Posted inDogen, Henry's Messages

Message from Henry: The Executioner

May 3, 2016

… you’re lucky enough to have a teacher or guide, a kind of executioner, who can kindly fan the flames for you..


The self-declared “awakened masters” without masters of their own, but with TV channels, mega retreats, massive media armies behind them – the loneliness they speak from, trapped in their own little boxes of self-ascribed “enlightenment,” kind of making it up as they go along: it’s so sad. No wonder some of them end up killing themselves.

What richness and support they are missing. The wealth of accumulated wisdom and guidance. The return from a long distraction to intrinsic intimacy, to something more like real life, in the tenderness and vividness of this very world, found through meeting, through “face-to-face transmission,” as Dogen called it.

It gives me the shivers – the very thought of such aloof loneliness.

* * *

There’s a special place between earth and sky, reserved for the earth-based spirituality of today. It’s both earth and sky. It’s neither earth nor sky. To get to it you have to pass through a ring of fire. Not just pass through. You have to burn up until nothing is left but a wisp of smoke, then that too disappears. Perhaps…

you’re lucky enough to have a teacher or guide, a kind of executioner, who can kindly fan the flames for you,

…and give a little puff to blow away the last of the smoke.

You have to die.

Then you can fall in love.

With life.

Not life with a capital L, but life as in: the sound of the patient clock, the gleam of light in a friend’s eye, the beauty of what she is trying to say to you, and of the fact that she is trying to say it at all; the rag of cloud over a mountain, faintly luminous before dawn.

It’s the way we get to the heart of our life, the one place where we have a chance of being in any real way useful.


Message from Henry taken from our May 2, 2016 Newsletter.

Image:  Free Stock Photo, CC0 Public Domain, from


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