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The Sea is Dying

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Sunday, 1 Oct 2023, 14:16


an abstract painting depicting sea spirits
Ocean Spirits. Painted by the author, Asoka

The Sea is Dying

A poem — In memory of the weird and wonderful creatures that once inhabited the ocean here.

Marine life has all but disappeared.
Once this ocean was teeming with it.
Now it’s like a watery desert.
A graveyard.
Holding the Spirit memories of
a myriad creatures 
that once inhabited it.

The curse of
Over-fishing
The industrial trawler.

Dredging and
salmon farming.

Pollution
of mammon.

Hungry seabirds die
with stomachs 
full of plastic waste.
Their feathers and bones 
wrapped in rotting seaweed
and tangled up fishing line.

Shellfish are dying, and the
numbers of molluscs grow fewer.

I place my hand on the water
and channelling the aliveness within
I wish the ocean well.
For life to thrive in her again.

An abstract painting of someone placing their hand on the ocean
Painted by the author, Asoka

Weeks later, I felt hope.

Schools of baby fish swam next to the seawall.
Mackerel, an eel, some dogfish, and a flounder, too.
I saw a hermit crab and a starfish — haven’t seen those in years.
Excited, I went there every day to watch them.

But weeks later, 
They’re now mostly gone.
Many are dead.
And my hope with them.

Why does this modern world 
have to cause so much harm?

Why can’t we live
with care and respect 
for the other beings
we share this planet with.

This rare precious 
jewel of life 
Spinning
in the cosmos.

It’s their home too.

-Asoka


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Asoka

What remains

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Friday, 8 Sep 2023, 23:11


The body
Sensations
Feelings
Perceptions
Thoughts
Sense consciousness.

It all comes from what is sensed in the world around.

The world of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touch, words and ideas.
 
But I am not any of these things.
They are not me or mine.

Am I the objects in the world?
Am I sense-impressions and words?

Dependently originated they do not last.
As conditions change so do they.

This body is not mine. It grew by itself.
A biological process I have no control over.
It changes whether I like it or not.
It ages, gets sick, will one day die.
If it was mine, I would be able to tell it to stop ageing, to not die.
To be handsome, not ugly.
But it changes regardless of what I say.

If I was to chop off a body part and lay it on the ground.
Is that body part the self?

Where is the self in these five streams?
These five aggregates of clinging:
body, feelings, perceptions, thoughts, sense-consciousness.

When one lets go of identifying with them
Filters out all that is not self.

What remains?

A boundless emptiness not dependent on conditions
A state that isn’t born and doesn’t die
The unconditioned
Peace
Liberation
Relief from the pain of wanting.

Hard to put into words.
But I will keep trying.



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Asoka

That moment

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When good music hits the spot
I like that feeling a lot
How it makes my spine shiver
Like a beautiful colour
Making me feel alive
And on some level we jive
Your vibe
like the
Touch of a breeze
Setting my energy at ease
Fills me with zest
And I feel blessed
By something real

That’s how you make me feel.

-Asoka




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Asoka

Just this

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Wednesday, 16 Aug 2023, 16:36


Sitting here
Sounds all around.
Seagulls sqawking,
Dogs barking,
Cars trafficking.
People talking.
Construction work
and the odd chainsaw.
Cars scrunching the gravel
as they come and go.

I meditate.
Investigate.
The Buddha's teaching to Bahiya.

To let a sound be just a sound.
To let that which is sensed
be only that which is sensed.
Awareness and knowing,
being just that.
Without adding any more to it.
Without the 'I' making.
The story of
the person.

Neither here, nor there, nor inbetween the two.
This, the Buddha said, is the end of suffering.

It's the longing, the loathing, and conceit.
The impatience.
The angst.
The getting stressed
and taking it personally.
That's what gets in the way.
That's the problem.
That's what I need to let go of.

Without that there is just this.
And when there is just this.
there is no subject, no object.

The self disappears.

And when that happens there is peace.

...

-Asoka

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Asoka

Metta magic

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I often think of you.
I am sure I feel your energy at times.
A part of me says it is all in my head.
That I am deluded.

But the unmistakable warmth in my heart says otherwise.
Tells me it is real.

I am grateful.

There have been dark times where I almost gave up.

Then I felt such love coming from you it melted my heart. Opened it wide like a window letting in a Spring breeze.

The joy returning.. 

...


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Asoka

Connection

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When I wake up, you are my first thought.

Throughout the day I feel you in my heart. The love shines out into the world. Makes others smile.

Wish I hadn't wrote what I did.
Wish I could take back those foolish words.
I never wanted to make you sad.

But I can't go back and change the past. Nobody can.
I have to let go of this.
Learn what I can.
Be wiser in future.

A connection like that is rare and beautiful. I wish I had been a better friend.

I wonder if we could've made it work.
I felt a good vibe about us.

Nevermind.
What's done is done.
Life moves on.
Things change.

But I still think of you.

...





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Asoka

A night in the harbour

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Wednesday, 5 Jul 2023, 20:36


Pacing back and forth
I am tired but mindful.
Waves of tears crash.
Into the ocean wind.

