Sunday, May 20, 2012

Yatra in Lawson - coming up

I'm really looking forward to leading the yatra next weekend in north Lawson. I've been remembering some of the walks I've already taken there, and the haikus I've written. The archaeologist and beloved local, Father Eugene Stockton says that the mid-mountains are the negotiated territory for indigenous peoples, the place where tribes came together and meetings and ceremony took place.

The sacred mountain
sits with us too
not so far away

I've done quite a few walks in the area now. This walk /bike ride took place in spring.

In a cloud
of yellow petals and
his unkind words

 I did a reccie here with my friend Kate in late summer this year. The constant rain of summer had made huge potholes, rampant growth, soggy ground, brilliant flowers,   ... and..

Hundreds of frogs
croak an ode
to La Nina
My thanks to Kate, Maria, and Sue for being my buddie while I look around for the best routes.

A very suitable shape of puddle for a reccie on Australia Day

Straya day song
by lyrebirds and treecreepers - 
"Rain? What rain?"

  I also wrote this haiku on a reccie with Kate, and I put it on the flyer because it illustrates what a yatra is all about:

Drunken old trig
a pile of stones 
steadying it

When we pay attention to each step, or bring our attention back to the simple actions of the body moving along a track, it is like placing a stone around that trig. It is steadying. We are not so caught up by the endless stream of  thoughts and feelings. Sometimes when we're very caught up in that stream, it is like being drunk - pulled off balance, swaying. When we inhabit the present fully with whatever is in it, even if it is hurtful words, that is living fully. We're not captured by a desire to fantasize something nicer, for instance. So as those humble feet of ours on Saturday connect with the earth, we'll build a more solid foundation for living an authentic life.

Dana - the Practise of Generosity to Support the Dharma Teachings

In the Buddhist tradition, it is felt the dharma teachings of wisdom and compassion are of such great value that one cannot put a price on it, it can not be bought or sold in the market place, it is priceless. The teachings of liberation have been passed down through the generations by this ancient practice of dana: receiving and transmitting these teachings as a gift.

But the teachers do not charge a fee, the teachings are given freely. When we hear these teachings we are touched and moved, and the feelings of appreciation and gratitude naturally express themselves in the act of generosity by offering dana to the teacher, thus circulating and completing the gift. This natural response marks our entry into the economy of gift, where buying and selling are replaced by giving and receiving, and where the defining relationship is one of spiritual friendship. The act of giving is a declaration of mutual respect. Giver and receiver recognise they share the same fundamental values and concerns.

The gift takes us beyond the limitations of our normal self-interest and opens us to a life of mutual care, called good friendship (kalyana mitta) by the Buddha. The practice of generosity is considered to be one of the highest virtues in the Buddhist tradition, as within every act of generosity, there is also the act of relinquishment, thus cultivating the spirit of letting go.

Any gift is greatly appreciated and will help to continue to nurture the dharma in Australia and beyond. May the virtue of your gift be a support for you and for all beings to attain freedom and liberation … the complete cessation of suffering.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

poem on Youtube - haiku from Sunday

Here's a clip of my performance at the " Friend in Hand" pub, in Glebe, last month, in the open mike section. " Word in Hand" is a really great night of live poetry. Many thanks to Jack Peck, the MC, for organizing the video record of the night, and for putting together this video for me. My link:

Jack is in the process of putting "Word in Hand " up on Youtube and on a community TV station, I'll keep you posted on this development. 

The news from Europe was very cheerful last week, and as usual ABC Sydney morning news began with the shootings that had occurred overnight. Went for a walk on Sunday at Blackheath - the Burra Korain ridge I believe? We were learning navigation, how to find our way in the bush. You do not put breadcrumbs down if you want to get back home safely. No, you use a map and compass.
Wrote this:

Biting winter wind
takes a big mouthful
of world-weariness

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Cringefest at MONA

In April I was in Tasmania, and I wanted to visit  MONA  (Museum of Old and New Art), the exciting new gallery in Hobart.  And Rachel Edwards had had a brilliant idea: let's stage a Cringefest at the MONA markets! I readily went along with the idea of reading from ...old, only old...writings. Normally one wants to present the best, the shiniest, and maybe the newest of what one has written. But this would be like peering into the bowels of the machine: where did this stuff come from? And in that sense it was a great complement to MONA, half of which seems to be underground.
So we delved into our journals and diaries from yesteryear. Oh dear, oh dear. Did I really write that?

 This market was to be the last one, and I was bowled over by the variety of stalls,  the quality of goods, stalls such as "Conversations on Death And Dying", the taiko drummers who performed in the plaza...inside this pink Mickey  Mouse somebody was offering Japanese tea ceremony. Naturally I  wanted to partake. It was superb, and the first tea ceremony I have ever done.

 Paige Turner ( Rachel) and her friend Miss Wimple ran a "Recylclibrary", where people could simply take any book that was on offer. They are asked to donate books too, either to the Recyclibary when it pops up, or to Fullers Bookshop in Hobart. The patrons of this library were exceedingly pleased by the generosity of this arrangement!

Later on, we cringe poets and writers decided the moment had come for the full monty. We took to the stage, clutching our tattered old notebooks, pages spilling from overfull pages of ramblings. I am tempted to say that there is a catharsis for the audience at a Cringefest, where they are presented with the lurid, the hideous, the overblown emotions of the teenage writer....and they are reminded, "I too, once thought like that , and I'm awfully glad that I didn't write about it!"

  Above, Tasman's mother ( Tasman in the green t-shirt awaits his moment of humiliation) agonises over her housemates in her journal. I'm not sure what Paige Turner, in pink, shared with the audience but it was bound to be profound!
                                                                I really gave full vent to my criticisms of my siblings at age 13, and here the world at last is receiving a  poem about shoes written age 12! It was great fun, and the atmosphere of the market allowed for experiments like this to have an outing. Go MONA!!!