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Meetingbrook Dogen & Francis Hermitage Update,
December 2000

At Christmas, Three Poems


Here is how to dwell in this existence:
be born, wake up, and disappear –

No one else can tell you
how to do this, listen

with the voice hidden in silence
there, there you are



What is seen
in Bethlehem –

Christ is born
today we sing

what is
seeing today



Child, child
the cold

night clarifies
your light


May each of us ripen and continue completing, realizing, and embodying the wholeness of the way of love! Christus natus est, venite adoremus! Christ is birthing, let us come to word within this wonderful gift!

With gratitude,
     , Sando and Mini ,
     and all at Meetingbrook this Christmas, 2000

Gift: Seeing and Tasting

Clear plastic is batten-nailed to the breezeway windows, cellar bulkhead, and door from barn to house. Firewood delivered by Joel is brought into barn, the rest covered with tarps. Sunflower seed is poured into three hanging feeders and the tray box in the hands of the large St Francis, the bird feeder we mind for Ben and Mary, edging the corner of the farmhouse sorely needing paint. Storm windows are lowered into place. The ground tightens into itself and will not budge for a season’s while. Wool hats over ears.

Come to the water all you who are thirsty;
though you have no money, come!
Buy and eat; come, buy wine and milk
without money, free!
Why spend your money on what cannot nourish
and your wages on what fails to satisfy?
Listen carefully to me,
and you will have good things to eat
and rich food to enjoy.
Pay attention, come to me;
 listen and you will live.
                                   - Isaiah, 55)

Daylight dims behind Ragged Mountain in early afternoon. Snowmaking machines stand poised at brown ski-trail edges and give off what frozen crystal they can now that temperatures burrow below freezing and no snow lay yet. Up at the brook water flows over stones that crust lightly with slick clear skim with each splash jumping from the tumble down. Hosmer Pond is closed tight. Loose-fitting windows on second floor of the old cape begin to ice over as moisture sneaks thru weathered frames these cold nights. Tufted titmouse and chickadee ferry from cedar tree to feeder perch just ahead of darkness. Solstice nears.

We sit every morning now at 6:05am. Beginning dark, ending dawn. We chant five mornings a week at 6:40am. We do an hour of Lectio Divina on Saturday mornings, and a two-hour mindfulness practice with final psalms or sutra Sunday evenings. Winter prayers.

Like a broken gong
Be still, be silent.
Know the stillness of freedom
 Where there is no more striving.
                                            (-Buddha in the Dhammapada)

The hermitage is graced with heavy mahogany table that Janet left for us. Her statue of Francis from the island stands beside the altar near her seated Buddha. Pictures and prayer-cards of loved ones who’ve died rest on small table with Hungarian Janosbacsi seated in paused porcelain stillness whittling vigil. Candlelight cheers.

The routine of the bookshop/bakery and the hermitage settles in for this season of contemplation and transition. Buddha is enlightened by seeing the morning star. A young woman brings him milk. The word of God leaps through stillness and silence of night to earth, and Christ is born. A young mother provides milk. Shepherds see a child. Magi see an easterly star. Animals chew straw. This Advent we are pleased for our small portion of bread and wine. Divinity appears.

Though he was in the form of God
Jesus did not deem equality with God
something to be grasped at.
 Rather, he emptied himself…
                                                            (- Paul, Philippians 2:6)

Gift. All is gift.

With love…
, Sando and Mini

6Dec2000, Feast of St Nicholas

November 2000 Update
October 2000 Update
September 2000 Update
August 2000 Update
July 2000 Update
June 2000 Update
May 2000 Update
April 2000 Update
March 2000 Update
February 2000 Update
January 2000 Update
December 99 Update 
November Update

September Update
August Update



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Meetingbrook Hermitage
64 Barnstown Rd.,
Camden, Maine USA 04843
Meetingbrook Bookshop & Bakery
50 Bayview St. (Cape on the harbor)
Camden, Maine USA 04843
e-mail: mono@meetingbrook.org

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