I leave the beach to find shelter.

Watch each presently arisen state
flow and fade away.
Mind is like the ocean.
A morphing psychic energy,
Restless
Dissatisfied.
Moving
From one thing to the next,
Darting erratically.
Flickering this way and that
Becoming different shapes and patterns.

Like the wind.
Its involuntary movements.
Constantly changing.

I sit still.
In the temple of the body.
In the solidity of the earth.
Attentive to the air element.
The cool touch of it on the skin.
Centre with the breath energy,
The whole body and mind.
Earth and air become one.

And in a moment of bliss.
The mind converges.
All goes into sync.
Becomes unified, and still.
Whole-hearted.
Content.
Present.
Harmonised.
Tuned into Nothing.

And I leave the world behind,
Everything disappears.

A pigeon watches me with interest
Perched above in the Victorian architecture.
Night becomes dawn
And it coos with delight.

The unnerving banshee shrieks in the tunnel
Turn out to be seabirds.

-Asoka

...


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Asoka

Transient

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This world doesn't last
Youth and beauty
Fade so fast
Like fireworks
that go off in the night.
Beautiful for a moment
But soon out of sight.
Forgotten
Even our memories change
Disappear.
In the long descend.

Is it all worth it, in the end?

...

 


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Asoka

Love's vessel

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The heavy baggage of the ego.

Full of compulsive,
wants,
demands,
and criticisms.

These restless involuntary movements of the mind.
That lead to confusion,
delusion,
and a whole mountain of suffering in the end,
all for just a teacup of pleasure,
made of fragile bone-china.

When one sees 
That everything we cling to
Is empty of self.
One lets go and
That psychic energy is freed up
Available,
Unbounded,
Limitless,
Empty of conceit. 
Serene and
Boundless.

The compulsions cease,
and there is peace... ah..

Then the self returns.
And one gets deluded once more.
Caught up in the things of the world.
Swept this way and that by the changing winds.
Pain and pleasure,
Gain and loss,
Success and failure,
Fame and disrepute.
These are the eight wordly winds.

Then one sees again that it is stress,
Understands this is suffering,
Remembers. 
The emptiness of self.
Lets go of the trash
Sweeps it aside
All that silly nonsense.
Returns to calm
Composure
Centred
Lucid 
One wakes up from the self-centred dream.

And there is cessation, relief, a moment of bliss.
No longer driven, one rests in peace.

Till thwarted again
by one's past conditioning.
The ego pops back up
like a jack-in-a-box.

Rinse and repeat.

This is the work of purifying the mind
of greed,
hate
and delusion.

It can take lifetimes for some.

But as mindfulness develops,
And one's ability to calm and centre the mind gets stronger.
The untangling gets easier.

And through it all one must not strain,
just the right amount of effort is needed.
Just what you can
The best you got,
At your pace.
That's enough
That will get the work done,
not too tight,
not too loose,
gradually,
patiently,
gently.
One steers one's course through the middle way,
avoiding the extremes.
Centred, composed.
Let love be your compass.

When one realises that nothing is personal.
One's sense of humour returns.
One stops taking it all so seriously.
One feels at peace.
And from that freedom,
joy naturally rises,
Independent of the world.

And love rises too.

Unbound
A greater love.
A love without conditions attached to it.
An unselfish love.
A love without a trace of the conceit 'I am'.

The happiest, most beautiful love of all. 

A vessel emptied of self
can manifest that.

...

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Asoka

April gold

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I walk above the town
In fields that could be a deva world.
Golden yellow everywhere
The scent of gorse flowers
Reminds me of coconut.
Crows croak
Birds sing
And not a car to be heard.
The sound of traffic gone.
I am completely alone,
No person in sight,
It's so quiet,
I can hear
The wind blow through the grass.



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Asoka

The Song Thrush and the Sea

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Friday, 7 Apr 2023, 14:41


Ocean wavelets
Make pebbles sing
A song of stone
Of Ancient days
Sun shadows of time
Flickering before me.

I am still and silent like a human sundial
And somewhere close by
A song-thrush sings
The sounds carve
Spiral
Beautiful shapes
Across the air
Gladdening the mind.

A joyful usher of Spring
Reminding me of 
Love
And the beautiful spaces within.

- Asoka



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Asoka

Turbulence

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Sea swirl, 
smash on path
air turbulently
picks up things
makes them dance
with playful icy fingers
that blow open my hood
Exposing head and neck
to ice chill blows
It is unpleasant.
But I endure 
retreat to a deep
sheltered place within.

The path changes direction
And now the wind is at my back.
I replace my hood and
The warmth feels pleasant
Soft touch of cloth flapping like wings.
As excited air blows all around me
Swirling puddles into
hypnotic patterns and shapes
A liquid reflection of how things change.

Seagulls hover above in perfect stillness
effortlessly flowing with the wind
weaving in and out of each other's paths
Masters of stillness in motion.



Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Richie Cuthbertson, Saturday, 11 Mar 2023, 10:36)
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Asoka

Night

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Window open just a crack,
Cool air on face and neck.
Warm body under blankets
Breath like the ocean waves.
Sound of traffic slices shapes through the air.
A plane passes overhead like a crackly Thunderbird.
Voices talk in the background and
I imagine I am another animal, and the vocalisations become like the mysterious utterances of another species.
I listen detached.
Breath at the centre of it all.
Even at the very centre of my being.
Which is hollow and empty like an inner cave.



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Asoka

Worldly winds

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Time
Memory
Flows
Now gone
The second hand ticking.

Self-streams
A narrative 
Clarative
Breathing.

Notice
the wanting.

Pulled by the eight wordly winds:

'Pain and pleasure;
Wealth and misfortune;
Success and failure;
Fame and disrepute.'

These are the eight worldly winds.
That pull one's craving
This way and that
That way and this

Freedom from desire is bliss.

To learn to gently let go of the clinging.
And be kind to each moment
Making peace.

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Asoka

The Very Short Sutra on the Meeting of the Buddha and the Goddess

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Wednesday, 25 May 2022, 18:07



" This I have made up:

       Once the Buddha was walking along the

forest path in the Oak Grove at Ojai, walking without

arriving anywhere

or having any thought of arriving or not arriving

and lotuses shining with the morning dew

miraculously appeared under each step

soft as silk under the toes of the Buddha

When suddenly, out of the turquoise sky,

dancing in front of his half-shut inward-looking

eyes, shimmering like a rainbow

or a spider's web

transparent as the dew on a lotus flower

--the Goddess appeared quivering

like a hummingbird in the air before him

She, for she was surely a she

as the Buddha could clearly see

with his eye of discriminating awareness wisdom,

was mostly red in color

though when the light shifted

she flashed like a rainbow

She was naked except

for the usual flower ornaments

Goddesses wear.

Her long hair

was deep blue, her two eyes fathomless pits of space

and her third eye a bloodshot

ring of fire.

The Buddha folded his hands together

and greeted the Goddess thus:

"O Goddess, why are you blocking my path.

Before I saw you I was happily going nowhere.

Now I'm not sure where I want to go."

"You can go around me."

said the Goddess, twirling on her heels like a bird

darting away, "or you can come after me.

This is my forest too,

you can't pretend that I'm not here."

With that the Buddha sat

    supple as a snake

    solid as a rock

beneath a Bo tree

    that had sprang full-leaved

    to shade him.

"Perhaps we should have a chat,"

he said.

    After years of arduous practice

at the time of the morning star

I penetrated reality, and now..."

"Not so fast, Buddha.

I am reality."

The Earth stood still,

the oceans paused,

the wind itself listened

--a thousand arhats, bodhisattva, and dakinis

magically appeared to hear

what would happen in the conversation.

"I know I take my life in my hands,"

said the Buddha.

"But I am known as the Fearless One

--so here goes."

And he and the Goddess

without further words

exchanged glances.

Light rays like sunbeams

shot forth

so bright that even

Sariputra, the All-Seeing One,

had to turn away.

And then they exchanged thoughts

and the illumination was as bright as a diamond candle.

And then they changed mind

And then there was a great silence as vast as the universe

that contains everything.

And then they exchanged bodies

And clothes

And the Buddha arose

as the Goddess

and the Goddess arose as the Buddha

and so on back and forth

for a hundred thousand hundred thousand kalpas.

If you meet the Buddha

you meet the Goddess,

the Goddess is the Buddha.

And not only that.  This:

The Buddha is the Goddess,

the Goddess is the Buddha.

And not only that:This:

The Buddha is emptiness

The Goddess is bliss,

the Goddess is emptiness

the Buddha is bliss.

And that is what

and what-not you are

it's true.

So here comes the mantra of the Goddess and the Buddha, the unsurpassed non-dual mantra, just to say this mantra, just to hear this mantra once, just to hear one word of this mantra once makes everything the way it truly is:  OK.

So here it is:

    Earth-walker/sky-walker

        Hey, silent one, Hey, great talker

    Not two/not one

        Not separate/Not apart

    That is the heart

        Bliss is emptiness

        Emptiness is bliss.

    Be your breath, Ah

    Smile, Hey

   And relax, Ho

And remember this:  You can't miss. "

- Rick Fields, Dharma Gaia, pp.3-7


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Asoka

Path

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Friday, 11 Mar 2022, 23:30


Cold industrial echoes of the concrete night
Wet and tarmaccy puddles reflect artificial light
Serene raindrops ripple shape the liquid surface
Like this mind full of the noble eight-fold practise.

I walk with dignity
Rapturously
With the clear knowledge
There's no going back for me.


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Asoka

Walk away

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Wednesday, 2 Mar 2022, 21:10

Life can feel dark and harsh
Leaving one gutted like a market fish
Broken like dropped glass.

The lonely cry an ocean of tears
That noone sees, nor hears.

Life is pain
And never again
Will I come back to this world
I'm going to walk away
Unfurled 

one day...






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Asoka

New blog post

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Internal combustion broken beyond belief

Opened up the heart but still no relief

Pain, and a feeling of disconnection

Alone, but don't feel like conversation

So me go deep inside

 far far within 

away from this place

to another space 

where I forget who I am

and that's the best

to forget my self.



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