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#1743 - Sunday, March 21, 2004

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  • Gloria Lee
    #1743 - Sunday, March 21, 2004 - Editor: Gloria Lee To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else. - Emily Dickinson The Spirit of Gardening
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 22, 2004
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      #1743 - Sunday, March 21, 2004 - Editor: Gloria Lee

      To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else.
      -  Emily Dickinson


       The Spirit of Gardening

       Quotations, Poetry, and History for Gardeners and Lovers of the Green Way
       Compiled by Michael P. Garofalo

      All selections in this issue on Spring are from wandering in this vast garden...


      just as it is,
      as it is,
      as is.
      Flowers in bloom.
      Nothing to add.

      - Robert Aitken, Roshi, As it Is


      When I see
      Heaven and earth as
      My own garden,
      I live that moment
      Outside the Universe.

      - A Zen Harvest: Japanese Folk Zen Sayings, p. 53
      Compiled and translated by Soiku Shigematsu


      We learn from our gardens to deal with the most
      urgent question of the time: How much is enough?

      - Wendell Berry


      In the third month of spring
      the fruit is full on the enlightenment tree;
      One night the flower blooms
      and the whole world is fragrant.

      - Dogen Zenji, 1200 - 1253
      Rational Zen: The Mind of Dogen Zenji, p. 43
      Translated and edited by Thomas Cleary


      "Like a beautiful flower that is colorful but has no fragrance,
      even well spoken words bear no fruit in one who does not put them into practice."

      - The Buddha


      Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of
      strength that will endure as long as life lasts.  There is something
      infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature— the assurance
      that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.
      -   Rachel Carson


      Step out onto the Planet.
      Draw a circle a hundred feet round.
      Inside the circle are
      300 things nobody understands, and maybe
      nobody's ever seen.
      How many can you find?

      - Lew Welch
      From What Book, 1998, p. 124, Edited by Gary Gach


      See with your eyes, hear
      with your ears.
      Nothing is hidden.

      - Tenkei


      There is a reality even prior to heaven and earth;
      Indeed, it has no form, much less a name;
      Eyes fail to see it;
      It has no voice for ears to detect;
      To call it Mind or Buddha violates its nature,
      For it then becomes like a visionary flower in the air;
      It is not Mind, nor Buddha;
      Absolutely quiet, and yet illuminating in a mysterious way,
      It allows itself to be perceived only by the clear-eyed.

      - Daio Kokushi, 1232 - 1308, On Zen
      Manual of Zen Buddhism



      A yellow flower
      (Light and spirit)
      Sings by itself
      For nobody.

      A golden spirit
      (Light and emptiness)
      Sings without a word
      By itself.

      - Thomas Merton
      Thomas Merton's Poetry: Emblems of a Sacred Season


      Whenever learners or those beyond learning awaken the mind, for the first time they plant one buddha-nature. Working with the four elements and five clusters, if they practice sincerely they attain enlightenment. Working with plants, trees, fences and walls, if they practice sincerely they will attain enlightenment. This is because the four elements and five clusters and plants, trees, fences and walls are fellow students; because they are of the same essence, because they are the same mind and the same life, because they are the same body and the same mechanism.

      - Dogen Zenji, Japanese Zen Buddhist Grand Master
      Awakening the Unsurpassed Mind, #31
      Translated by Thomas Cleary, Rational Zen: The Mind of Dogen Zenji
      Vegetable Nirvana by Ito Jakuchu


      A wee child toddling in a wonder world ... I prefer to their dogma my excursions into
      the natural gardens where the voice of the Great Spirit is heard in the twittering of
      birds, the rippling of mighty waters, and the sweet breathing of flowers.
      If this is Paganism, then at present, at least, I am a Pagan.

      - Zitkala-Sa


      The many great gardens of the world, of literature and poetry, of painting
      and music, of religion and architecture, all make the point as clear as
      possible: The soul cannot thrive in the absence of a garden. If you don't
      want paradise, you are not human;  and if you are not human, you don't have
      a soul.

      - Thomas Moore, The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life, 1996, p. 101


      There is more pleasure in making a garden than in contemplating a paradise.

      - Anne Scott-James

      The first act of awe, when man was struck with the beauty
      or wonder of Nature, was the first spiritual experience.

      -   Henryk Skolimowski

      If not ignored, nature will cultivate in the gardener a sense of
      well-being and peace.  The gardener may find deeper meaning
      in life by paying attention to the parables of the garden.  Nature
      teaches quiet lessons to the gardener who chooses
      to live within the paradigm of the garden.

      -   Norman H. Hansen
      The Worth of Gardening

      Beyond its practical aspects, gardening - be it of the soil or soul - can lead us on a
      philosophical and spiritual exploration that is nothing less than a journey into the
      depths of our own sacredness and the sacredness of all beings.  After all, there must
      be something more mystical beyond the garden gate, something that
      satisfies the soul's attraction to beauty, peace, solace, and celebration.

      -  Christopher and Tricia McDowell, The Sanctuary Garden, 1998, p.13
      Cortesia Sanctuary and Center

      I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station through
      which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.

      -  George Washington Carver

      God does not die on that day when we cease to believe in a personal
      deity, but we die when our lives cease to be illuminated by the steady
      radiance, renewed daily, of a wonder, the source of which is beyond
      all reasoning.  ...   When the sense of the earth unites with the sense
      of one's body, one becomes earth of the earth, a plant among plants,
      an animal born from the soil and fertilizing it.  In this union, the body
      is confirmed in its pantheism.

