Category Archives: Musings

Does a Dog?

So tell me, Daisy, destroyer of tennis balls and pine cones,
Those big brown black-lab eyes,
Does a dog have Buddha-nature?
What about your new friend, Lola?
She reeks of strong puppy-nature, that’s for sure!

Sunday, I moved the zafu to the garden shed.
Bare wood, a pile of boards for an altar.
Tonight the rain drums on the roof,
Dribbles from shingles to puddles on the path,
Transports me across time and space to the attic
Of the big old house on Dwight.

No roosters here, nor fire trucks,
Only Daisy snuffling through the bushes.
She steps into the light from the candle,
Her big, blunt snout hovers over the altar
Next to the incense. Without a sound
She sets in place an old wet pine cone.

— Bud Bliss. Bud writes from Oregon: “Some readers may remember sounds from sitting in the attic zendo on Dwight. We buried Daisy with this poem from 1999 a couple of years ago. “

On Notice This Rock

Dawn. I stepped onto the deck. I lay back and exposed myself to the sun rising in warm, soft air. I had just climbed from the cold stream, preceded by the hot, mineral spring. A prize, dawn, still and priceless, scent of manzanita wafting over me. I would meditate, burrow into the sublimity, my heart showing.

All at once, a terrific rumble. From overhead, racing down the hillside, a boulder, careening, down, down. Before I knew it, it crashed five inches from my head, splintering into segments, one of which landed on the bench behind me, the other vaulting across the redwood span. I lay pinioned by the sudden silence, and then peered at the rock-sized stone hooked into the plank as if by a claw. Dark-brown, coppery with bronze flecks, this slab, five inches from my ear, my temple, my skin.

Slowly, I pulled myself up. Around the deck, the trees still stood. The railing still held, and, as I inched back, I saw the moist oblong where I had lain. Beside it, the yellow striped towel, still folded. There, I thought, just there. I bent and pulled out the stone from the wood and lay it on my palm. Warm it felt and smelled burnt, as if it had flown through fire on its run to the ground. Of course it told me none of that. Nor its name, purpose, or plan.

I turned it over. over. Who sent you I wanted to say, but kept the silence the speeding missile whistled to, turning me witness rather than victim.

“So, this is how it is then,” I said, “this.”
Every day, I study this messenger, its blank presence impelling me to wake.

—Lois Silverstein, Tassajara, 2000

Capping Verse to Ross’s lecture, “Our Shadows Cover The Ground Equally”

The moon is shining serenely in the sky, casting her reflection in countless places wherever conditions are matured. We see her image on the least trace of water or a vast expanse, which may be polluted or clean, but each reflects the same moon according to its nature. The shadows also are as numerous as the bodies of water, but we cannot say that one shadow is essentially different from another, nor has the moon left her orbit even for a moment.

—Nyogen Senzaki, Buddhism & Zen, 1953