"There are four kinds of wisdom ... giving, kind speech, beneficial deeds, and cooperation."

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Polishing that begging bowl

After the storm, things dried up pretty quickly. I walk around the premises and take note of what's still available.

The hens are getting tired of the dropped apples I've been bringing them, so I'll back off, but they still want grapes, of which I continue to find clusters missed by industrious towhees. I've also begun cooking spaghetti squash for them, which takes eleven minutes in the rice cooker. Most years I've left that job to the stock pot on the wood stove, but it is not yet wood stove season and there are a lot of these squashes.

I see, from a couple of dropped pears, that Bosc and Anjou season is upon us. So I grab a couple of flats and gather them in.

 This means it's time to have a look at the quince as well. I pick a batch, perhaps a third of what's available.
There's only moderate interest in baked fruit in the family, at best, and I'm out of canning jars. Much of all this is likely to go to the hens as well, along with the remaining tomatoes. Last year I began canning tomato sauce about this time; this year I'm all done.

In spring there is the Hungry Time, when there is relatively little to eat. In fall there can be another kind of Hungry Time, when the heart of the gardener and food preserver is hungry to provide, but the family and friends are like "enough, already!" 

There are gleaners about, and I may overcome my partially pandemic-induced shyness to have them in. 

I'm so fond of my solitude that it's hard to say, yet, how this is likely to turn out.

:::

The heat and smoke have finally let up enough to allow me to spend unstressed time in the hut.

There is a poem, written by Shih-Tou in the 700s, quite famous, called the Song of the Grass-Roofed Hermitage.

Here's my version of it, updated to my own part time hut-life. Understand that while there may be some biographical truth in it it's mostly just aspirational. Alas, huh?


I've built a fiberglass-roofed hut
where there's nothing to take away.

After eating,
I conk out.

When the hut was completed,
it was a children's playhouse.

It had long been abandoned —
covered by blackberries.

Sometimes I live at the hut,
trying out Nagarjuna.

No need to go shopping.
No movies, no popcorn.

Though the hut is nine feet square,
Nowhere is there a place not here.

Within, an old nun
gawks out the window.

With her "instinctive knowing what to do"
she trusts being/time.

The neighbors can't help wondering —
what's going on in there?

For now, the old crone is present,
losing track of Meaning.

Knowing she does not know up or down,
she looks straight ahead.

A wide window below green cottonwoods--
five star hotels can't compare with it.

Just nestling in her zero-g chair
all things are settled.

Thus, this mountain nun
doesn't squint at circumstances.

Living here she no longer
hankers for escape.

Who would proudly arrange place settings,
trying to lure guests?

Doing as a Buddha does
cannot not be what a Buddha is.

Thusness can't be
looked toward or away from.

Meet the lineages and spiritual friends,
absorb their guidance.

Salvage fence boards to build a hut
and don't give up.

When your begging bowl breaks,
which it will, relax into your day.

Open your face
and walk, de-stressed.

Thousands of teachers
babble, but the message isn't garbled.

If you want to benefit
from dwelling in your hut,

Don't expect to be polishing that begging bowl
forever.

 


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Stony Run Farm: Life on One Acre