      -   Dag Hammarskjold (1905-1961)


      It is this subtle dimension of understanding that marks the southwestern
      Indian peoples from other religions and separates tribal peoples from the
      world's religions. Somewhere in the planetary history religious expression
      changed from participation in the sound, color and rhythm of nature to
      the abstractions of man outside this context pleading for temporary respite
      and hoping in the next life to return to the Garden.

      - Vine Deloria, Jr., Frank Waters, Prophet and Explorer

      The wind has settled, the blossoms have fallen;
      Birds sing, the mountains grow dark --
      This is the wondrous power of Buddhism.

      - Ryokan, (1758-1831)
      Dewdrops on a Lotus Leaf
      Translated by John Stevens

      A haiku is not a poem, it is not literature; it is a hand becoming,
      a door half-opened, a mirror wiped clean. It is a way of returning
      to nature, to our moon nature, our cherry blossom nature, our
      falling leaf nature, in short, to our Buddha nature. It is a way in
      which the cold winter rain, the swallows of evening, even the very
      day in its hotness, and the length of the night, become truly
      alive, share in our humanity, speak their own silent and
      expressive language.

      - Haiku: Eastern Culture, 1949, Volume One, p. 243.
      Translations and commentary by Reginald H. Blyth

      For thirty years I have been in search of the swordsman;
      Many a time have I watched the leaves decay
      and the branches shoot!
      Ever since I saw for once the peaches in bloom,
      Not a shadow of doubt do I cherish.

      - Ling-Yün and the Peach Blossoms
      D.T. Suzuki, Essays in Zen Buddhism, 1953, 2nd Series, p. 145,

      The road enters green mountains near evening's dark;
      Beneath the white cherry trees, a Buddhist temple
      Whose priest doesn't know what regret for spring's passing means-
      Each stroke of his bell startles more blossoms into falling.

      - Keijo Shurin

      I praise those ancient Chinamen
      Who left me a few words,
      Usually a pointless joke or a silly question

      A line of poetry drunkenly scrawled on the margin
      of a quick splashed picture— bug, leaf,
      caricature of a Teacher—
      On paper held together now by little more than ink
      & their own strength brushed momentarily over it

      Their world and several others since
      Gone to hell and a handbasket, they knew it—
      Cheered as it whizzed by—
      & conked out among the busted spring rain cherryblossom winejars

      Happy to have saved us all.

      - Philip Whalen, Hymnus ad Patrem Sinensis


      You find a flower half-buried in leaves,
      And in your eye its very fate resides.
      Loving beauty, you caress the bloom;
      Soon enough, you'll sweep petals from the floor.

      Terrible to love the lovely so,
      To count your own years, to say "I'm old,"
      To see a flower half-buried in leaves
      And come face to face with what you are.

      - Han Shan, 630
      Translated by Peter Stambler



      Sakura, Sakura.
      Noyamamo satomo
      Miwatasu kagiri.
      Kasumi-ka kumo-ka.... asahi-ni niou
      Sakura, Sakura,

      Cherry Blossoms, cherry blossoms. 
      On mountains, in villages. 
      As far as you can see. 
      They look like fog or clouds.  They are fragrant in the morning sun. 
      Cherry blossoms, cherry blossoms.  
      In full bloom.

      ~ ~ ~

      Spring has again returned. 
      The Earth is like a child that knows many poems.
      Many, O so many.  For the hardship
      of such long learning she receives the prize.

      Strict was her teacher. 
      The white in the old man's beard pleases us.
      Now, what to call green, to call blue,
      we dare to ask: She knows, She knows!

      -  Rainer Marie Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus, XXI

      Spring makes its own statement, so loud and clear
      that the gardener seems to be only one of the instruments,
      not the composer.

      -  Geoffrey B. Charlesworth

      I think that no matter how old or infirm I may become,
      I will always plant a large garden in the spring.  Who can
      resist the feelings of hope and joy that one gets from
      participating in nature's rebirth?

      -   Edward Giobbi

      To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating;
      to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter; to be thrilled by the
      stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring — these
      are some of the rewards of the simple life.

      –  John Burroughs


      Botanists say that trees need the powerful March winds to flex
      their trunks and main branches, so the sap is drawn up to
      nourish the budding leaves.  Perhaps we need the gales of life
      in the same way, though we dislike enduring them.
      -   Jane Truax


      Every spring is the only spring - a perpetual astonishment.
      -   Ellis Peters

      Spring is nature's way of saying, "Let's party!"
      -   Robin Williams

      O the green things growing, the green things growing,
      The faint sweet smell of the green things growing!
      I should like to live, whether I smile or grieve,
      Just to watch the happy life of my green things growing.
      -   Dinah Maria Mulock Craik, Green Things Growing

      I don't know what smell of wet earth or rotting leaves brought back my childhood
      with a rush and all the happy days I had spent in a garden. Shall I ever forget that
      day?  It was the beginning of my real life, my coming of age as it were, and entering
      into my kingdom.  Early March, gray, quiet skies, and brown, quiet earth; leafless
      and sad and lonely enough out there in the damp and silence, yet there I stood
      feeling the same rapture of pure delight in the first breath of spring that I used to
      as a child, and the five wasted years fell from me like a cloak, and the world was
      full of hope, and I vowed myself then and there to nature and have been
      happy ever since.  
      -   Elizabeth von Arnim, Elizabeth and Her German Garden, 1898








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