Friday, September 18, 2020

a question


Peace and love are just as contagious as anger and fear. Your mindset affects the people around you and perpetually changes the world. The question is what kind of world are you creating?

~Vironika Tugaleva
Ukrainian-born author and poet



photo: lotus pond in Taiwan

ed. note: the lotus has long been regarded as a symbol of enlightenment, purity, rebirth, and triumph over obstacles.  In Buddhism, the journey of the lotus is said to mirror our own spiritual journeys. Mired in suffering, our spirits start out like a lotus bud, tightly closed and buried in deep in the muddy dark. It is only by living through Buddhist virtues and working our way through varied experiences that we can slowly open ourselves to enlightenment. Buddhists also regard the lotus as an important symbol of non attachment: it remains firmly planted in the mud while growing high above the water’s surface, unsullied by the dirt that surrounds it.

© (image only) 2015 bruce behnke

Saturday, September 12, 2020

finding the road






When people look for the road in the clouds
The cloud road disappears
The mountains are tall and steep
The streams are wide and still
Green mountains ahead and behind
White clouds to east and west
If you want to find the cloud road
Seek it within

~Han Shan

 

ed. note: Hanshan (寒山'Cold Mountain' 9th century)  Little is known of his work, since he was a recluse living in a remote region of China and his poems were written on rocks in the mountains he called home.  In the introduction to his translation of Han-shan's poems, Burton Watson writes, “If the reader wishes to know the biography of Han-shan, he must deduce it from the poems themselves.”


photos: Mt. Horaiji

鳳来寺山

 Aichi Prefecture, Japan 

(c) bruce behnke 2019

Thursday, September 10, 2020

a door that's always open




In Basho's house

there are no walls,
no roof, floors
or pathway -
nothing to show

where it is,
yet you can enter
from any direction
through a door
that's always open.

You hear voices
though no one
is near you -
you'll listen without
knowing you do.

Time and time
you get up to greet
a stranger coming
towards you.
No one ever appears.

Hours and seasons
lose their names -
as do passing clouds.
Rising moon and setting sun
no longer cast shadows.

Sounds drift in
like effortless breathing -
frogsplash, birdsong,
echoes of your
own footsteps.

It all ceases
to exist in Basho's house -
the place you've entered
without knowing
you've taken a step.

Sit down. Breathe
in, breathe out.
Close your tired eyes.
Basho is sitting beside you -
a guest in his own house.




~  Peter Skyzynecki
    Old/New World: New & Selected Poems

 ed. note: Matsuo Bashō (松尾 芭蕉, 1644 – November 28, 1694), was the most famous poet of the Edo period in Japan. During his lifetime, Bashō was recognized for his works in the collaborative haikai no renga form

photo: Ofuna, Japan
bruce behnke 2012

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

still left

 


think of all the beauty still left around you

and be happy


~Anne Frank


orchid and vanilla

photo: bruce behnke 2020

Friday, August 21, 2020

the audacity of hope

 









History says, Don't hope
On this side of the grave...
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up,
And hope and history rhyme.

So, hope for a great sea-change
On the far side of revenge.
Believe that a further shore
Is reachable from here.
Believe in miracles
And cures and healing wells.

~Seamus Heaney's "The Cure at Troy"
photo: bruce behnke (c) 2011



Tuesday, August 11, 2020

trees 1

 



Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

Hermann Hesse

Saturday, August 8, 2020

now




All you who seek the Way,

Please,

Do not waste this moment now.



~zen teaching




photo: (c) bruce behnke
all rights reserved
use by permission only