Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: ARTS: The Dharma Cafe

Hybrid View

Previous Post Previous Post   Next Post Next Post
  1. #1

    ARTS: The Dharma Cafe

    Treeleaf already has some tea rooms, but when I was writing back in the day, the cafe was the place. This was long before Starbucks. This was the era of the independent coffeehouse, where writers went to be anonymous, where you could sit for hours with your notebook and pretend you were Hemingway, watching people, drinking coffee, scribbling lines. In those days people gathered in coffeehouses and smoked and argued and played cards and fell in love and broke up and left and came back to drink more coffee. When I think of writers, I think of the coffeehouse.

    This thread is for sharing our work.

    Everyone is invited. Skill, talent, experience mean nothing here. What matters is the journey, the way, our practice.

    My only request is that if you share, please also read the work of others, and comment if you feel called. Let this be a true sustaining circle.

    N.B. If you work in long form, please share an excerpt or a link.

    Gassho,
    Hensho

    satlah
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-24-2021 at 02:30 AM.
    Hensho: Knitting Strands / Stranded on a Reef
    "Knit on with confidence and hope through all crises." -Elizabeth Zimmerman

  2. #2
    Thank you, Hensho, for setting the Dharma Cafe. I thought I would share my freewrite after sitting, although I wrote for ten minutes rather than five:

    I began the sitting thinking about the taste of organic green tea with citrus and ginko and how that taste reminded me of Celestial Seasons' Lemon Mist tea and that brought to mind a time as a teenager I was nursing a broken heart and I was alone at home and it was raining outside and I was listening to the rain and sipping Lemon Mist tea, and it was a beautiful bittersweet moment and maybe a taste of what I would later find with Zen. It was a moment of happy solitude which I quickly forgot and wondered why there were so many happy couples but I wasn't part of one. Later I saw my ex-boyfriend with his girlfriend and they didn't look happy at all.

    I look forward to reading the work of other members.

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    Sat/lah
    On (Warm)
    Kai (Sea)

  3. #3
    There is something about your freewrite, Onkai, that really speaks to me. It's so transportive into a moment of your life that seems to contain the past, present, and a portent of the future all at once. Like Proust's madeleines. I found myself thinking of my own moments of loneliness and yearnings, and a time when I expressed these feelings to my father while sitting on the stairs of our house. He said he hadn't thought that these experiences might be happening to me. He hadn't thought about all those undercurrents that teenagers experience as they try to find their way forward. And he was so sweet to me, so reassuring. And I knew that my dad and I would always have a bond.

    And the image that comes to me the most is the color of the carpeting on the stairs, a light blue like a well faded blue jean. I remember it because I was concentrating on the carpet as we spoke, because I was shy.

    Thank you, Onkai. Deep bows.
    Hensho

    satlah
    Hensho: Knitting Strands / Stranded on a Reef
    "Knit on with confidence and hope through all crises." -Elizabeth Zimmerman

  4. #4
    Thank you, Hensho, for your kind words and for sharing a related experience. It's great that prose can connect people on a heart level.

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    Sat/lah
    On (Warm)
    Kai (Sea)

  5. #5
    What is your true nature? Answer this question in whatever way you wish. If you feel called, share what you wrote in the Dharma Cafť. We will be most obliged to welcome you there.
    A short piece...

    I always wanted to learn more about the stars but have never taken the time. Astronomy books remain on the bookshelf, sandwiched between dog-eared wild flower guides and expansive tomes on quantum physics, waiting for the day when they will be called into use.

    At least here in the countryside, there is little light pollution. On a clear night, the heavens stretch out around me on all sides, vast swathes of blackness pin-pricked with light. Tree branches spiral upwards, and upwards, and upwards.

    Breathing into the cool air, I reach out and take hold of two corners of sky, folding them around myself with well-practiced hands, making three tucks to form an okesa before taking my seat on the dark earth.

    Moving my left hand onto my lap, palm upwards, the right snakes downwards to touch the earth.

    Easing into silence, a single word forms:

    Home

    Home

    Home


    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday-
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  6. #6
    I began the sitting thinking about the taste of organic green tea with citrus and ginko and how that taste reminded me of Celestial Seasons' Lemon Mist tea and that brought to mind a time as a teenager I was nursing a broken heart and I was alone at home and it was raining outside and I was listening to the rain and sipping Lemon Mist tea, and it was a beautiful bittersweet moment and maybe a taste of what I would later find with Zen. It was a moment of happy solitude which I quickly forgot and wondered why there were so many happy couples but I wasn't part of one. Later I saw my ex-boyfriend with his girlfriend and they didn't look happy at all.
    I love this, Onkai! So amazing how the mind makes patterns and it is a beautiful journey out from the taste of tea, into a past moment that is also bursting with flavour and fullness. Then the dissatisfaction with how life is which is itself then popped with a pin-prick of reality!

    I have read that smells and tastes can be more intimately connected with memory than any other sense and this is enacted so beautifully in the 'madeleine moment' from Proust: http://art.arts.usf.edu/content/arti...l%20Proust.pdf

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  7. #7
    Kokuu,

    I enjoyed the piece about the night sky and practice. Thank you for the link to the part of In Rememberence of Time Past where he muses on the madeleine.

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    Sat/lah
    On (Warm)
    Kai (Sea)

  8. #8
    Hensho - thank you for setting this up; I didn't know about it! I'm not a professional writer but I love writing lol I don't mean writing poetry or short stories etc; I literally enjoy composing very articulate emails or posts here for example. I've always loved words for some reason. So I guess I"m an aspiring professional email writer - talk about the lamest creative aspiration for a writer ever!

