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Meetingbrook Dogen & Francis  Hermitage Update
December 2002

Theme: The Rest is Silence

We have no idea when Christ is born.

Yes, there are historical and scriptural writings. Yes, there are a great number of believers who ground their faith in the story of Bethlehem with all its backdrop of prophecy and foreground of tradition. Yet, all the knowledge and belief is just knowledge and belief. Ideas, if you will, that attempt to understand what the mind cannot understand.

Christ is beyond mind. Christ is beyond history, scripture, belief, prophecy, tradition, and faith. Christ is the heart of what is here and now. Here and now, Christ is the voice of God.

A hard heart doesn't hear the voice of God. Not in silence, not in the conversations that intersect our thinking. "If today you hear God's voice, " Psalm 95 says, "harden not your heart."

No one sees what Buddha sees.

Do not accept anything simply
Because it has been said
By your teacher,
Or because it has been written
In your sacred books,
Or because it has been
Believed by many,
Or because it has been
Handed down by your
Accept and live only
According to what will enable
You to see truth face to face.

- Buddha

At prison today Joe said he’s facing some things. He used to consider himself a big fish in a small pond. Now that’s changed. Is enlightenment, such as Buddha’s, the realization there is no face? There is only looking itself. There are no fish in a pond. There is only pond -- fishing itself, swimming alone.

We cannot see the face of God and live. Why is that? Seeing God face to face is death -- death to ego, death to separate self, death to the powerful illusion we are alone. The voice of God sounds through everything and every sentient being. Seeing God face to face is a heart that is broken with compassion.

In the parking lot outside the restaurant across from the shop there were screams. A young person (man/woman?) was punching his or her own face and nose. Blood smeared. An older man and woman were in attendance. He tried to hold the hands. The person began banging their face on the car, Finally they agreed to get into the front seat, to have the seat belt buckled, to be driven away. This scene, autistic sorrow, covered the afternoon. The few in the shop spoke softly about the sorrow of autism. Silence deepened.

One need not be supernaturally inclined to hear the voice of God. God screamed in the parking lot that day. Our hearts sorrowed, softened, and stood ready to assist with helpless attention.

It begins with listening. To hear the voice of creation is to hear the voice of creator. To hear what is being said necessitates listening. To listen carefully is to enter a space of awareness that reveals something that often cannot be understood.

Psalm 95 ends, worrying, that unless we listen we’ll never enter the rest of God. The rest of God is our prayer. Prayer is opening heart and mind to the sound of what is being said, the sight of what is taking place. Open mind, open heart, and open eyes -- without judgment, without separating oneself from the whole that is there -- this is how we learn to pray.

I pray for those three in the parking lot that day. I pray for those hearing, seeing, and sorrowing the encounter. I pray for Christ.

I almost forget: he’d do anything for you. Love him
for what you might have become
and love him for what you are, not that far
from him. We are never that far. Love
everyone you can. The list gets longer and shorter.
We’re seldom better than weather. We’re nearly as good
as a woman we met in passing once at Invergarry.
Don’t be sorry, for him or for self. Love the last star
broken by storm. And love you. You hold it together.

( -- from poem Villager by Richard Hugo, in The Right Madness on Skye)

Christ is born in love and listening. We have no idea what we hold. The light of love moves through each sound listening to itself, each sight seeing itself, each heart loving itself.

Buddha sees through compassion. No one sees what each individual sees. To extinguish control allows unconditional acceptance unfolding reality.

When Christ arrives…What Buddha sees…

The rest is silence.

God rest ye!
, Sando , Cesco , Mu-ge
and all who grace Meetingbrook,

Email (mono@meetingbrook.org) or mail to
Meetingbrook, 50 Bayview St. Camden, Maine 04843.

November 2002 Update
October 2002 Update
September 2002 Update
August 2002 Update
July 2002 Update
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August 2001 Uptate
July 2001 Update
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December 2000 Update
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December 99 Update 
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