Thursday, November 17, 2011


A friend, the artist Linda Lynch, came by the other day and she shared with me this haiku.

Clear water
No front 
No back

Nice. And nice translation too. In Japan this is her most widely known poem:
morning glory!
the well bucket-entangled,
I ask for water

Which is the subject of the painting.  

Chiyo-Jo was a woman poet of 18th Century Japan. She lived the century after Basho but certainly welcomed the open heart of his poetics.  

Turns out that Linda, who lives in Columbus, NM, also sits and stares at a wall doing nothing. Studying self. Forgetting self. Whatever you want to call it. Shikantaza is a good word to call it, huh? You can see Linda's work here and see how Zen understanding and her work intertwine, especially with her expression of negative space. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Zen through the Side Door

Zen thru the Side Door

Those newcomers walked right by.
Polly yelled after them,
“There’re a bunch of side doors.
But this is the one we use.”

This little poem comes from an improvisational riff we had before services two Sundays ago. I had taped that note on the front door. We were expecting two new comers. Polly said that would be a nice name for a collection of poems, “Zen thru the Side Door.” We all laughed. The newcomers came, saw the sign, followed directions through the gate but then walked right pass the side door. Polly went after them and shouted “There’s a bunch of side doors. But this is the one we use.” Deb said, “Well, that’s sounds like a line in a poem.” “Oh, yes, it does!” Susan said. Thus our sangha’s collaborative poem.

I sent this story in our weekly newsletter and Susan followed up on it with two wonderful signs--one with Bodhidharma's fierce profile,  the other with with a bunch of side doors--which she framed and gifted to the sangha last Sunday. I'll photograph them and post soon.

By the way, this week we'll be back to our usual hours on Sunday (10am) and Tuesday (7pm). I apologize for having to cancel last night (Tuesday, 11/8)

--Bobby Kankin