An excerpt from Moonlight Leaning Against an Old Rail Fence: Approaching the Dharma as Poetry

Good News

Disregarding dreams,

Transparency is working

Even when we’re thick.

This is like sunlight

Filtering through a lead room

As if it were glass.

Then only the lead

Believes in its heaviness

While the worlds rejoice.

It lives the perfect

Principle of nothingness

In which it rests,

Creating its dreams

Of lead in a river of

Shining emptiness

No wonder the sun

Shines anyway.  The grass is green.

It has always been

Transparently the

Same.  That day we are awake

To our beginning.



Commentary: Good News
Disregarding dreams, the one same light, the one same transparency, is still the case.  Only our attention is turned from it, and so preoccupied with giving solidity to a world of thought forms, that we naturally get a little thick.  As in the idiom, “he’s a little thick.”  Meaning he doesn’t see what’s right in front of him. 


Our thoughts are as natural as anything.  They are just part of the natural radiance of that transparency itself.  But our consciousness has the capacity to be hypnotized by their creative playfulness, so entranced or identified with the worlds they create – the seemingly concrete ‘worlds of lead’ – that we don’t notice the light shining through.  And our thoughts may take us into the suffering world of separateness, isolation, desire and conflict.  How is it that the joy-of-being can dream suffering?  This is perhaps the most ancient koan.  The Buddha’s great revelation was that all things are inherently pure as what they are, transparent and enlightened from the very beginning.  We already live that perfect fact of no-thing-ness.  There are no separate concrete things fixed unto themselves, distinct or isolated or other than the transparency of the whole, perfectly radiating, manifesting, and displayed as all things out of the shining emptiness.


It is not the world that is illusion.  The world is a radiant arising.  It is only the tendency of the mind to project and fixate that causes us to see it in illusory terms.  It takes only a little relaxation of the mind’s fixation – its enchantment with spinning dreams of lead – to awaken to what has been here from the beginning.  Can you imagine if the sunlight or the grass growing was dependent in this moment on your state of mind?  That would truly be a disaster.  Can you imagine if the perfectly penetrating and transparent radiance of the original pure light of being was itself dependent on our state of mind?  Fortunately, it is not.  I thought that was pretty good news.