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Forest Garden

March 23 2014 sunset 007

Darkness came first: The Void.
All the old stories tell us this.
The blackness of space, of ocean depths,
Of the inside of Earth and stone.

The Beginning

The compressed creative energy of the entire cosmos,
Not yet aware of itself;
Not yet expressed in expansion,
Differentiation, diffusion, dissolution….

March 23 2014 sunset 012

It all came from darkness.
Without darkness, how does one see the light?

March 11, 2014 garden 035

We all began in darkness,
Deep within the maternal depths of our mothers.

Darkness nurtures and protects.
Darkness envelopes and comforts,
It soothes us to rest;

March 23, 2014 parkway and flowers 008

Cloaks us,
When we wish to disappear in the crowd.

Ebony, obsidian, schorl, onyx:
Black crystalline beauty.

From coal comes diamond,
Like tiny quartz crystals growing
In the darkness of a geode.

March 12, 2014 CW 145

Like suns and worlds growing and spinning
In the darkness of space.

Like pinpricks of light
Dancing behind closed eyelids.

october sunset CP 001
As light radiates, so black absorbs.
The conversation of energy

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Only the perfect man

can transcend the limits of the human

and yet not withdraw from the world,

live in accord with mankind

and yet suffer no injury himself.


Of the world’s teaching

he learns nothing.

He has that within

which makes him independent of others.


If the eye is unobstructed,

the result is sight.

If the ear is unobstructed,

the result is hearing.

If the nose is unobstructed,

the result is smell.

If the mouth is unobstructed,

the result is taste.

If the mind is unobstructed,

the result is wisdom.

Chuang Tzu


Photo by Woodland Gnome 2014

January 26 2014 ice 099


I have no right to call myself one who knows.

I was one who seeks, and I still am,

but I no longer seek in the stars or in books;

I’m beginning to hear the teachings

of my blood pulsing within me.

My story isn’t pleasant,

it’s not sweet and harmonious

like the invented stories;

it tastes of folly and bewilderment,

of madness and dream,

like the life of all people

who no longer want to lie to themselves.


Hermann Hesse, Demian

Photo by Woodland Gnome 2014

Oregon2010 167The attitude of the bodhisattva is not being concerned just for oneself but feeling the same concern for everyone.

The reason a bodhisattva has unbiased love and compassion is that when we identify with a certain group and concentrate on its benefit, there is the danger we might harm others outside the group.

Therefore the Mahayana path cultivates a completely unbiased love and compassion, caring equally for every being, including nonhuman beings such as animals.

This is because we realize that since beginningless time, each and every being has had the same basic wish to find happiness and to be free from suffering.

In that respect, all beings are the same, and therefore we try to help them equally.

Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche

Photo by Woodland Gnome

Oregon2010 002

Lincoln City, OR
(click to enlarge the image)

…For man, time is a destroyer,

but for the Cosmos

it is an ever turning wheel.

These earthly forms

that come and go

are illusions.

How can something be real

which never stays the same?

But these transitory illusory things arise

from the underlying permanent reality.

Birth is not the beginning of life-

only of an individual awareness.

Change into another state is not death-

only the ending of this awareness.

Most people are ignorant of the truth,

and therefore afraid of death,

believing it to be the greatest of all evils.

But death is only the dissolution

of a worn-out body.

Our term of service as guardians of the world

is ended when we are freed

from the bonds of this mortal frame

and restored,

cleansed and purified,

to the primal condition of our higher nature…

Thoth, from, The Hermetica

Translation by Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy

Photo by Woodland Gnome

Oregon Coast, 2010

egret on shoreFor ages you have come and gone
courting this delusion.
For ages you have run from the pain
and forfeited the ecstasy.
So come, return to the root of the root
of your own soul.

Although you appear in earthly form
Your essence is pure Consciousness.
You are the fearless guardian
of Divine Light.
So come, return to the root of the root
of your own soul.

When you lose all sense of self
the bonds of a thousand chains will vanish.
Lose yourself completely,
Return to the root of the root
of your own soul.

You descended from Adam, by the pure Word of God,
but you turned your sight
to the empty show of this world.
Alas, how can you be satisfied with so little?
So come, return to the root of the root
of your own soul.

Why are you so enchanted by this world
when a mine of gold lies within you?
Open your eyes and come —
Return to the root of the root
of your own soul.

You were born from the rays of God’s Majesty
when the stars were in their perfect place.
How long will you suffer from the blows
of a nonexistent hand?
So come, return to the root of the root
of your own soul.

You are a ruby encased in granite.
How long will you decieve Us with this outer show?
O friend, We can see the truth in your eyes!
So come, return to the root of the root
of your own soul.

After one moment with that glorious Friend
you became loving, radiant, and ecstatic.
Your eyes were sweet and full of fire.
Come, return to the root of the root
of your own soul.

Shams-e Tabriz, the King of the Tavern
has handed you an eternal cup,
And God in all His glory is pouring the wine.
So come! Drink!
Return to the root of the root
of your own soul.

Soul of all souls, life of all life – you are That.
Seen and unseen, moving and unmoving – you are That.
The road that leads to the City is endless;
Go without head and feet
and you’ll already be there.
What else could you be? – you are That.”


Photo by Woodland Gnome

College Creek, Williamsburg, 2009


Phenomena are the radiance of the innate absolute;
Mind’s nature is the wisdom of the innate absolute.
The ultimate teacher-phenomena and mind
merged in one taste-
Dwells naturally within myself.
Ah ho! What a joy!

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Photo by Woodland Gnome

The World

Since the world is Atum’s handiwork,
those who maintain and enhance its beauty
are co-operating with the will of Atum
by contributing their bodily strength
in daily care and labour
to make things assume the shape
which his purpose has designed.

From The Hermetica, attributed to Thoth
Translated by Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy

Photo by Woodland Gnome 2013

The Being of Atum

Give me your whole awareness,
and concentrate your thoughts,
for Knowledge of Atum’s Being
requires deep insight,
which comes only as a gift of grace.
It is like a plunging torrent of water
whose swiftness outstrips any man
who strives to follow it,
leaving behind not only the hearer,
but even the teacher himself.

To conceive of Atum is difficult.
To define him is impossible.
The imperfect and impermanent
cannot easily apprehend
the eternally perfected.
Atum is whole and constant.
In himself he is motionless,
yet he is self-moving.
He is immaculate,
incorruptible and ever-lasting.
He is the Supreme Absolute Reality.
He is filled with ideas
which are imperceptible to the senses,
and with all-embracing Knowledge.
Atum is Primal Mind.
He is too great
to be called by the name ‘Atum’.
He is hidden,
yet obvious everywhere.
His Being is known through thought alone,
yet we see his form before our eyes.
He is bodiless,
yet embodied in everything.
There is nothing which he is not.
He has no name,
because all names are his name.
He is the unity in all things,
so we must know him by all names
and call everything ‘Atum’.

from The Hermetica, attributed to Thoth
translated by Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy

photo of College Creek from the Colonial Parkway, Jamestown, VA

May 2011 by Woodland Gnome

Oregon2010 019When the nature of the mind is recognized, that is called nirvana; when it is obscured by delusion, that is called samsara. 

Yet neither samsara nor nirvana has ever parted from the continuum of the absolute.

His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Photo taken in Lincoln City OR by Woodland Gnome