    Kokuu - that symbolism in your writing really touched me.

    Onkai - your story of heartbreak reminds me of how out of my mind I would get in my teens with "love". What a time!

    I can't think of anything of my own to write at the moment - but I wanted to share a poem from the Wumenkuan - I was listening to Norman Fischer's talk on Case 19 - Everyday Mind is Zen; this talk was given around the time of Sojun Mel Weitsman Roshi's passing.

    Wumen's verse for this koan is beautiful and really hit me today after my daily zazen:

    Spring comes with flowers,
    Autumn with the moon,
    Summer with the breeze,
    Winter with snow,
    When idle concerns no longer hang in your mind,
    This is your best season.
    This reminds me of: Every Day is a Good Day. Every day is a good day. Not having to grasp or reach, but also not being lackadaisical. Practice has personally taught me, that it's not always so important what I'm doing (I mean the assumption here is not harming of course); it's more important to do it, to watch my mind. This practice is so wonderful when we can just enjoy stretching our legs or something so simple I usually take for granted. Today is my best season because I'm able to share this with you. How many people can you really talk to about this type of stuff? It's a rare treat indeed.

    Gassho

    Risho
    -stlah
    Last edited by Risho; 02-13-2021 at 05:53 PM.

  9. #9
    Risho:

    In my opinion, you have nothing to apologize for being a "professional email writer." You are simply engaging in the 21st Century version of a long, long history of epistolary writing. As you may know, one of our earliest examples of what we now know as the novel was actually a collection of fictional letters written in 1748 by Samuel Richardson: Clarissa. Today, we have many fine examples of epistolary writing, both fiction and non fiction. So claim your place, my friend!

    I am moved by the verse you quoted and will take the last lines as my mantra for the weekend. In this difficulty, wintery time of isolation, I love the idea of embracing this moment as "my best season."

    Gassho for your teaching,
    Hensho

    sat

    Postscript: Over the weekend, I was reflecting on this post and remembered too late that Treeleaf is a world community. My background is in English and American writers, so forgive me for centering my response solely on this tradition. It's the tradition I know and am most comfortable commenting on. Certainly, there's a wide world of epistolary writing and I welcome further, broader discussion on this topic.
    Last edited by Hensho; 02-22-2021 at 10:31 PM.
    Hensho: Knitting Strands / Stranded on a Reef
    "Knit on with confidence and hope through all crises." -Elizabeth Zimmerman

  10. #10
    Thank you ; this group is very eye opening; I sort of gravitate to writing; I love words and reading etc.

    In terms of the mind of winter from this weeks writing prompt, I donít know if this is what the poet means, but bear with me. I think often times I have a mind of ďsummerĒ: agitated, dissatisfied, grasping, unsure, loving practice, hating practice.

    When Jundo Roshi just posted about the para-nirvana ceremony, I felt the mind of winter and why despite my likes and dislikes this practice is necessary for me. Donít get me wrong, if I didnít treasure this practice I wouldnít be here, but there are a lot of times when I donít want to practice; I want a distraction.

    When i think of death, it shocks me back to what is important and there is no doubt this practice is what I need. To drop it all and just be here, that is the mind of winter. That is zazen and zazen in life.

    I use this practice as a distraction; I use if to get something: peace of mind, satori, etc I forget the mind of winter; this practice is for everyone else, even though there are no others, no one to save.

    Of course I exist, but when I bring this mind of winter into my life, I take care of everything; itís not an egotistical thing; I take care of everything because it is all me. I bow to the toilet; I chant the meal gatha and a modified coffee gatha; it is not for show, and I keep it private but trying to practice gratitude is the ultimate winter mind.

    I also know Iíll be struggling with that summer mind as long as Iím alive; itís just a human condition; the opposite of gratitude, a sort of greed because now is not good enough, but when itís my nirvana I bet Iíll be wishing for more opportunities to brew a cup of coffee or walking with my wife to get our mail or whatever it is: the countless amount of miracles that I take for granted.

    That is the beauty of this practice; you can bring the winter mind up at any time and remember that all of this, all of it, is sacred; even though I feel the contrary, I know that seeing anything as mundane is the delusion.

    gassho

    risho
    -stlah

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Hensho View Post
    Prompt #5

    Dogen writes, "When we discover that the truth is already in us, we are all at once our original selves."

    Prompt: What is the truth that is already in you? If you are a fiction writer, consider creating a character who speaks your truth on your behalf. If you are an essayist or a memoirist, consider writing about what your original self has to say to the world.

    As always, you are invited to share your thoughts at The Dharma Cafe.
    1. Cease all Evil
    2. Do Good
    3. Do Good for Others

    Gassho

    Risho
    -stlah

  12. #12
    This is lovely, Risho. Very moving. Thank you for this teaching.

    I have been taking some time to reflect on your response from 2.21.21. Winter Mind as part of a central concept of what a Zen writing aesthetic could be is beginning to coalesce for me through this thread. I have no better term for this than "Essence Writing." It seems to be about striving for an encounter with Suchness. And I think it could hold (but also wouldn't have to be limited to) the use of simple language and spare prose.

    I can even see Essence Writing coming though in your response from 3.7.21.

    Essence Writing could also be about any number of other things.

    I look forward to continued dialogue.

    Gassho

    Hensho

    sat
    Hensho: Knitting Strands / Stranded on a Reef
    "Knit on with confidence and hope through all crises." -Elizabeth Zimmerman

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •