beings.
Between the Sun
and the nearest Black Holes,
Last day of
leafless walnut trees
form is emptiness.
First day of
clear sky to Mt. Shasta
emptiness is form.
forms are forms,
emptiness is speechless.
Be humble, for you
are made of
beans and seeds.
Be noble, for you
are made of
rivers and sunshine.
Be joyful, for you
have tasted one of
No stars or orchards,
Only ground fog
Virudhaka, Guardian of the South Gate,
The Boundless Diamond King, Tseng-chang Tian, with shimmering sword in hand,
Blue as the Great Sky, spurring growth, increasing grandeur,
Subduing demons, frightening evil ones, cutting through ignorance,
Vowing to help everyone master limitless approaches to Dharma.
Dhritarashtra, Guardian of the East Gate,
The Powerful Diamond King, Chο-kwo Tian, in tune with the Wise,
White as the Shining Sun, Protector, Energizer, Honoring the Three Treasures,
Keeping Treasured kingdoms whole, Saver of the Earth,
Helping unravel the illusions of self, and freeing the slaves of Mara,
Vowing to aid all who strive to achieve the Supreme Awakening.
Vaishravana, Guardian of the North Gate,
The All Hearing Diamond King, To-wen Tian, listening to the endless sorrows,
Yellow as the Mystic Rose, Seated and Silent, Compassionate,
Silencing the falsehoods, Singing the Dharma, Preserving the Word,
Vowing the eradicate vexations without end.
Virupaksha, Guardian of the West Gate,
The All Seeing Diamond King, Kwang-mu Tian, unblinking in the face of death,
Red Eyed and Ever Vigilant, Eyes of the Diamond Kings, Seeing the Unseen,
Subduing serpents of vice, keeping enemies in the dark, holding the Sacred Vajra,
Vowing to help Enlighten Sentient Beings without number.
These Four Diamond Kings protecting the Sacred Worlds,
Active day and night on Mt. Sumeru and in the Ten Thousand Realms,
Rewarding the good and reforming the evil ones,
Overcoming all obstacles,
Fearless Defenders of the Middle Way,
Bodhisattvas ferrying followers to the Other Shore,
Sending Dragons into the deepest seas, riding Tigers to the Mountains,
Moving the Clouds with Their Hands;
Yet, the Diamond Kings all bow in deep respect,
To the Great Dharma Lord they serve forever."
- The Buddha's Warrior Attendants Pound the Mortar
burned to nothing.
[Siddhartha Gautama, circa: 4/8/563-483 BC]
Michael P. Garofalo
A callused palm and dirty fingernails
precede a Green Thumb.
Complexity is closer to the Truth.
Sitting in a garden and doing nothing is high art everywhere.
Does a plum tree with no fruit have Buddha Nature? Whack!!
The only Zen you'll find flowering in the garden is the Zen you bring there each day.
Dearly respect the lifestyle of worms.
All enlightened beings are enchanted by water.
Becoming invisible to oneself is one pure act of gardening.
Priapus, lively and naughty, aroused and outlandish, is the Duende de el Jardin.
Inside the gardener is the spirit of the garden outside.
Gardening is a kind of deadheading - keeping us from going to seed.
The joyful gardener is evidence of an incarnation.
One purpose of a garden is to stop time.
Time will tell, but we often fail to listen.
Leafing is the practice of seeds.
- Michael P. Garofalo, Pulling Onions
Encounters with Master Chang San-Feng
I first met
San-Feng above the forest,
near the clear spring,
when gathering clouds darkened the day,
and Mt. Shasta was silent.
His long beard was black as emptiness,
ear lobes to his shoulders,
holding obsidian in his hand,
pointing to the sun,
eyes staring into infinity,
his long body clothed in silence.
We exchanged "hellos"
smiled and bowed,
a barbarian and an Immortal,
both panting from the climb,
between our rocky minds.
After billions upon billions of heartbeats past
(for he must have been 888 years old),
I was so bold
as to ask the ancient one
for the sacred mantra of yore.
He lifted his whisk,
and brushed my face;
I could not speak,
my lips were stone,
I was alone.
- Michael P. Garofalo
Master Chang San Feng
Standing still in the
circle of trees, in the sacred space,
one wet and chilly morn,
feet rooted, turtle toes clawing the earth, sunk deeply down;
twisted like a dragon, alert, poised, ready to fly;
settled like a bear, strong, full of power, gathering;
looking through the tiger's eye, mind-intent, penetrating;
embracing the World of Body, Mind, and Spirit,
as ancient as Now, the Three Realms, all still, all one.
From the edge, the
cosmic circle opened,
Chang San-Feng slipped inside, smiling,
he stroked his long black beard and spoke softly,
"Ah, another old man standing so still in San Ti Shi.
Continue, my friend, stand in peace, touch the mind.
Xuan Wu guards the Gate, the Turtle chants, the Snake rises, and
The subtle winds of understanding blow down the centuries.
When still, soar like the Black Dragon; when moving, walk like the Mountain.
Tame the Tiger within, ride the Tiger to the temple, and roar in silence.
Awaken like the Bear from the winter of the soul, and rise like a Man.
Feel the vital energies from bone to brain,
Sense the Great Tao before you Now,
Drop delusions, enter the Gate of Mystery,
Embrace the Center, Empty, unattached, ready to be filled
With boundless beauty, everything There, marvelous beyond words."
The cottonwood leaves
spoke with the wind,
the sun rose over the shadows,
my legs shook a little;
the cosmic circle trembled,
Xuan Wu's sword flashed in the sun,
Master Chang disappeared in the trees.
After reaching for the needle
at the bottom of the sea,
I looked up, one summer's eve,
to see old Chang San-Feng open the garden gate,
and join me for Tai Chi.
We said not a word -
hands moving like clouds,
fingers grasping sparrow's tails,
faces smiling, feeling the sun drop,
glimpsing a half moon climbing the clear sky.
without a ripple of memories,
Space embraced a crane cooling its wings,
Being began to sing
softly in tune with the moon.
My dusty black dog
sensing something on the warm wind;
speaking her mind,
Master Chang was
Leaving one shoe on a beanpole, and
a page of poems -
mementos for mortals.
danced wing to wing
- Michael P. Garofalo
Master Chang San Feng
A fly on my finger
rubs his feet
every hair alive.
Stalled imagination, repeating plot's old,
A dull shovel lifting wiser men's gold.
Thinking when reading, otherwise not;
Museless, unleavened, a nondescript pot.
This Halloween night, we cut and eat,
Fuyu persimmons, firm and sweet.
scattered by pranksters,
resting in pieces.
keeping out of touch,
outside space and time,
an eyeless bunch, not saying much.
Mouthless, what can they say?
They can't even pray.
- Metaphysical Duets, #2
Standing at the Mysterious
Centered in the Eternal Now,
Balanced in Body and Open in Mind,
Rooted into the Sacred Space,
Motionless as the Golden Mountain,
Fingers around the Primeval Sphere.
Dragons and Tigers are still dreaming -
Ready for Rebirth.
I breathe in, the World Breathes Out.
The Gate of Space opens;
Heaven moves and Yang is born.
The hands move out, embracing the One.
The mind settles and is clear.
The Dragon Howls,
Ravens fill the Vast Cauldron,
Mind forms melt like mercury,
Spirit rises in the Clouds of Eternity.
Yin appears like the moon at dusk.
I breathe out, the World Breathes In.
The Doors of Emptiness close;
Earth quiets and Yin is born.
The hands move in, entering the One.
The body settles and becomes whole.
The Tiger Roars,
The Great Ox is nourished by the Valley Spirit,
Substances spark from flaming furnaces,
Essence roots in the Watery Flesh.
Yang appears like the sun at dawn.
Dragons and Tigers
Transformed within the Mysterious Pass -
Chanting and Purring.
"Opening at the Mysterious Pass"
While double digging dry soil,
and pulling weeds, my meditation began.
Suddenly, visions were unearthed,
from deep deep down,
my past lives bubbled up,
Once, carried the immortal,
Zhang Guo Lao, for years and years and years,
as he rode, smiling, seated backwards,
on my white donkey back.
Once, slimed my
day by day
up the side of Mt. Meru.
Once, was a knarled
in the garden at Gesthemane.
Once, flopped on the
deck of a fishing boat,
tossing back and forth,
gasping, gasping ...
eyes open, then died.
Once, awoke as a man
Shoveling in the sun,
March 27, 2005
The crickets are silent,
And the night slipped away;
Sitting together, the garden and I,
Until only the garden remains.
If one sees me in forms,
If one seeks me in sounds,
He practices a misleading way.
He cannot see the essence of creeds:
All conditioned creeds
are like dreams, illusions, bubbles, shadows,
like dew drops and a lightning flash:
contemplate them thus.
Creeds and doctrines are like a raft
to carry one to the other shore,
and then to relinquish.
Neither cling to the raft forever,
or reject it when drowning.
become a strong swimmer.
- Mike Garofalo,
Way Blog: An Honest Doubt
Paraphrase of the Diamond Sutra
"Who am I?"
Such a strange question,
by weekend seekers of the Lost Psyche.
they blather about their true selves,
their Grand Soul lost somewhere outside their petty lives,
hidden away and blocked by fleeting fleshy passions,
stolen away by the finite soma and mundane mind.
Their Real Self: pure, eternal, blissful, free, true, wonderful;
right around the supernatural corner,
waiting for them like a blind date.
You know who you are!
You are a unique body - interdependent with the watery world;
a boxcar of moving memories - a rich history;
known from the fruits of your work;
meshed with some family, holding somebody dear;
Somebody - unique as the fingerprint of your DNA;
named, spoken for, listening, and ...
Your search for "yourself",
your anxious questioning,
makes no sense.
A stale mantra,
a face before you were born koan:
"Who am I?", sterile, silly,
Yet, following an irrelevant spiritual advisor's advice,
You try to figure it out, for hours and weeks,
befuddled, awed by your confusion, thinking
It's your puny powers of meditation or belief or determination
that keep you from discovering
The Holy Grail of the Genuine Self.
You know who you are!
You might want to change who you are,
or forget who you were,
or tell others about who you are,
or learn why you get tricked into asking yourself this foolish question ...
but those are quite different issues.
- Mike Garofalo, "Who am I," he asked himself, June 11, 2006
Cloud Hands: Taijiquan and Qigong
Quotes, Sayings, Proverbs, Poetry, Maxims, Quips, Clichιs, Adages, Wisdom
A Collection of Over 3,500 Quotes Arranged by Over 135 Topics
Many of the Documents Include Recommended Readings and Internet Links.
Over 6 MB of Text.
Compiled by Michael P. Garofalo
Green Way Research, Valley Spirit Grove, 2001-2011
Red Bluff, California
All Rights Reserved
You are welcome to quote from this document.
Please credit as follows:
Michael P. Garofalo, Above the Fog
E-mail Mike Garofalo in Red Bluff, California
A Short Biography of Mike Garofalo
Poems by Mike Garofalo
Haiku Poems by Mike Garofalo
Poetry by Michael Garofalo
Taoism Short Poems
Zen Short Poems
Tai Chi Chuan, Taijiquan Poetry
Zen Poetry by Michael P. Garofalo
Above the Fog
Poems by Michael P. Garofalo