The Kingdom is Here for Us, Are We Here for It?

Tree has got its Zen on ~d nelson

You don’t need to die in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. In fact, you have to be truly alive in order to do so. It’s not too difficult. Just breathe in and bring your mind back to your body. That is the practice of mindfulness.

When we breathe peacefully, the peace of our breath will penetrate into our body and into our mind. Then very soon, in no time at all, body, mind, and breath will become one in concentration, and we get the energy of stability, solidity, and freedom generated by every step we make. “I have arrived. I am home.” That is not a statement. That is a practice, and you will know whether you have arrived or not in the here and the now. You don’t need another person to tell you.

The address of the pure land, the address of the kingdom of God, the address of peace and brotherhood is here and now. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

remembering Buzz & others, departed, at Shunryu Suzuki Roshi shrine

With your support, dear friend
I am able to come face-to-face
with the reality of existence.
Sitting quietly together with what is,
sharing deeply our inner truths.
Beautiful conditions of happiness,
refreshing thoughts of kindness
towards myself and all others.

With your example, dear teachers
I can live mindfully every day
walking in the pure land,
in the kingdom, confidently,
with gentle steps which heal me
and intend to heal the earth.

100 years from now
may our peaceful steps
taken together as friends on the path
be reborn as wonder and amazement
in descendants’ consciousness, hearts and bones.

Friends @ sonoma mtn zen center; NCal Order of Interbeing retreat

 Spring Morning on Zen Mountain

zen master's illustration & calligraphy
zen master’s illustration & calligraphy

At dawn fog caresses the mountain
and flows into the valley below.
Amorous birds twitter among the trees.
Floorboards creak as we step to our cushions.
The sound of a bell penetrates the cosmos.
Voices blend in a morning chant,
as the sun of wisdom is rising.
The fog will lift soon enough.
~Robert Speer

49 Replies to “The Kingdom is Here for Us, Are We Here for It?”

  1. Thanks for your appreciation of my Let it Rain post. Lovely photos on your site – looks like you’ve come my way at least once (to Western NM). Did you ever make it as far as Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, where I sometimes go for practice? I live farther east, where the plains meet the Rockies, where earth meets sky, in a beauty that recommends daily mindful living. Baraka bashad.

    1. thanks for your kind words! when I lived in the white mtns of az there were many trips into nm’s beauty. enjoyed santé fe but did not visit the zen center. did practice with friends in taos. may your day be well 🙂

  2. I agree, witnessing the breath is liberating — it makes space for peace because the identification with thought is diminished, one can be the witness; “the mind makes a good servant but a poor master.”
    I do Anapana watching of the breath at the nostrils, where do you observe the breath?

    1. following the full length
      from brushing against the nose
      to expanding chest and belly!
      then back out into the sky
      shared with everything else 🙂
      thanks for kindly offering your insight, Genie!

      1. I do that as well, especially when my breath is blocked.
        It’s especially good to have it go to the Diaphragm — for that is where the full breath goes, the belly does not actually do the breathing, however, it is important for it to rise and fall with the breath so that one knows the breath is in its wholeness. 🙂

      1. You’re quite welcome! I’m glad I found your blog; it is quite an inspiration to me, and as diverse. (Scattershot?) as my blog is, I hope mine can inspire the peace and wisdom in others that smilecalm does in me 🙂

  3. Your blog is inspiring. I love that “heaven” or the “Pure Land,” or whatever one’s concept of the divine destination, exists right here, right now. Finding Buddhism has brought me peace of mind after a lifetime of searching. At last! Thank you for stopping by my blog to like my post, “A Vegan’s Guilty Pleasures.”

      1. Will check that one.
        Until society stops stuffing children for 12+ years in windowless boxes and isolating them from the natural world, violent rages and explosive angry behavior will continue if not increase.
        Pictures of leaves aren’t the same as feeling the leaf, smelling the earth, and feeling the sun. (One reason I write about architects who understand how environment impacts lives and mental states.)

    1. loss of personal freedoms and privacy
      have sadly affected our relationships
      and ability to trust!
      may our yoga and meditation
      help us reach higher ground 🙂

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